As COVID-19 cases increase, college students prepare to return home

Posted at 5:33 PM, Nov 17, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-17 20:40:58-05

CINCINNATI — In one week, college and university students will head home for Thanksgiving break and remain in online classes until the end of the fall semester. As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, many students opt for testing before they travel home to their families.

The University of Cincinnati launched an initiative, "Know Before You Go," urging students to be tested for the virus before they travel back home for the holiday season.

"Know Before You Go is UC's testing strategy to allow students to know if they are positive or negative for coronavirus before they go home for the holidays," said Dr. Chris Lewis, vice provost for academic programs and a family physician for UC Health.

At UC, more than 3,000 students are participating in the three-day testing event that started Monday.

"I just definitely wanted to be precautious and take all the extra steps so that way I can be at home with my family feeling comfortable and safe with the COVID situation," said Logan Lindsay, UC undergraduate student body president.

The Hamilton County Public Health COVID-19 dashboard shows those in the county aged 20-29 represent the highest number of positive cases in the county since the start of the pandemic.

Lewis said he suggests quarantining before students see their family, and getting a test done early enough to receive results before visiting them. He also cautioned students and anyone else planning to visit families to be careful, even after a negative test.

"A negative test doesn't necessarily mean that you're not infected," he said. "There are certainly false negatives and false positives."

This is why doubling up on protective efforts like masks and social distancing is still important.