On Oct. 11, Winona State University’s active positive COVID-19 cases increased by 30 cases, breaking its month-long downward trend.
Not only have positive COVID case numbers increased, but students’ quarantining and isolation rates have also risen since then.
The cumulative positive cases over the semester so far has gone up to 449 since Oct. 11.
Connie Kamara, the director of health & wellness services, says that there is no direct correlation as to why the cases have gone up, but that people need to be more mindful when it comes to how long COVID will be in their lives.
“One of the things that we’re talking about at the meeting I just came out of was, you know, this is really a marathon. It’s not a sprint. And we’re going to have to just keep strong and keep doing these measures for a while here,” Kamara said. “I mean, things will get better, but it’s going to take a while, and we have to be strong if we can. Winter is going to be a little tougher, we just have to be prepared and we have to get a little tougher.”
Most students living on campus at Winona State are in single rooms because of COVID and are also taking mostly online classes.
Aiming for constant awareness of COVID guidelines is key to staying on campus, Kamara said.
“If you don’t want to quarantine, you have to always be able to say, ‘I was never within six feet [of another person].’ That’s going to be your safest way to stay on campus,” Kamara said. “We have to constantly remind ourselves. I remind myself every minute, I think, ‘I’ve got to step back.’ And within six feet, you can do that while you’re on campus.”
With the winter season rapidly approaching, many students, staff and faculty predict they will feel even more isolated with COVID restrictions.
Not being able to go outdoors comfortably may be a harsh reality to some. Kamara suggests that there might be another side to this, showing people how to find new hobbies.
“We may have to reconsider some new hobbies. We may have to consider what else can we come up with outside so we can enjoy the winter outside as well,” Kamara said. “We’re going to have to reinvent ourselves. We’ve got a beautiful area here to do that, we just have to dress warm.”
Kamara also said that getting your flu shot this season in particular is very important.
“One of the big things right now [is] that we’re really pushing for everyone to get their flu shot,” Kamara said. “So,hopefully we’ll have more people get their flu shot, more people can take care of themselves, really get their sleep, really eat well. Those things that really boost your immune system.”
Since the latest update from the university on Oct. 23, positive COVID cases on campus have gone down 48.