The Mesquite Online News - Texas A&M University-San Antonio

University sees spike in COVID-19 cases

University sees spike in COVID-19 cases - The Mesquite Online News - Texas A&M University-San Antonio

Health and Safety Assistants check in students at a wellness checkpoint in front of the auditorium at Texas A&M University-San Antonio on Aug. 20, 2020. Photo By: Maegan Mendoza

Texas A&M University-San Antonio has reported a spike in new COVID-19 cases – 18 students and 3 employees – in a two-week period.

The university reports the number of cases every Wednesday through its Community. Safety. TOGETHER. website. Until recently, the COVID-19 cases have increased by no more than four student cases per week with an occasional employee case.

By Oct. 28, the number of weekly COVID-19 cases at A&M-San Antonio almost tripled. The new cases reported from Oct. 18 – 24 were from three employees and 10 students. On Nov. 4, the university reported eight new student cases and zero employee cases; these cases are from Oct. 25 – 31, according to the campus website.

The initial spike in cases called for in-person campus events to be postponed or canceled. One of the rescheduled events included A&M-San Antonio men’s club basketball tryouts on Oct. 28, head coach Jeffrey Missouri said in an email to The Mesquite on Oct. 28.

“Too many positive cases of COVID on campus caused all sports to be canceled,” Missouri said.

Within the same two-week time frame, Campus Activities Board also canceled their in-person events. Horror Week’s Lazer Tag and Horror hunt were postponed until the spring, said Emilee Jones, Campus Activities Board student director, in an email to The Mesquite on Oct. 27.

“Our events were canceled due to weather, and to reassess all of our events to ensure they are safe and update our COVID-19 guidelines with flu season approaching,” said Jarrick Brown, Campus Activities Board adviser, in an email to The Mesquite on Oct. 28.

On Nov. 1, students received a mass email addressing the spiking COVID-19 cases and campuswide cancellations from Dr. Mari Fuentes-Martin, vice president of student engagement and success, and Darnell Smith, director of intercollegiate athletics and recreational sports.

“In recent days, however, our campus has experienced a slight increase in the positivity rate and has encountered the first cases in which transmission of the virus probably occurred on campus, as well as our first cases in Esperanza Hall,” Fuentes-Martin said in the email.

Student residents testing positive for the virus were prompted to remain in isolation. Students not living in Esperanza Hall and test positive are advised to stay off campus until they meet the set of requirements listed on the university website. 

University employees received an email on Oct. 21 from the COVID-19 Monitoring Group about suspected transmission on campus, which was “an isolated case of five individuals within a close working group who tested positive for the virus,” the email read.

The email said those people are in self-quarantine and the university did contact tracing to identify anyone suspected to have been in close contact. A&M-San Antonio took measures to disinfect the affected workspaces.

According to Fuentes-Martin’s email, the transmission of positive COVID-19 cases has not stemmed from in-person classes; however, as a precaution, recreational sports will be suspended and reevaluated by campus administration by Nov. 13.

The increase in COVID-19 cases at A&M-San Antonio is low compared to local and national numbers, according to the university’s COVID-19 website.

The Mesquite originally scheduled an interview with Fuentes-Martin for Oct. 30; the interview was rescheduled twice that day due to her previous meetings running late. On Nov. 3, the interview was possibly going to be rescheduled for the week of Nov. 9. However, in an email to The Mesquite Nov. 5, Dr. Jeanette De Diemar, vice president for advancement and external relations, said Fuentes-Martin was not the best contact and she would arrange interviews with other sources for this story and other stories.

Matthew Lopez and Michelle L. Yanez contributed to this story.

About the Author

Veronica Valdes
Veronica Valdes
Editor-in-Chief
Veronica Valdes is a senior communication major at Texas A&M University-San Antonio and is Editor-in-Chief at The Mesquite. She graduated from Northwest Vista College in 2018. The West Texas native traded in her hometown’s sand dunes for San Antonio’s city lights. Veronica now dedicates her spare time to explore every nook and cranny the city has to offer; she enjoys trying unique restaurants and loves live music. Veronica plans on pursuing a career in journalism upon graduating.

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