WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — Class has been in session for less than two weeks at MSU and already students are setting records on campus.
“We’ve had a big, big rush. In fact, over the weekend last weekend, we set a record for the most active cases amongst students in the last two years since the COVID pandemic began,” MSU Texas Medical Director Dr. Keith Williamson said.
Wichita County Director of Health Amy Fagan said a contributing factor to the rise in omicron cases on campus is the lack of vaccinated students who are possibly spreading their symptoms to others they interact with on-campus.
“What I expected to see last week is what I had seen at the beginning of school which is you know the five to ten-year-olds, the 11 to 19-year-olds leading the charge in terms of percent of new cases but that was not what happened. It’s the 20-year-olds. It’s the 20 to 29-year-olds who remain at the higher percentage which is what we saw in the beginning of mid of you know COVID,” Fagan said.
Williamson says omicron is the most rapid strain of COVID-19 but the mild symptoms this variant exhibits lead students to believe that it isn’t something as serious as COVID-19.
“We do our best, but there are a substantial number of cases out there that really don’t have much in the way of symptoms and don’t report for medical care so that’s why the omicron has been so infectious and contagious and reached such high numbers,” Williamson said.
Fagan says the busy schedule of students provides more of an opportunity to exposure. Risking the vulnerability of others in the process.
“One of the concerns with that type of living situation for those who reside in particularly dorms or who you know have participation in you know sports and things like that, and those congregate settings we know that disease tends to spread faster. And so, it’s just like any other facility whether it be a long-term care facility or something like that that congregate setting really provides a virus a chance to spread,” Fagan said.
Dr. Williamson says he expects the variant’s on-campus peak will be reached sooner rather than later… Due to the excessive amount of students who have already contracted it. But in the meantime, the university will do its best to support the students who test positive through the duration of the spring semester.