SAN JUAN, Wash. - Washington state health officials on Tuesday sounded the alarm with an ominous message of the COVID fall surge, and are asking people to limit social interactions and to help flatten the curve of the coronavirus.
Health experts are also concerned about cases going up even more after the Thanksgiving break.
They are now strongly encouraging a two-week quarantine prior to Thanksgiving especially if you are spending it with people outside your immediate household.
The message needs to be heard by everyone they say including college students coming home.
“I’ve been getting tested regularly since I’ve been on campus,” UW student Mary Zisette said.
Zisette said she plans to get tested a couple of more times this week ahead of going home.
“I have a sister who just had a baby and she needs to feel comfortable for me to come home,” UW student Zisette said.
“Just to make sure I don’t have COVID and give it to my parents,” UW student Alyssa Lecca said.
UW is holding the majority of classes remotely but some students have chosen to come back to live on campus for various reasons.
It’s the same thing at Washington State University. Most are taking remote classes but many chose to come back to live in Pullman because they could not get out of off-campus leases.
“We have access to testing at Pullman right now,” WSU student Farrin Johnson said.
Johnson said she knows many who have had COVID already.
She recently got a negative test before leaving WSU for the San Juan Islands where she is isolating right now.
“My parents really wanted me to do and what they felt comfortable with you know to have Thanksgiving with our grandparents,” Johnson said.
Johnson is urging all college students who are going home to get tested and also isolate for two weeks before the holidays since the test is not 100% accurate.
“It’s really important that you are waiting for those two weeks,” Johnson said.
Q13 News first spoke with the WSU student in early September when the university made national headlines for having the highest number of cases per capita in the country at that time.
But Pullman’s Police Chief Gary Jenkins says his department is continuing to bust off-campus parties.
Many of the parties have 50 or more people, with one recently, crammed with more than a hundred people. The parties are not just apart of the Greek community.
“It’s a very confusing time for every single person going through the pandemic people are trying to find ways to cope,” Johnson said.
Johnson who holds a leadership role for WSU’s Greek community says cases linked to the Greek community has gone down since September.
She is encouraging all students to be honest about their interactions and protect their loved ones this Thanksgiving.
“Think about how you would feel if you ended up getting them sick,” Johnson said.
Western Washington University in Bellingham is also encouraging students to get tested before they head home. They say once students leave for Thanksgiving they will not be back until January. At that time, they will require all on-campus students to get a mandatory COVID test. WWU says their aggressive testing is one of the reasons why the cases on their campus have been relatively low compared to other places.