By Megan Lockhart | Reporter
Following the recent outbreaks of COVID-19 cases last week in the Collins and Martin residence halls, daily testing in the two buildings has continued throughout this week as positive case numbers are counted.
Dr. Jim Marsh, the dean for student health and wellness and executive director for Counseling Services at Baylor University confirmed that further testing data taken from both Martin and Collins was submitted as clinical this week.
“Because of the residence hall and the congregate living in close corners, if someone is positive we don’t want them to wait two days to find out results, we want to go ahead and move them to isolation housing to minimize exposure to anyone else,” Marsh said.
In total, there are 170 people involved in contact tracing. Currently there is 1 positive case to every 400 person ratio on campus.
“There is so much conglomerate housing, with students living together off and on campus, we want to identify close contacts as soon as possible,” Marsh said. “Our contact tracers work all day into the evening, so we are calling people seven days a week morning and night. In doing that, we can quickly identify people who are close contacts, and by giving them that chance to quarantine, it minimizes the spread of the virus,” Marsh said regarding this statistic.
However, positive case numbers for the campus include both on and off-campus housing.
“Most of our positive tests have been students who are [living] off-campus, with only a few positive cases in Collins. When we identify a residence hall that we want to test, our Health Center is the one that does that testing. They have the antigen tests that we get results back from in 15 to 30 minutes,” Marsh said.
Despite the circumstances, most residents of Collins Hall have reportedly not experienced much change to their housing lives.
“I was not picked to get randomly tested, but a few of the girls on my hall and some of my friends were. I think for me personally it really just affects how cautious I am. I’m more aware of both the water, how close I am to people when I where my mask, and how often I wash my hands,” Dallas freshman Ellie Cline, resident of Collins Hall, said.
The wastewater testing in Collins has caused some students to take their own precautions by halting the use of their tap water.
“I really don’t know what any of the results of the tests were last week but I’m being cautious with the tap water. I’m using it to wash my hands, but I’m definitely not drinking it,” Cline said.