AUSTIN, Texas — COVID-19 cases are starting to rise at the University of Texas.
On Wednesday, the university reported 42 new positive cases among students. By Thursday, UT reported another 34 cases, making a total of more than 100 cases in the past three days.
Toward the end of August, researchers at UT estimated between 82 to 183 students could come to campus COVID-19-positive during the first week of classes.
UT said a majority of students are taking all online classes; however, some are still have in-person courses.
"It was a ghost town when I walked to class the other day," said sophomore Taylor Larned, who has one in-person class this semester. "I saw maybe two people on speedway and one person in the building. And then my class is only like 11 people, so it was very empty."
Larned said she's the only one of her friends who has an in-person class this semester.
"They're trying their best. We wear masks, we stay 6 feet apart. But I feel like it's not the best we could do because some people get within 6 feet, and it's not really comfortable," said Larned. "I would rather probably just move to all online."
After a recent spike in cases, Terrance Hines, M.D., chief medical officer for University Health Services, issued a statement:
Some of these numbers reflect case increases the university anticipated as students arrived in Austin. The numbers also appear to reflect increased local transmission since the start of classes. This underscores how vital it is for all members of our community to comply with health protocols and with local and state orders on gatherings and social distancing. This is especially critical at this early stage in the semester and heading into the Labor Day weekend, as people make important health decisions about gathering with friends and family. Anyone who has had difficulty being consistent with safe social distancing, masking or other preventive measures should be especially cautious about visiting loved ones or other people vulnerable to the disease over the holiday.
We continue to urge students to take part in testing, contact tracing and quarantining or isolating to help us slow the spread of the virus. Testing on campus is offered at no cost to students, and it is one of the best ways they can help each other and our community. Any one of us can get and spread the virus, and every one of us can help fight it. We are safer when we work together as a community.
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