Dozens of 'Spring Breakers' test positive for COVID-19 after return to Austin, officials say

Group went to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

Talk 1370 Newsroom
March 31, 2020 - 11:20 am
Positive coronavirus test

AUSTIN (Talk1370.com) -- Local health officials are investigating a large group of Spring Break travelers from Austin, out of which 44 people have tested positive for COVID-19.

Officials say the group of approximately 70 people in their 20s departed Austin on a chartered plane about a week and half ago. Some of the group returned to Austin on separate commercial flights.

44 of the group members have tested positive for COVID-19, including at least four who did not present any symptoms. Dozens more remain under investigation by local health officials. University of Texas officials say that all 44 of the positive results are UT students.

Austin Public Health, UT Health Austin, and University Health Services have made contact with every spring breaker that was on board the plane using flight manifests from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The 44 confirmed cases are self-isolating at this time. Others are under quarantine while being monitored and tested. The Department of State Health Services has been notified.

Officials continue to emphasize the importance of avoiding all non-essential travel. At the time of the flight's departure, Mexico was not under a federal travel advisory.

"The virus often hides in the healthy and is given to those who are at grave risk of being hospitalized or dying," Austin-Travis County Interim Health Authority Dr. Mark Escott said. "While younger people have less risk for complications, they are not immune from severe illness and death from COVID-19."

For people who are young and healthy, the chief public health concern is the risk that they will spread the virus to others. In Austin-Travis County, the number of people 65 and over is estimated to be 132,000 – about 10% of the population. At the same time, it is also dangerously misguided for young and healthy individuals to believe that they won’t suffer severe symptoms if infected with COVID-19 – as of March 16, 20% of all COVID-19 related hospitalizations in the United States were among those age 20-44.

Austin Public Health is continuing to ask the wider community to take daily preventative actions to stop the spread of disease, including:

  • Wash your hands.
  • Cover sneezes and coughs with a bent elbow or tissue.
  • Avoid touching your face.
  • Stay home and save lives. Only go out for essential needs if you are well with no symptoms.
  • If you are a caretaker, be sure to establish a plan in the event you are sick.

For more information, visit www.AustinTexas.gov/COVID19.

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