COVID-19 cases trend down in the New River Valley, Radford University announces spring semester plans

Published: Oct. 6, 2020 at 10:28 PM EDT
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RADFORD, Va. (WDBJ) -We’re getting an update from the New River Health District on coronavirus in the NRV. At a press conference Tuesday, New River Health District Director Dr. Noelle Bissell said cases are trending down.

That pattern is reflected in Radford University’s COVID-19 dashboard update this week. Only two new positive cases were reported on campus, identical to last week.

But as COVID fatigue sets in, health officials want to make sure we are prepared to enter into the winter months.

Bissell said less than 20 percent of infectious people can spread a significant amount of COVID, upwards of 80 percent or more.

“Obviously COVID doesn’t fatigue, so we can’t give up on these practices that we know are safest and that’s what we really need to focus on,” Bissell said. “As the weather gets colder we need to be outside as much as we can because that’s going to be the safest option so bundle up and keep your distance.”

Now that she says we are past our peak of cases with the highest numbers in Montgomery County and Radford, RU is announcing its Spring 2021 Operational Plan.

“We love having our Highlanders here and we’ve gone to great lengths and put a lot of planning in place to ensure that our students can come back here and learn here on campus with us,” said university spokesperson Caitlyn Scaggs.

Very similar to the fall plan, students coming back from hotspots will be required to get a test and everyone comes back at a scheduled time. They’ll start filling out the daily symptom tracker two weeks before returning.

“Really the intent of that tracker is to make everyone aware of their own individual health to be very aware of symptoms and any changes so they can take necessary and appropriate action,” Scaggs said.

The school is staying on track to start the semester January 19.

“Keep up the good work, keep doing the things you need to do to keep us all healthy and well. We’re very proud of you,” Scaggs said.

There will be no spring break this year to limit travel during the semester, and students have the option to get a COVID-19 test before leaving campus for Thanksgiving.

Dr. Bissell says we should be past the peak of our cases here from the return of students and Labor Day, but there will always be a small amount of community spread until there’s a vaccine or we all develop immunity to the virus.

Copyright 2020 WDBJ. All rights reserved.

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