The Centers for Disease Control is citing the response to an early outbreak of COVID-19 in a group of University of Texas students who traveled together to Mexico as an example of how to handle similar clusters in the future.
The students left for Cabo San Lucas just one day after Travis County reported its first COVID-19 case. Upon return, about a third of them—60 total—tested positive for the disease and infected at least four other people.
The outbreak "among a young, healthy population with no or mild symptoms" was ultimately controlled "with a coordinated public health response that included rapid contact tracing and testing of all exposed persons," according to a CDC analysis published today.
The CDC believes this model may help contain future COVID-19 outbreaks as schools plan to reopen.
The UT Health Austin COVID-19 Center, a multidisciplinary team established in early March to help with the university's pandemic response, investigated the cluster and trained medical students, public health students, and clinical and research staff members to trace contacts and help coordinate testing for those who qualified.
Other actions—including a municipal shelter-in-place order issued in late March and UT-Austin's weeklong transition to remote learning—helped limit the spread of the disease, according to the study.
The study's authors recommend that schools and universities prepare for similar outbreaks.
"Contact tracing and testing of close contacts, regardless of symptoms, is important in limiting spread, especially in young and healthy populations living in shared housing and in controlling future COVID-19 outbreaks that might occur as schools and universities reopen," they wrote.
The efficacy of contract tracing, however, has diminished as the state of Texas continues its reopening.
"Right now, what happens when you call somebody who's a positive and you ask them where they've been over the past week, they've been everywhere," Austin-Travis County Interim Health Authority Dr. Mark Escott said at a virtual press conference on Wednesday. "They've had contact with hundreds of people."
- Why contact tracing doesn't work in Austin - austonia ›
- Construction, retail workers most at risk for COVID-19 as clusters ... ›
- Texas A&M, University of Texas systems expect to reopen in the fall ... ›
- 2 UT Austin dorm residents test positive for COVID-19 - austonia ›
- UT Austin reports 72 student COVID cases after first week - austonia ›
- Austin sees uptick in new COVID cases among 10-19 age group - austonia ›
Austin may soon be home to a tech plant that would dwarf the Tesla Gigafactory in both investment and job creation.
Samsung Electronics Co. is considering starting construction on a $10 billion memory chip plant in Austin as soon as this year, Bloomberg reported Friday.
- Travis County updates economic incentives policy post-Tesla ... ›
- Elon Musk seeks to fast-track $1.1 billion Tesla factory in Austin ... ›
- Tesla asks Travis County for 20-year property tax rebate deal ... ›
- Elon Musk announces Austin Gigafactory will open in 2021 - austonia ›
Californian who wrote viral op-ed attacking Austin life tells Austonia he 'didn't include the positive stuff'
The California exodus has made headlines for several years now, and even more recently, with thousands of West Coasters seeking tax relief, less-expensive real estate and a simpler lifestyle in Texas' capital city.
However, a California man's scathing review of Austin, which was published in Business Insider on Wednesday, reveals that some are less than satisfied with their move.