Fifth Week COVID-19 Update for Students

14 October 2020

Dear Carls,

Last week, we recorded two new cases of COVID-19 within our on-campus community—one identified through surveillance testing, and the other through a test administered off campus. As a result, among the College’s threshold measures, our 14-day infection rate increased to 0.16%, our surveillance testing positivity rate increased to 0.4%, and the 14-day average number of close contacts per case moved to 9.5. Detailed data is available on the COVID-19 Dashboard.

While the infection rate remains low on campus, we experienced an extended turnaround time for test results from the Mayo Clinic, which had a direct impact on the number of close contacts identified in one of the two positive cases. While we have generally received results from Mayo within 48 hours of test administration, two results from the most recent week of testing were returned after 80 hours, including the surveillance positive. We are in communication with our testing provider to determine the reason for the delay. We are also exploring the possibility of using other test providers, though increased testing in the state may be having a more universal impact on test result turnaround times.

Through contact tracing, we learned that this positive case had a high number of close contacts, the majority of which originated from the work environment. We have taken action to implement changes in this work setting in order to limit close interactions between employees going forward. We have also expanded testing within the affected work group.

At this time, we have identified and communicated with all known close contacts of both positive cases. The risk of exposure for others on campus is no greater than the risk of contracting the virus in the general community.

Finally, it is important for you to know that a close contact is defined as someone who has spent 15 or more cumulative minutes within 6 feet of an infected individual over a 24-hour period. Please take action to ensure that your pod is small, and your time with others is carefully distanced.

Sincerely,

Dean Livingston