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Texas A&M’s COVID numbers continue to rise as new Aggies begin moving in over the weekend

Mandatory testing for all students and staff, regardless of their vaccination status, begins Monday
As the newest Aggies begin to moving in to the residence halls ahead of the new school year,...
As the newest Aggies begin to moving in to the residence halls ahead of the new school year, the COVID-19 positivity rate on Texas A&M's campus increased for the 6th time over the past seven weeks.(KBTX)
Published: Aug. 22, 2021 at 10:53 PM CDT
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COLLEGE STATION, Texas (KBTX) - As the newest Aggies got moved-in over the weekend, COVID-19 cases on Texas A&M’s campus continued their steady rise which began around the 4th of July.

According to the university’s most recent COVID-19 reporting data, the positivity rate jumped over 10% for the first time this summer last week. It also increased for the 6th time over the past 7 weeks, and the lone time it didn’t, it only dropped by one-tenth of a percent. Daily active COVID cases on campus have dipped only twice over the past two weeks.

Deanna Venkatesan is an incoming freshman from Sugar Land, Texas who was moving into her residence hall with the help of her family on Sunday.

“Considering that this variant spreading really rapidly, I would say that maybe I am a little scared, knowing like if I go visit my grandparents back home or something,” Venkatesan said. “Thankfully, I’m vaccinated. I hope everyone else around me is vaccinated too.”

“That is concerning,” Deanna’s father Jey said. “I’m not sure what the administration here is going to do regarding that, but if anybody is symptomatic, check them and isolate them and quarantine them. That’s what they can do, but the students do need to be on campus. I think that’s needed.”

Texas A&M’s latest COVID numbers came from the week ending August 14. The positivity rate of 10.1% is almost 4% higher than it was the very same week in 2020, roughly four months before the COVID-19 vaccines were authorized for emergency use.

Despite these trends, new students are excited to begin their college experience.

“I’m very excited. College starts next week. I’m still preparing for classes, but I’m very excited to be here. I have a lot of friends who are coming. I’m excited to see them and meet new people,” 18-year-old freshman Ian Anthony said. “I think if everybody just gets vaccinated and wears masks when they need to, I think we’ll be able to overcome this.”

Parents KBTX spoke to said they aren’t overly concerned about safety because they have faith in their kids and university administration to take the necessary precautions.

Mandatory testing for students and staff, regardless of vaccination status, begins Monday and will continue through September 10.

“I think that will help toward putting down the numbers and keeping people safe because the people who are infectious and actually have COVID, they’ll make sure that they’re quarantined and not spreading the virus,” Juanita Bhatnagar, whose son will begin classes at A&M as a freshman next week, said. “A lot of these students are asymptomatic, so they might not even know that they have COVID, and they could be passing it on to their fellow students.”

“That gave me a little more peace of mind knowing this campus is taking precautions to make sure every Aggies is safe,” Deanna Venkatesan said.

“I like how they’re taking care of it,” Citlali Aldama, an incoming freshman from Austin, said. “They’re always sending out emails, and they’re making us take tests to keep up with the counts and make everyone safe. I got the vaccine and I carry my mask and hand sanitizer with me.”

Aldama was also receiving the help of her family to move-in over the weekend.

“I don’t know if face masks are going to be mandatory, but I would be fine if they required that. That’s more safety, and we don’t know who has been vaccinated or not, so the more extra steps we take, the safer we’ll be,” Citlali’s father Gustavo said. “I’m concerned, but at the same time, I feel like she’s going to be fine. She’s been vaccinated.”

For more information on where and when you can get tested through September 10, click here.

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