COLLEGE PARK, Md. (7News) — The University of Maryland is closely monitoring an uptick in COVID-19 cases but this is something they say they expected after the Thanksgiving break.
The increase is being attributed to travel to different locations during the holiday, as well as more indoor gatherings with family and friends.
The university is now making a few protocol adjustments including strongly advocating the use of KN95 masks, even doing a mass distribution on campus.
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An email went out this week reminding students and staff to stay home and get tested if feeling sick. School officials are also discouraging any international travel over the next few weeks and pushing hard for all to get booster shots.
Pathologist, Dr. James Versalovic is not surprised young adults are getting infected at a frequent rate.
“The reality is that we still have many unvaccinated adults. We are above 60% across the country but it depends on the age group. Younger adults it’s even less in terms of vaccination. Percentage of young adults vaccinated certainly lags behind older adults vaccinated," said Versalovic.
COVID-19 vaccines and wearing a mask indoors are already two requirements at the University of Maryland.
As students enter the final stretch of the semester, school officials are currently monitoring studies on the new omicron variant. Now the University Health Center has also informed staff this week that administrative leave is now available for employees to get COVID-19 vaccines, additional doses and boosters as well as the seasonal flu vaccine.
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Julie Swann, department head of Industrial and Systems Engineering at North Carolina State University says now is the time to be vigilant.
“Omicron may or may not be the worst one, we don’t know yet, we are looking at new data every day. If this one is not the worst one it’s possible that the next one could be. And I say that not to be fatalistic but really to say we need to manage our expectations. Do the things that are really important in life, find ways to see your family and friends but just settle in and realize this will take a while for things to get back to normal”, said Swann.