By Dylan Adams
KU announced during their daily COVID-19 update on Sept. 8 that the number of positive tested cases since 4 p.m. on Sept. 4 has increased by 65 cases.
Students are also reporting that they are being turned away from the Health and Wellness Center when requesting testing.
The total number of combined positive cases stands at 144 as of Sept. 9 since the first positive case on Aug. 27.
President Hawkinson released a message the Friday before the Labor Day holiday break strongly encouraging students to participate in healthy behaviors over the holiday weekend. The message also encouraged students to seek medical help and not return to campus if exhibiting any COVID-19 symptoms.
KU has faced scrutiny for their reopening plan for the Fall 2020 semester from parents, students and alumni. These groups’ concerns have consisted of not requiring mandatory testing before returning to campus, lack of temperature checking for on-campus interaction, the university’s loose self-reporting system and the large gatherings within Kutztown borough.
Furthermore, there have been allegations that the Health and Wellness Center does not appear to have enough tests proportionally for the number of individuals showing COVID-19 symptoms.
Taiya Miller, a junior attending KU, provided a statement after initially being turned away from the Health and Wellness Center after requesting a COVID-19 test because of exhibiting symptoms.
She said that she eventually was tested but was placed in isolation as a “person under investigation” before her results returned.
Miller stated that she was placed into isolation with two other individuals, one of which had already tested positive with COVID-19. This meant having to share a restroom and close proximity with someone who had tested positive, increasing the risk of exposure exponentially if she was not previously infected.
Miller also stated that Health and Wellness did not want to test her third roommate, even though she had been exposed to someone who had tested positive with COVID-19.
Some students have spoken about being turned away from the Health and Wellness Center despite exhibiting symptoms or becoming aware of unbeknownst run-ins with someone who had later been confirmed positive. This has led many to seek third-party COVID-19 tests from places within Kutztown such as CVS Pharmacy to determine if they are positive or negative.
KU has attributed the rapidly increasing number of positive cases as a result of “social gatherings.” Students can still be seen walking the Kutztown streets late at night in groups, some wearing masks while others are not.
Accounts of students actively partying with or in the proximity of those who have tested positive for COVID-19 are prevalent.
Those who do not self-report their symptoms, ignore the warning signs of infection and continue to attend large social gatherings pose a high chance of passing on the disease to others, including those who may be vulnerable and at-risk.
To combat the rising number of positive cases, Kutztown Borough has proposed temporarily increasing the ordinance on social events larger than ten people, increasing fines by hundreds of dollars.
The meeting to finalize this enactment will be done virtually through Zoom at 5 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 11.
The Zoom link can be found through the Borough of Kutztown’s website at Kutztownboro.org.