Five months later, social distancing still applies Tuesday, Aug 18 2020 

By Grace Welsh–

There’s no debating that the last five months of our lives have been full of uncertainty and confusion. We are living through events that no one alive has experienced before.

With the start of a new school year and students returning to campus, the temptation to socialize in big groups is strong. However, it is imperative that we limit these gatherings for the sake of our community. 

Earlier this month, an off-campus party was linked to 29 cases of COVID-19 in U of L athletes. Officials in the department have suspended workouts for men and women’s soccer, field hockey, and volleyball for the next week. They have also dismissed the three men’s soccer members that were responsible for organizing the party.

In a press release last Tuesday, U of L’s Athletic Director Vince Tyra said he was disappointed by the athletes actions. 

“It is clear that these student-athletes did not meet the code of conduct of the university or their team,” Tyra said. “Ignoring the safety protocols issued by federal, state and local officials, as well as the athletic department, is unacceptable and dangerous. Their history of actions are not in alignment with the values of this university and athletics department.” 

A majority of the 29 cases were asymptomatic, but the virus is not something to be messed with. 

The CDC reports that older individuals and those with weakened immune systems are at a higher risk for long-term respiratory, cardiovascular and kidney damage from the virus. So, while you may be fine if you contract the virus, others may not be. 

“Time and time again, it’s shown that transmission is ongoing before we have a grasp of the numbers,” said Erin Welsh, a candidate in disease ecology and host of This Podcast Will Kill You. “This is due to slow testing, transmission before symptoms, and the high numbers of asymptomatic individuals.” 

Because of the high rate of asymptomatic cases, it is impossible to tell who is infected and who is not without a test. Therefore, it is best to keep the parties to an absolute minimum. Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear highly encourages gatherings of no more than 10 people. 

A party with just one or two infected individuals can be deadly when the newly infected people go out in the community.

We don’t know how long it will take for things to return back to normal. Until then, it’s important that we do our part to exercise necessary health precautions. Wash your hands frequently, wear a mask in public and stay at least six feet apart from others. 

We are all in this together.

Let’s all put in the effort to stay home so we can protect our community and slow the spread. While it is definitely tempting to socialize with everyone you missed over quarantine, that doesn’t mean the virus isn’t still a prevalent part of our lives.

File Graphic // The Louisville Cardinal

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Beshear announces how he’s helping residents affected by COVID-19 Thursday, Apr 2 2020 

By Eli Hughes–

Gov. Andy Beshear announced in his daily press conference April 1 action his office is taking to help the groups most affected by the COVID-19 outbreak.

These announcements included the deployment of the Kentucky National Guard to help distribute food to those in need and expanding the capacity of the unemployment claims call center.

The National Guard will be sent to four food banks in Louisville, Elizabethtown, Lexington and Wilder.

“This support for Kentucky’s food banks will help our community members continue to receive food and pantry items that they desperately need,” said Brig. Gen. Hal Lamberton, Kentucky’s Adjutant General.

National members will help sort, package and deliver food to senior citizens, families and displaced workers who are affected by the outbreak.

Beshear has previously expanded access to unemployment insurance. The surge in unemployment comes after Beshear shut down non-essential businesses in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Beshear said at the press conference they are working on solving the issues caused by an increase in unemployment claims. Because of this increase in unemployment claims, the state’s unemployment call center has increased its capacity.

The center has gone from receiving about 1,500 calls per day to receiving anywhere from 80,000 to 200,000 calls per day, according to Josh Benton, deputy secretary of the Education and Workforce Development Cabinet.

Those who are interested in helping Kentucky residents affected by the outbreak can donate to the Team Kentucky fund that Beshear has established.

File Graphic//The Louisville Cardinal

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U of L campus bookstore closes to the public Monday, Mar 23 2020 

By Eli Hughes–

The University of Louisville bookstore will be closed to the public starting March 24 until further notice in line with Gov. Andy Beshear’s decision to close nonessential retail stores to combat the spread of COVID-19.

Staff will remain in the store to process online orders, but by March 30 only managers will be working in-store.

Andrea Herrera, store manager for the campus bookstore, said that it is unclear when the bookstore will reopen. “It depends on what the governor says,” Herrera said.

Students who need to return their rental textbooks will be able to do so by mail with free shipping. However, students who want to sell their textbooks back to the bookstore will not be able to do so through the mail.

Sarah Harvey, textbook manager, said that textbook buyback will depend on if the bookstore is able to open to the public at the end of the semester.

Harvey also said that the bookstore is doing its best to support the campus community at this time.

“We are here to help students and faculty during this very difficult time,” Harvey said. “We are all in this together.”

More information about ordering textbooks online and returning rental books can be found on the bookstore’s website.

