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UK, Lexington partnership aims to crack down on house off-campus house parties

Posted at 3:40 PM, Oct 01, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-02 23:22:34-04

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — The City of Lexington and the University of Kentucky will kick off a partnership this weekend ahead of UK's first home football game aimed at cracking down on parties that violate social distancing guidelines meant to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

The partnership, involving both police agencies and the Lexington-Fayette County Health Department, was created in response to noise disturbance calls last weekend from dozens of locations where UK students hosted large gatherings.

Beginning Friday, both police departments will jointly patrol off-campus student housing looking for violations. UK police will also be able to intervene when responding to student group gatherings not abiding by COVID-19 health guidelines by enforcing the University’s Student Code of Conduct.

Lexington Mayor Linda Gorton said the partnership is a matter of public safety, and hopes the new collaboration will be effective at mitigating the spread of COVID-19 in Lexington.

"We are working together in a way we’ve never done before," Gorton said. "The university has been a leader among higher education in taking proactive COVID-19 measures for their students, and adding this additional collaboration makes those measures even stronger.”

UK data gathered by its 50-member Health Corps team show that the number of exposures among members outside the university community who live in Fayette County is only 5.5 percent, meaning the vast majority of exposures have remained among UK students or employees.

“Even as our data, through robust contact tracing, clearly show the virus has largely stayed contained to the UK community, it’s critical that we do our part to protect everyone and limit spread," UK President Eli Capilouto said. "This partnership is one more way we are working together in a comprehensive approach to confronting this unprecedented public health crisis.”

UK has conducted and collected more than 32,000 tests for the virus since early August and is continuing with randomized testing among students as well as community testing at two campus sites.

Citizens can report complaints online, by emailing studentconduct@uky.edu or by calling 859-218-SAFE.

It is requested complaints contain as much information as possible regarding the location of the complaint and those involved.

Reports regarding restaurants, bars, and public facilities can be made to the Lexington-Fayette County Health Department COVID-19 hotline, 859-899-2222, during the hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.

If there is perceived criminal activity, citizens should call the Lexington Police Department. Non-emergency concerns should be relayed to 859-258-3600.