PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - With less than two weeks to go before Thanksgiving, some college students are facing a dilemma: after being away at school, how do they come home for the holiday and see their family safely?
Many Arizona universities are offering free coronavirus tests and are encouraging students to get tested before they leave for home. The University of Arizona is currently moving forward with a pre-holiday "testing blitz." Last week, the university says tests were up 34%, and the testing push will continue until Nov. 25.
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"To make sure we're doing everything we can here on the campus as good citizens as part of a bigger community," said Dr. Richard Carmona with the University of Arizona.
At UArizona's main campus, students were also required to fill out a survey detailing their travel plans. Arizona State University and Northern Arizona University both say they're trying to get more students tested as well.
Former state health director Will Humble said there is supply for both rapid tests and PCR tests but the demand is all for the quick results.
"NAU is reinforcing that we are in this together and that students, faculty, and staff must wear masks, physically distance, use good hygiene, and avoid large gatherings," said Kimberly Ann Ott at NAU. "Since Sept. 2, more than 26,850 tests have been administered."
But what should college students do when they get home and are around older parents and extended family?
"You really should consider staying in a separate room, a separate part of the house, keeping your mask on when you're around them," said Amira Ross, a professor of global health and epidemiology at George Mason University. One challenge is that younger people might have the coronavirus but could be asymptomatic.
"Which means they can really be, what we think of as efficiently spreading the virus," Ross said.
US coronavirus cases will spike after Thanksgiving, further stressing health care systems and prompting new restrictions, an emergency physician said Saturday.
Ross says families should consider moving their traditional turkey dinners outside.
"We know that indoor dining is associated with an increased probability of infection," Ross said.