UNC Charlotte students hope Omicron variant discovery on campus doesn’t cause another shutdown


CHARLOTTE, N.C. (FOX 46 CHARLOTTE) — UNC Charlotte students were going about their day, and then just after 2 p.m. on Friday, received an email regarding a fellow student had tested positive for the COVID-19 Omicron variant.

“It’s definitely concerning,” Logan Sink said as he was walking from class. “You don’t know what it will entail, you don’t know how it is different from the former variants.”

Mecklenburg County Health Department workers and those with the university updated the public about the case.

The student lives on campus, traveled out of state over the Thanksgiving break and contracted COVID-19.

“This particular student was symptomatic during that time,” Rick Tankersley said, the vice chancellor for research and economic development at UNC Charlotte. “The student was isolated following their positive PCR test and has since recovered from COVID and is no longer in isolation.”

The UNC Charlotte campus sequencing lab discovered the case, and it was identified as the Omicron variant on Friday morning. 

Students said the amount of testing on campus helps them to feel safe.

“I think the school is taking the right precautions,” Thomas Caffey said. “I feel like with the daily health screenings, and the vaccination rates, we’re in a good standing.”

The county said the safety measures put in place since the start of the pandemic worked because the student was identified, isolated and exposure to others was minimal, infecting just one other person.

The student was also fully vaccinated.

“We anticipate potentially seeing some increases over this period of time,” Mecklenburg County Public Health Director Gibbie Harris said. “That just reemphasizes the need for people to get vaccinated, get boosted and to wear their masks indoors to protect themselves and protect others.”

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