GRAPHIC BY JEREMY GUTIERREZ - Number of COVID-19 Cases from Jun.-Sept. 2021

Local increases in COVID-19 cases causes concern

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Local COVID-19 cases are on the rise once more. The San Gabriel City and Rosemead City Twitter accounts announced that there are 3,522 and 5,410 active COVID-19 cases as of Sept. 6 and Sept. 7 respectively, an increase of over 400 cases since June 15 when the county reopened.

When the county was shut down people were barred from nonessential public spaces; bars, restaurants, barbers, among many others. Spaces that were not closed required protection, such as masks and face shields, to enter. Due to restrictions being lifted, people were exposed to each other in greater numbers, often at enclosed locations.

“COVID cases rising does kind of scare me, but not like it did before the pandemic first started,” sophomore Patricia Flores said. “I feel like the pandemic took away everything I had already, so it has no more to take.”

COVID-19 has taken both friends and family from many. At the current rate, between 50 and 100 new COVID-19 cases appear in Rosemead every week. Many students live in the city, leaving them possibly exposed to COVID-19 both at school and at home.

“I think we learned [safe behavior] from last year,” Spanish teacher Melissa Rodriguez said. “So I hope [this surge in cases] won’t be as severe. I think we will still continue to practice social distancing, washing our hands, and of course wearing our masks.”

With cases climbing, concerns among students and staff have also increased. The school has put into place several cautionary measures on campus, although some students have offered suggestions about how they can be improved.

“We could probably have more distance in the lunch lines,” Flores said. “Maybe open up more speed lines.”

Current school health guidelines include mandatory masks within classrooms while masks are encouraged outside. Hand sanitizer stations have been installed in classrooms and around campus and their usage is also encouraged. Most classes see a daily cleaning routine by school custodial staff as well.

“I think they’re taking the right steps,” Rodriguez said. “They’re going to start testing students and staff, and they want proof [teachers are] vaccinated.”

The district is currently mandating weekly COVID-19 testing for students and staff, which began its trial stage Sept. 13. Official COVID-19 testing began Sept. 20. More cases will likely be discovered, allowing the school to effectively prevent spread on campus.

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