Photo by Joseph Garcia // The Louisville Cardinal

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Gov. Andy Beshear announces actions Kentucky is taking to prevent the spread of COVID-19 Thursday, Mar 19 2020 

By Eli Hughes–

The Office of Gov. Andy Beshear announced in a press release March 16 several steps the state government would be taking to limit the spread of COVID-19.

The steps include postponing the May primary elections and closing restaurants except for carry out, delivery and drive-thru.

The primary elections will now be held June 23. This decision affects the Democratic primary, the Republican primary, local elections and special elections. Beshear made the executive order to postpone elections on recommendation from Secretary of State Michael Adams.

“Postponing the primary was not an easy decision,” said Adams. “But the Republican secretary of state and the Democratic governor agree, and so do county clerks of both parties. And they are our front line election administrators.”

Beshear also released the steps bars and restaurants would be expected to take to minimize person-to-person interaction. According to Beshear’s executive order, restaurants are only permitted to make sales through carry-out, delivery and drive-thru.

Within these guidelines, restaurants are also supposed to ensure that patrons and employees maintain a 6-feet social distance. Bars are also closed and alcohol sales are restricted to carry-out, delivery and drive-thru.

In the press release, Beshear also announced that childcare facilities will be expected to close by March 20. The only exceptions will be for health-care providers and certain employers who offer on-site services.

Government offices are also closed to in-person services, and driver licenses that are close to expiring will be extended another three months to accommodate this.

Beshear has also issued an executive order that will waive the seven day wait period for unemployment and ensure that Kentucky residents who have temporarily lost their jobs due to COVID-19 will be eligible for unemployment insurance benefits.

Beshear also announced that his administration has applied for a Small Business Administration Economic Injury Disaster Loan Declaration. This will help businesses struggling economically because of COVID-19.

“I realize many of the steps I am taking to protect Kentuckians during this COVID-19 emergency are affecting employers and workers financially. Temporarily waiving some of the UI benefit rules during this time is one step I can do to help protect Kentuckians financially,” Beshear said. “I know this is a difficult time but we are going to get through this by working together to help each other.”

More information about COVID-19 can be found on the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s website and Kentucky’s COVID-19 website. Kentucky residents who need advice regarding COVID-19 can call the state’s hotline at 1.800.722.5725.

File Graphic // The Louisville Cardinal

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Gov. Andy Beshear confirms Louisville’s first case of coronavirus Tuesday, Mar 10 2020 

This story will be updated as more information is released. 

By Eli Hughes —

Governor Andy Beshear confirmed Louisville’s first coronavirus case in a live-streamed press conference March 8.

There are now eight confirmed cases as of March 10 according to WLKY. 

There is one paitent is in Jefferson County, five in Harrison County and two in Fayette County. 

Beshear started this announcement by reassuring Kentucky residents. “We will get through this,” Beshear said. 

“We’ll do it together. We’ll do it by caring about each other, by practicing good hygiene. Folks, we are going to make it through this.”

There is not much information currently available about Louisville’s case of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. The patient is said to be in isolation, and those who could have possibly come into contact with them would be alerted. 

Mayor Greg Fischer also spoke at a press conference March 8 to address concerns about Louisville’s first case. 

“Unfortunately, we knew it was just a matter of time before the virus came to our city, as it has to many cities around America,” Fischer said. “And what is most important is for our city and our residents to take appropriate steps to keep all of us safe.” 

University of Louisville President Neeli Bendapudi sent an email March 10 that said senior leadership is meeting to monitor the situation and develop plans to keep the campus community safe.

“We have been reviewing operational needs that may arise in the case that we need to cancel classes, move classes online, or otherwise limit access to campus,” Bendapudi said.

Bendapudi said the step isn’t necessary at the moment, but is confident the step is possible.

U of L announced in an earlier email March 5 that two members of the university community are self-isolating and monitoring for the virus. 

 Dr. Phillip Bressoud, the Executive Director of Campus Health Services, informed the campus community of the situation in an email March 5. He assured students, faculty and staff that the individuals are not currently showing symptoms associated with the virus.

He also addressed concerns about the individuals being on campus before self-isolating.

 “These individuals were on campus prior to the CDC recommendation that they self-isolate but now are self-isolating for 14 days, as recommended by the CDC,” he said. “The university has notified individuals who are known to have been in close contact with them.”

 The two individuals in question returned from Italy before the Center for Disease Control and Prevention updated the country to a level 3 travel advisory. Countries with a level 3 advisory are classified by the CDC as countries that have widespread, sustained transmission.

Bressoud also reminded the U of L community that more information about COVID-19 can be found on U of L’s website at http://louisville.edu/campushealth/information/coronavirus-ncov2019-information.   

The state has also set up a hotline for those who have questions about the virus. That hotline is 1-800-722-5725. 

File Photo// The Louisville Cardinal

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