Students, health officials fear COVID-19 spread following riot near OSU campus

Local News

COLUMBUS (WCMH) — This weekend’s chaotic scene on Chittenden Avenue has been the talk of the Ohio State University campus and Columbus, some worrying about what COVID-19 cases could look like in the upcoming weeks, especially as most who took part in Chitt Fest weren’t social distancing or wearing masks.

One student at OSU, Kimberly Collmer, was sad to see all the destruction, saying it reflects poorly on students who didn’t take part in Chitt Fest.

“I just think it puts a very bad picture on Ohio State,” she said.

As the pandemic has already robbed Collmer of a lot of activities on campus, she worries this could mean more pauses.

“I was looking forward to freshman year,” she said. “Everyone being so irresponsible is heartbreaking.”

Another freshman student, Milan Caldwell, said she was also saddened to see the destruction, especially as this weekend felt like there was some sense of normalcy.

“We just got a taste of what football season is going to be like, hopefully, for next year, so, you would think, that with that, you would want to do everything in your power to get that season,” she said.

Columbus Public Health Commissioner Dr. Mysheika Roberts said watching the videos on social media was not shocking to see, especially with this weekend’s warm temperatures, but it was not expected.

“I was expecting an increase (in COVID-19 cases) after spring break, and we saw that,” Roberts said. “Although there were a lot of crowds this weekend, they were somewhat isolated. I’m hoping we don’t see a significant bump in cases just off this past weekend.”

Roberts said right now, hospital capacity is looking consistent and they do have space if cases were to rise, with additional plans in place for extra wings.

“We need to be mindful if we want to see the end of the pandemic, we need to continue to follow the health recommendations,” she said.

Roberts said for those who qualify to get vaccinated, she highly encourages them to book their appointments as fast as possible so they can return to some normalcy.

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