Clinic director again cites decrease in positive numbers

Published: September 22, 2020
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In his latest weekly update, Auburn University Medical Clinic Director Dr. Fred Kam on Tuesday again noted a decrease in positive COVID-19 cases on campus for the past week, citing a “lull” in numbers but encouraging the Auburn Family to stay committed to safeguards as cooler temperatures and the holiday travel season near.

“Last week was a very good week. Numbers were down. We were happy about that,” Dr. Kam said, noting that a previously anticipated spike due to Labor Day hadn’t occurred.

The university on Tuesday released its latest weekly positive case number—53—for Sept. 14-20. The previous week’s figure was 109.

Dr. Kam said that locally “we're really having right now a bit of a lull, which is a good thing.” He cited people’s adherence to preventative measures and the decisions of leaders as helping mitigate the virus’ spread.

Dr. Kam said a key focus right now is with the ongoing mental health of those in the community.

“We have a number of services available through the university,” he said, noting available counseling services and pointing to the university’s A Healthier U website for many available offerings. “We encourage you to be sensitive to your own situation and your own mental health. There are so many ways you can socialize safely through Skype, Zoom, FaceTime, so many other ways you can keep track of others and check in. Your mental health at this point in time—especially as we are in our sixth week of classes—it’s very important to pay attention to it.”

Dr. Kam also said that as cooler weather approaches and people eye upcoming travel to visit family and friends, the Auburn Family should continue to exercise caution. Dr. Kam said a person should plan 14 days out before any trip to limit their activities and contact with others. He said a person might even consider getting a COVID-19 rapid test to make sure of their status before seeing family who might be among those most vulnerable.

“If you're going to go visit family, there's a right way to do it, and there's a wrong way to do it,” he said. “I encourage you to take that into account as you make your decisions.”

Dr. Kam said that current science suggests that those who have had COVID-19 previously could have some degree of immunity for up to 90 days, “but it’s still an unknown.”

He said colder weather could cause people to congregate more indoors, and so he called for people to continue wearing their masks, sanitizing their hands and practicing social distancing while also making sure to get a flu vaccine shot.

Auburn University is a nationally ranked land grant institution recognized for its commitment to world-class scholarship, interdisciplinary research with an elite, top-tier Carnegie R1 classification, life-changing outreach with Carnegie’s Community Engagement designation and an undergraduate education experience second to none. Auburn is home to more than 30,000 students, and its faculty and research partners collaborate to develop and deliver meaningful scholarship, science and technology-based advancements that meet pressing regional, national and global needs. Auburn’s commitment to active student engagement, professional success and public/private partnership drives a growing reputation for outreach and extension that delivers broad economic, health and societal impact.