Mid-South college town sees spike in new COVID-19 cases as students return

WATCH: Mid-South college town sees spike in new COVID-19 cases as students return

OXFORD, Miss. — Colleges are fueling new COVID-19 outbreaks across the country. According to New York Times data, a Mid-South college town ranks third for new cases per one thousand people.

FOX13 found out residents in Oxford, Miss. are not surprised by the ranking.

The city of Oxford has been anything but shy when it comes to dealing with COVID-19, putting up big flashing signs saying ‘Wear your mask.’

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“I take precautions and I wear my mask and many kids won’t,” said Ole Miss Sophomore Alexis Lyle.

Lyle told FOX13 she isn’t surprised by a New York Times report that shows Oxford with the 3rd highest number of recent COVID outbreaks in metro areas around the country.

“A lot of kids, especially this past weekend with it being a long holiday, they have been out partying and they don’t take the precautions that most kids do, and we do like to get out and have fun,” Lyle said.

The city of Oxford put a mask ordinance into effect and tickets businesses where they don’t use them. Police have written as many as 42 tickets for people violating the city’s social gathering policy.

“I think the city is doing the right thing," said Lyle. “I just don’t think the students do what is right. I don’t know, I do know what is right. I know that Oxford triples in size when the students are here. I know they are not taking the proper precautions as they should be.”

Oxford is one of three Metro areas along with Huntsville, Tx. and Pullman, Wash. with at least six cases per one thousand people in the last two weeks.

Over the Labor Day weekend, the Oxford Police Department said they wrote eleven citations for the people violating the city’s social gathering ordinance.

WATCH: Mid-South college town sees spike in new COVID-19 cases as students return Part 2

Ole Miss Sophomore Will Wilkins said those numbers seem a little low for the Labor Day weekend.

“Honestly, I think that there would be more than that, that they would have busted up because people are trying to have a good time with their buddies that they haven’t seen for a while right before school starts back up,” Wilkins said.

The University has signs posted about COVID-19 and social gatherings all across campus. There is also information all over the web. Topics range from what to do if you test positive to what to do if your roommate or someone close to you tests positive.

Oxford’s Tanya Smith said getting COVID-19 under control is an individual responsibility.

“I think what we need to do is to follow the protocol and follow the rules and the regulations and be safe and mindful,” said Smith.

FOX13 reached out to Ole Miss to find out what actions the university plans to take against a student or an organization for violating social distancing rules.

We were directed to The Office of Conflict Resolution and Student Conduct’s information listed on its COVID-19 Student Action Response Tiers webpage.

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