As of the end of last week, Augsburg had recorded 18 confirmed cases of COVID-19 among our on-campus student population for the 14-day period ending Saturday, October 3. This equates to 1.14% of the on-campus student population and moves Augsburg to the moderate transmission level.
One additional employee, who had already been in quarantine, also received a positive COVID-19 test for the previous week.
The majority of these cases—students and employees—will have completed their required isolation period by the end of the day Monday, October 5. The Response Team, in partnership with Athletics, Human Resources, and Residence Life staff, works to remain in regular communication with all students and employees in isolation in order to provide support and monitor their recovery.
Also, as noted last week, the Response Team works to make sure that everyone who had close contact (as defined by the Minnesota Department of Health) with someone who tested positive for COVID-19 remains in quarantine for 14 days. This is reflected in the second metric of the COVID-19 Dashboard, which shows that we continue to be able to identify the close contacts for each positive case even as the number of cases has grown.
As a result of this contact tracing work, there currently are a number of individuals in quarantine, and many of them are waiting for the results of their COVID-19 tests. It is possible that Augsburg’s on-campus student case rate may increase from what is currently reported if a number of those tests are positive.
It’s important to underscore that we still have not seen transmission of the virus in scenarios where people were wearing masks and remained physically distant. The No. 1 action you can take to prevent ongoing spread of COVID-19 is to follow those two public health protocols.
In addition to reinforcing the importance of the required public health behaviors, Augsburg reaffirmed a number of actions last week designed to reduce close contacts. We need to sustain these efforts until we see the number of on-campus cases decline. It can take a couple of weeks to achieve a decline in the case rate if public health behaviors are followed (and longer if required behaviors are not followed), but the good news is that MDH has reported that such actions have been successful at other colleges and universities that have experienced a spike in cases this fall.
Finally, Augsburg has reported all isolation and quarantine cases to the Minnesota Department of Health, and we have a meeting today with MDH Epidemiologist Cynthia Kenyon, the lead contact for higher education for the coronavirus pandemic, to review Augsburg’s response to the current case rate and determine whether further action is recommended. If additional actions are required, we will communicate those via email or A-mail this week.