One week after Halloween, COVID-19 cases are soaring at Texas A&M

Two new clusters of COVID-19 cases were confirmed Monday on campus.
Published: Nov. 9, 2020 at 3:22 PM CST|Updated: Nov. 9, 2020 at 8:56 PM CST
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COLLEGE STATION, Texas (KBTX) - COVID-19 data being reported from the Texas A&M University campus shows an alarming spike of positive cases that are impacting the band, football team, and first responders on campus.

Two new clusters of the virus were confirmed on Monday at the Artillery Band Dorm 12 and the Special Events division of Texas A&M’s Emergency Medical Services. This all comes on the same day Texas A&M football announced it was pausing practice due to positive cases on the team.

A&M Defensive Back Demani Richardson did not make the trip to Columbia, South Carolina, due to a positive COVID-19 test, and upon return from the game there have been two more positive cases show up on the team, one player and one staff member.

The positivity rate on campus doubled in the week following Halloween, according to data on the school’s COVID-19 dashboard.

Dr. Garry Gore, Director of Emergency Services for Texas A&M University Student Health Services, says that this increase was something that they expected to see as students continue to gather. He adds that they are also seeing more students with higher fevers and more severe symptoms.

“We typically surveillance a couple of weeks after a holiday or football game, and we see little bumps and spikes and those are typical and those are just to be expected, so you don’t get excited about it,” said Dr. Gore. “But we have noticed I really dramatic increase this past week we tripled our numbers on campus.”

The week ending on Halloween, the positivity rate was 4.8%. The next week, ending on Nov. 7, the rate was 8.1%. Self-reporting active cases have soared in the month of November.

On Nov. 1, there were 138 active cases on campus. That number was 231 last Friday, the last time the graph was updated.

Daily new cases have also skyrocketed his month. On Sunday, Nov. 1, only five new student cases were self-reported. Six days later, 70 new cases were self-reported by students.

Dr. Gore adds that the only way for the numbers to decrease before Winter Break is by taking the situation seriously.

“Clearly, the spike you’re seeing now is because people have either been tired of testing and tired of hearing about Covid and they just now I want to do something normal again, or they are just blatantly ignoring the warnings,” said Dr. Gore.

A big reminder, according to university health officials is to make sure to not get tested too early, as it can come off as a false negative.

“If you think you might have COVID-19, testing within the first three days is not recommended,” said Dr. Gore. “We have some of these cases where we are seeing group spread here because students tested very early, the first or second and third day of the illness, they got a negative result they said ‘OK I’m free and clear’ and then they turned out to have a false negative and they were spreading it without knowing it.”

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