By now, we all know of the COVID-19 situation and how serious it is. The United States alone has had over 10 million cases and almost 250,000 deaths. Because of this, and how easy it is for the virus to be transmitted. According to the CDC, the things that need to be cleaned often include tables, door handles, light switches, keyboards, countertops, phones, toilets, faucets and sinks, ATM machines, and touch screen computers. These are often touched by many different people and require the most attention.
As of Thursday, at 2 p.m., the University of North Dakota currently has 176 active positive coronavirus cases among students, faculty, and staff. 138 of those positive cases are students, and we must once again stress the importance of the guidelines the CDC and the University have put into place, especially over the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays, which are right around the corner. The University is suggesting that students stay put for Thanksgiving break and avoid travel, but if students decide to travel, they have some things students should consider.
The first recommendation is staying home for two weeks before you leave and getting tested 3-4 days before you plan to leave. This will make sure you don’t get exposed in that two-week window and if you do, you will know before you leave so you can make the proper adjustments. There are suggestions in place if students do decide to travel as well. The University is recommending not allowing anyone with COVID-19 symptoms or exposure to attend the gathering under any circumstance, wearing masks when not eating or drinking, adjusting furniture so it is easy to sit six feet apart, keeping the gathering small, writing down the guests’ names to keep track if there is an exposure, encouraging high-risk individuals not to attend gatherings, and getting tested as soon as possible after returning to the university. Testing and following the guidelines are the best ways we can prevent the spread of coronavirus and protect those in the community who are most vulnerable and continue to have in-person classes and events wherever possible. It is up to the students to make sure we stay in school and hopefully prevent an outbreak after returning from break. Experts warn that the winter could bring another wave, as cases continue to rise as the weather gets colder. One model from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation suggests we could see 400,000 deaths by February 1, 2021.
Right now, the state of North Dakota has over 10,000 positive cases. Our county of Grand Forks is in the top five, with over 1,000 active cases as of Thursday, November 9 at 5 p.m. Other counties in the top five that should be avoided in travel are Burleigh, Cass, and Ward, all of which have over 1,400 active cases each. If students are traveling to these areas during Thanksgiving or Christmas break, they should be extremely careful not to bring back more cases and spread the virus.
Kaitlyn Willett is a Dakota Student News Writer. She can be reached at [email protected]