LUBBOCK, Texas — Lubbock saw the highest jump in case numbers this week, and a large percentage came from students and staff at Texas Tech. To help combat the coronavirus, the university has opened up a new walk-up testing site on-campus that is free for students.
The site is located on Urbanovsky Park and will be available from September 4 through September 23. There is no pre-registration required. By midafternoon Friday, the site had already tested approximately 300 students, with hundreds more lined up to get tested.
Some students said they arrived to get tested because they had been notified by contact tracers about possible exposure, while others said they were there to get a precautionary screening.
“All my teacher and professors have been pretty strict on like, if you have any symptoms don’t, don’t come to class, you know, we can go online for you,” said Texas Tech student Mason Still.
The City of Lubbock’s Health Department said while there have been more positive cases, there has also been more testing available and more people seeking testing.
At the start of the pandemic, only a few hospitals were available to do COVID-19 testing. Now, according to city health officials, there have been over 20 clinics throughout Lubbock opened up that offer testing.
“We’ve seen a large increase in the number of positives,” said Lubbock’s Director of Public Health Katherine Wells. “We’ve also seen a large increase in the number of people seeking tests. And because of that, we want to add additional testing capacity.”
Texas Tech has contributed to a large percentage of the new cases in the past week, and some students said this might be because they are not as concerned about contracting the virus due to their age.
“I think a big portion of it is that the realization is that if you know someone in college, healthy young guy, healthy young girl gets it, they’re going to be fine, you know, fever for two days, they’re not going to struggle much,” said Still.
However, no matter your age, health officials warn everyone to take caution. With Labor Day Weekend approaching, Wells said to be extra careful if you plan to go to any gatherings. If you do, keep them small.
“If you’re getting tested, stay home and stay away from others until you get those test results,” said Wells. “You don’t want to possibly be positive and then going to, you know, a gathering this weekend and then exposing others.”