Campus News

'Behind the Blue Special Edition': UK CCO Jay Blanton Discusses UK’s Efforts to Combat COVID-19

LEXINGTON, Ky. (March 31, 2020) — The 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is a new illness that was first identified in Wuhan, China, in December 2019, with patients reporting cases of fever and acute respiratory illness. Since that time, other countries, including the U.S., have seen cases of the illness.

As a diverse and globally engaged research institution with a world-class academic medical center, the University of Kentucky has been closely monitoring developments related to the COVID-19 outbreak and their potential impacts on the university community. The health and safety of our faculty, staff and students is our highest priority.

On the academic side, UK is one of many universities to move its classes online using channels such as Zoom — a video conferencing platform — as part of an effort to reduce the number of people on campus. It’s all part of a plan to use "social distancing" to minimize exposure to the virus throughout the community, in order to reduce the caseload hospitals may face at any one time. This helps alleviate an overload in the need for beds, personal protective gear, ventilators and other medical equipment and resources.

On this week’s edition of the “Behind the Blue” podcast, Kody Kiser and Carl Nathe, of UK Public Relations and Strategic Communications, talk with UK Chief Communications Officer Jay Blanton about the work being undertaken across campus, UK HealthCare and across the Commonwealth to adapt to these challenging conditions, work to save lives, and continue to be Kentucky’s indispensable institution.

"Behind the Blue" is available on iTunes, Google Play, Stitcher and Spotify. Become a subscriber to receive new episodes of “Behind the Blue” each week. UK’s latest medical breakthroughs, research, artists and writers will be featured, along with the most important news impacting the university.

For questions or comments about this or any other episode of "Behind the Blue," email or tweet your question with #BehindTheBlue.

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The University of Kentucky is increasingly the first choice for students, faculty and staff to pursue their passions and their professional goals. In the last two years, Forbes has named UK among the best employers for diversity, and INSIGHT into Diversity recognized us as a Diversity Champion four years running. UK is ranked among the top 30 campuses in the nation for LGBTQ* inclusion and safety. UK has been judged a “Great College to Work for" three years in a row, and UK is among only 22 universities in the country on Forbes' list of "America's Best Employers."  We are ranked among the top 10 percent of public institutions for research expenditures — a tangible symbol of our breadth and depth as a university focused on discovery that changes lives and communities. And our patients know and appreciate the fact that UK HealthCare has been named the state’s top hospital for five straight years. Accolades and honors are great. But they are more important for what they represent: the idea that creating a community of belonging and commitment to excellence is how we honor our mission to be not simply the University of Kentucky, but the University for Kentucky.