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FSU to randomly test students, staff for COVID-19 as Leon County cases spike

Posted at 6:26 PM, Sep 07, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-07 18:26:57-04

LEON COUNTY, Fla. (WTXL) — Numbers on the rise as a spike in COVID-19 cases comes to Leon County.

The Leon County Department of Health reported 532 new cases just this weekend. A good number of those cases stem from young adults and teenagers.

Since Aug. 31, the county has reported over 100 new cases total per day. A doctor ABC 27 spoke to says these numbers could be the result of the return of college students.

Since the pandemic started in March, over 3,000 people ages 15-24 have been infected with COVID-19 in Leon County, with 25 to 34-year-olds right behind with over 1,200 cases.

The spike comes not long after universities and colleges resumed classes on Aug. 24, followed by Leon County Schools on Aug. 31.

Dr. Henry Lewis says, despite social distance measures, students will still congregate outside of campus and since many young carriers don't have symptoms, he believes Florida State's new random COVID-19 testing will help decrease infection numbers.

"Being able to test as many students as possible and staff for that matter, as well as being able to get those results back quickly so that they can identify who those individuals are who test positive and to find out what individuals they have been in contact with so that we can make sure those people are tested," said Dr. Lewis.

Florida State's program is a partnership with the Florida Department of Health aiming to test 5 to 10 percent of people on campus daily based on the week before.

Lewis served on the Leon County Schools task force and says they implemented many of the recommendations given to reduce the spread of the virus.

The FSU random testing starts next Monday. Students and staff will be randomly selected and tested at the Civic Center. For more information on the random testing, click here.

Johns Hopkins Center for Systems Science and Engineering