A group of students from the University of Texas, Austin, who charted a plane to Mexico for their spring break tested positive for the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).
The group of twenty-somethings numbering about 70 flew to Cabo San Lucas about a week-and-a-half ago, announced the Austin Public Health Department in a press release on March 31. Of that group, 28 of them tested positive for the disease. Four of the 28 who are positive are asymptomatic, i.e. not showing symptoms.
A few members of the group had taken commercial flights to return to the US and now both Austin Public Health and UT Health Austin and University Health Services are closely monitoring them.
Those who tested positive are now self-isolating, said the press release, while the rest are “under quarantine while being monitored and tested.”
When the group had traveled to Mexico, the country didn’t have a federal travel advisory. But the Austin Public Health Department disclosed in its press release that “Austin-Travis County residents should follow CDC’s travel recommendations indicating travelers avoid all non-essential international travel. A leisure vacation of any kind is not considered essential.”
“The university is working closely with Austin Public Health to assist in contact tracing,” a spokesperson for UT Austin said. “The incident is a reminder of the vital importance of taking seriously the warnings of public health authorities on the risks of becoming infected with COVID-19 and spreading it to others.”
On March 24, Travis County and the City of Austin issued stay-at-home instructions, requiring all residents to remain at home except for essential trips like buying groceries and supplies, getting health care or medicine, and working at an essential business.
Texas had 3,280 confirmed cases as of March 31 and 244 of those cases were in Travis County. The state has tallied 50 deaths due to COVID-19, two of those in Travis County.