How will COVID numbers be impacted as Texas A&M University classes start?
The Brazos County Health District says a spike in cases is very possible now that Aggies are back on campus for the spring semester.
BRYAN, Texas (KBTX) - Amid the current Omicron surge in Brazos County, Texas A&M University started its spring semester Tuesday, January 18. Currently, A&M has a positivity rate of 23.4%, but the assumption is that may go up.
Mary Parrish from the Brazos County Health District joined First News at Four to explain how the students’ return to campus could affect the community. Parrish explained that every time students come back there are huge spikes in COVID cases. On top of that, Omicron is a variant that spreads much more easily, so “we are really setting ourselves up to see another huge spike over these next few weeks.”
Parrish emphasized that getting vaccinated and boosted is the best protection for students and staff members. She also advised wearing a mask or a respirator. Her message for those going to in-person classes was “we know that masks are effective, but respirators take it up to that next level, especially if you are going to be around people who are not masking.” Social distancing and good hand hygiene also remain important.
On the reports that Omicron’s peak is in sight, Parrish said that is the hope, but warned that “students are always a wild card when it comes to COVID predictions.” She clarified that if students “are responsible, they [mask] up, [and] they avoid large parties and other gatherings then this could hopefully get us to the peak” On the other hand, if those precautions are not taken, then it will prolong the peak.
There’s a new federal program that launched a day early, that allows anyone to go online and order free COVID tests that the post office will deliver right to their home. There are four tests allowed per home at this time. Parrish believes these tests are going to be very helpful in slowing the spread of COVID if used correctly. By this, she means people should take advantage of these tests if they are going to a big event like a wedding or a formal where lots of people are going to be gathered indoors. It is important to test before events like these to make sure others do not get infected. People should also test after the event to make sure they did not pick anything up there.
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