March spring break trip led to 64 coronavirus cases

A group of college students from the University of Texas-Austin traveled to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico earlier this year for a spring break trip that led to 64 cases of COVID-19, researchers confirmed Wednesday.

A group of students traveled to the Mexican city from March 14 to 19, CNN reported.

Sixty of the cases were among “183 vacation travelers, one among 13 household contacts and three among 35 community contacts,” according to the findings released Wednesday from researchers at the University of Austin and Austin Public Health.

“Contact tracing interviews revealed that Cabo San Lucas travelers used a variety of commercial, charter, and private flights to return to the United States,” the researchers said in findings released Wednesday. “Additional travelers were identified through contact tracing interviews and review of flight manifests gathered with assistance from Austin Public Health.”

The university began an investigation on March 28 after three of the travelers tested positive for COVID-19. 

The University of Texas Health Austin (UTHA) health center trained “medical students, public health students, and clinical and research staff members to trace contacts. UTHA contact tracers communicated with travelers and contacts by telephone, first texting an initial message about the potential exposure and then attempting to call each traveler and contact up to three times,” the findings said. They found that over one-fifth of people with positive test results were asymptomatic. 

None of the people with COVID-19 infections were hospitalized and none died. A total of 289 people were interviewed as part of the investigation.

Contact tracers warned asymptomatic travelers and other people who came into contact with the students to self-quarantine. They also offered them a coronavirus test. 

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The researchers called for colleges and university to form plans for testing and isolating students with COVID-19, quarantining their contacts, and implementing recommendations from health officials.

Texas has seen cases increase in recent days. The health officials reported 5,489 cases on Tuesday, a record for the state. 

Tags #coronavirus Austin Contact tracing Coronavirus COVID19 spring break

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