The COVID-19 Task Force had a meeting on Thursday, March 24th. Here are the meeting notes from the Augsburg Staff Union representative.
Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) Updates:
- COVID rates are low, expected to be even better in the 3/24 CDC Community Levels report. MDH is seeing upticks in norovirus, influenza, etc.
- Reported late Feb/early March data for BA.2 in MN. Shared in the chat: BA.2 subvariant at about 40% of virus in metro wastewater reports
- Testing reporting changes (shared with Robert Gould and Cyndi Berg who are managing testing at Augsburg)· Still using CDC guidance as updated MDH guidance is still working its way through the process (some of the delay is ongoing changes). Of the three current MDH higher ed guidance pieces, MDH noted they will likely retire the mitigation piece and defer to CDC. (The other two guidance pieces are (1) scenario levels guidance and (2) cases and outbreaks guidance.)
- Discussion of “medium” community levels, during which people which higher risks should consider masking. Per MDH, at an institutional level, a medium community level doesn’t suggest mask mandates, but we should be ready to communicate the range of potential risk, which is likely more extensive than people realize. Therapeutics are available for people at higher risk – public health guidance is to talk with your physician.
- Presented an online isolation/quarantine calculator, but the link to the calculator was not provided in the meeting. Dashboard
- update:· All data were low in the 3/19 report – daily updates to local transmission levels have gone even lower since.· Metrics monitoring presentation at 3/23 ADSG meeting
Testing and Vaccine on Campus Update
- Vaccine events March 30 and April 20
- Targeted resident student and student-athlete lists provided to Residence Life and Athletics to promote the vaccination events. (Many on those lists may be boosted but just have not updated their info, so this outreach will help with that.)
- We need 1-2 volunteers each hour between 10 am and 2 pm each day. Please sign up on this sheet. I’ll be posting this call for volunteers in A-mail as well.
Campus Clear Ending in May
- Ivy.ai who provides CampusClear (for free) is ending support for it on May 31st, 2022
We set up a Google Form so Augsburg Staff Union members could state their questions or concerns to be addressed at the meeting. We received the following questions this week:
- Question: “CDC website doesn’t have any language around masks or testing regarding unvax vs vax, they simply state anyone in high transmission areas should mask and test, so if cases are at 0 on campus, when will unvaccinated not be required to test weekly? All cdc language states that fully vaccinated or up to date is 2 doses with a booster. If booster is recommended after 5 months of initial 2 doses, why is the new covid policy for 22-23 school year not including boosters as fully vaccinated?“
- Answer: Dawn Miller stated that this would need to be discussed at the bargaining table for further clarification. This question was passed onto the Augsburg Staff Union bargaining team. More information on bargaining over Covid-19 policy will be announced, following yesterday’s bargaining session.
For the second part of the question, Rebecca John stated that “CDC makes a clear distinction between fully vaccinated (primary series) and boosted: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/stay-up-to-date.html.”
Please note: Urgent questions related to COVID-19 should not be submitted via the Google Form, those questions should continue to be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org, calling 612-474-3100, and/or by using the Augsburg self-reporting form.
The staff union representative will continue to send weekly updates based on information gathered in the COVID Task Force meetings and questions asked in the google form.