Earlier this week, The New York Times reported data with Rexburg currently having the biggest outbreak of COVID-19 cases, relative to population, in the country.
Over the past two weeks, Rexburg has had the greatest number of new cases in relation to its population. As of October 7, the number of new cases for the Rexburg area was 766.
Rexburg is also ranked No. 2 on “Where There May Be Bad News Ahead,” meaning where new cases are rising at dramatic rates.
On Tuesday night, Mayor Jerry Merrill went live on Facebook discussing the rise in cases. In the video, he addresses The New York Times data.
“I am not doing these videos to make people paranoid, although I think to some extent we need to be paranoid,” Merrill said. “This is a spike we are having, so we need to take this seriously.”
Merrill gives suggestions throughout the video on how citizens of Rexburg can be more cautious to prevent the spread. He brings up that even though most of the cases have recovered, there are still people vulnerable to the virus.
Rainey Roberts, a sophomore studying psychology, said she wasn’t surprised when she saw The New York Times data. She predicted cases would spike when students came back to Rexburg for fall semester.
“I think that it is pathetic that people can’t be considerate of others,” Roberts said. “What I am referring to is the selfish partying with no precautions concerning the virus. Even when people do their best with the precautions, COVID-19 is highly contagious and can still spread.”
On September 25, BYU-Idaho released an official notice about the possible closure of campus due to the rise in cases. In the statement, the university warns that students could face “suspension and/or dismissal from the university” if students fail to follow COVID-19 guidelines.