First Confirmed On-campus Student with COVID-19 Speaks Out

Nurse+Jerri+Mitchell+%28left%29+tests+student+A.R.+Tremblay+%28right%29+for+COVID-19

Carlos Wyrick (he/him)/Staff Photographer

Nurse Jerri Mitchell (left) tests student A.R. Tremblay (right) for COVID-19

Warren Wilson College has had few positive COVID-19 cases since the WHO reported it in late December 2019. In fact, it was the only college or university in western North Carolina who had zero cases during the fall 2020 semester. Still, during a worldwide pandemic, it has proved difficult to keep everyone healthy and safe, even with proper protocols.

Cole Cambron, a second year student at Warren Wilson, had one of the first positive cases despite efforts to avoid it. 

“I felt I was being very safe,” said Cambron, who is from Cincinnati, OH. “I wasn’t even eating indoors with anyone except my pod and I wore a mask everywhere. I think I may have gotten it at a gas station coming back to school. I came down with a fever and that’s how I realized that I might have had it. I called the nurse right then and there and they said I had to quarantine.” 

The CDC has identified the symptoms that may be relevant to COVID-19 such as a fever, body aches, sore throat, and especially loss of taste or smell. Cambron experienced some of the symptoms that typically accompany COVID-19.

“I was afraid I would not get my taste or smell back,” said Cambron. “It affected my appetite — it definitely made eating a chore. It was hard to get up to make a meal when I knew I wasn’t going to be able to taste it.”

One of the most frightening things about this virus is how easy it is to catch, even for very responsible students on campus, according to Cambron. 

“I always thought ‘well if I wear my mask everywhere I’ll be fine,’” he said. “All it takes is walking past someone that doesnt have their mask. It is so much easier to get it than I realized. You can follow all of the protocols and still get it.” 

Warren Wilson has just finished the second round of COVID-19 surveillance testing and, according to Director of Public Safety, Emergency and Risk Management, Justin Gildner, the school is planning to continue testing throughout the rest of the semester. 

Warren Wilson is urging their students to stay diligent and not become complacent with COVID-19. Although it is unfortunate that there were positive cases on campus, the college can only hope that it becomes a wake up call for everyone. The goal is to continue to make the community a healthy one.

 “It is the whole campus you’re taking care of,” said Cambron.