UW announced in an email it is requiring students who continue living in the residence halls to be tested for COVID-19 bi-weekly and advised all who traveled over the break to self-quarantine until they receive two negative tests.
Associate Professor Ajay Sethi, an expert on infectious disease epidemiology, said in an email to The Badger Herald that students should space out their COVID-19 tests.
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“It is recommended to be tested 3 to 5 days after return and then again 10 to 12 days after returning,” Sethi said.
A week before Thanksgiving, the CDC updated its travel guidelines to recommend against traveling for the holiday.
In Madison, air travel saw a significant drop. Channel 3000 reported Wednesday that around 4,000 people flew out of Dane County Regional Airport in the three days before Thanksgiving, down from just under 10,000 in the same period in 2019.
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Though Dane County’s 7-day average for new positive cases is 269, which is below its mid-November peak of nearly 500 cases, the number of patients hospitalized for the virus remains high. In total, 169 patients are currently hospitalized — just 10 individuals less than the maximum.
Sethi said he expects the Thanksgiving holiday to drive cases and hospitalizations upward.
“Generally speaking, the increase in travel across the state and country over the Thanksgiving holiday is expected to lead to an increase in new cases starting this week and an increase in hospitalizations over the next two weeks,” Sethi said.