Local experts concerned as colleges report more COVID-19 cases, UT reported hundreds in October

Posted at 6:09 AM, Oct 30, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-30 08:54:36-04

TAMPA, Fla. — Local doctors are concerned as they see colleges and universities report more COVID-19 cases every week.

“It’s happening. We’re seeing the increase in rates as has been expected,” said Dr. Jay Wolfson, USF Health Professor of Public Health, Medicine, and Pharmacy.

At the University of Tampa, the university reported 337 students tested positive for COVID-19 in the past three weeks alone.

That makes a total of 645 students since the semester started.

“The University of Tampa and University of South Florida did a good job early on at preparing for this but they cannot control what happens outside in the community,” said Wolfson.

UT tells ABC Action News, the recent spike is due to student complacency for their health because bars and restaurants have reopened.

“I don’t think we’re having as much spread on campus as much as brought into campus from our students enjoying the community, enjoying the beaches, having a good time with each other and them coming back and testing positive,” said Wolfson.

UT officials say they’ve increased their messaging and campaigns about continuing to be vigilant and complying with the university’s safety plan.

As we head into November, experts are concerned students will take positive cases to other states when they go home for Thanksgiving, which is how the virus can spread so rapidly.

“The trick is to kind of keep it contained for now and see if we can get that 5% rate back down to 4, 3, and 2 before Thanksgiving. That’ll require a lot of personal discipline,” said Wolfson.