Local college students talk about contracting COVID-19 amid rise in cases

Posted at 10:17 PM, Sep 17, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-18 09:19:44-04

MILWAUKEE — College campuses are “hot zones” of COVID-19 activity according to state health officials. At University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, 59 new positive cases of COVID-19 were reported Thursday. The university canceled in person classes this week and doesn't expect face-to-face instruction to resume until Sept. 28.

Dr. Ryan Westergaard of the Wisconsin Department of Health Services said living arrangements can lead to spread.

“Particularly in a dormitory setting people are sharing close spaces, they are sharing bathrooms and it’s hard to keep physical distancing and wear masks when you are essentially living with people 24 hours a day. That’s why college campuses have been a really risky situation,” said Westergaard.

Jack Kessenich of Shorewood is a student at U-W La Crosse. He and two other roommates have been diagnosed with COVID-19. He believes he contracted the virus by hanging out with a small group of friends.

“They ended up testing positive, which got us a little worried and then we started showing symptoms. So then we decided to get the test and we ended up testing positive too,” said Kessenich.

La Crosse tops a recently released New York Times list of “Where there may be bad news ahead.” The list shows where new cases are rising the fastest adjusting for populations. Eight of the top 10 cities are college towns in Wisconsin.

In person classes have been halted at UW La Crosse and UW Madison because of the rise of coronavirus cases in recent weeks since students returned to campus.

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