This will likely be the last update for the year, and I just want to mention a few points:
1. Overall Status. North Dakota’s cases have continued to drop dramatically. Unfortunately, even with the decrease, the number of active cases in the state is still higher than when the semester started. So while we are headed in the right direction, we need to continue to be diligent.
It is likely that widespread vaccine distribution is still months away which means that we need to continue testing. Just like Thanksgiving, traveling and attending family gatherings will be a sure way of spreading the virus, particularly to older, more vulnerable family members. In addition, we do not want students contracting the virus over the break and returning to campus with it.
We are having a testing event today (see item #3 below). This represents the last opportunity to test before traveling for break. Please take advantage of it in order to keep yourself and your loved ones safe.
In addition, we want people to be tested upon their return to campus, so we have started scheduling into the new year. Right now, we have planned two mass testing events, and we are continuing to work on later dates. Additional information about next semester’s testing will be provided in future updates.
There is also considerable interest in the vaccine distribution. Right now, there is a limited quantity of the vaccine available, and it is being restricted to front line health workers. Eventually, there will be more wide-spread availability. How this will be effectuated and what role, if any, NDSU will play in the process are not yet known. I will keep you posted as the situation resolves itself.
2. Testing Information. Last week, 1,040 people were tested. There were a total of 14 positive cases which resulted in a positivity rate of only 1.3%. This positivity rate is lower than the rates at last week’s NDSU testing events.
3. Weekly Testing. We’re continuing with testing at the SHAC, and you should enter using the south doors. The dates and times through the end of the year are as follows:
December 17: 1-5 pm
December 31: 1-4 pm
January 7: 1-5 pm
January 14: 1-5 pm
We would like every employee to get tested at least every other week. However, if you are working in an area with significant exposure to others, it would be better to get tested every week. As always, being tested at these events should be considered work time, and I’m asking supervisors to be flexible to allow for employee testing.
Some final points about testing:
• Testing is free.
• You can preregister here. However, if you have already registered for a prior testing event, you do not have to re-register.
• It is not limited to people living on campus. All students, including off-campus students, are encouraged to participate.
• You do not have to have symptoms in order to get this testing. In fact, this testing is only for individuals who are asymptomatic. If you are experiencing symptoms, please contact Student Health Service or your local health care facility to determine next steps.
Dean L. Bresciani, President