Concern Grows Over Increase In Respiratory Viruses

Nathan Howard ’25

News Editor

On Nov. 30, 2022, Alyssa Price, a Public Health Registered Nurse at Holy Cross announced that she is putting a Respiratory Virus Advisory in effect as she continues to monitor an increase in respiratory viruses on campus following the recent holiday break. Because of this, Nurse Price recommended that all individuals wear a protective face mask while indoors and around others. While a college-issued mask-mandate will not be in effect, Nurse Price’s recommendation serves as an “important mitigation measure” to prevent further illness. In addition to wearing protective face masks, Price urged the practice of “good hand hygiene through either frequent hand washing or using hand sanitizer and remembering to cover your cough and sneeze.”

Along with these respiratory viruses, there is still a risk of one contracting COVID-19 and influenza in these final weeks of the semester. Because of this, Nurse Price stressed the importance of testing regularly if one feels sick, stating that “I urge students to make an appointment at the respiratory clinic for an evaluation, and employees are encouraged to contact their PCP or visit a clinic for an evaluation of their illness. If you feel sick, even if you test negative for COVID and/or flu, please mask and avoid interacting with others.” If students need access to COVID testing, they can pick up both test kits and protective face masks in the entryway of Health Services on Mondays-Fridays from 9am-5pm. If Holy Cross employees need access to these accommodations, they can be picked up in Human Resources on Mondays-Fridays from 9am-5pm. When discussing the effects these viruses may have on the campus community, Nurse Price explained that “With finals prep and finals approaching, we want everyone in our community to stay safe and take appropriate precautions to staying healthy before winter break.”In addition, Nurse Price encouraged students and employees to receive both their flu shot and COVID bivalent booster shot if they have not already. Anyone who needs help with finding a vaccination site should reach out to for assistance. 

In concluding her announcement, Nurse Price explained that there are many social events occurring in the next few weeks that people may wish to attend. Because of this, Nurse Price writes that “It is up to the individual to make the risk assessment of whether or not to attend these events, and what precautions to take. If you choose to attend a large event, consider how you can protect others around you afterwards.” After attending these large gatherings, Nurse Price recommends that individuals mask when around others as one “may have unknown exposures to viruses.” As members of the campus community weigh the risk of attending these events, Nurse Price left everyone to contemplate the following statement: “While the risk of illness may not affect your plans directly, infecting others can disrupt their finals, travel plans for winter break, and mental wellbeing.”

Photo courtesy of New Scientist

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