Staying on Course

From: VP Rick AmRhein
To: Students, Faculty, and Staff
Posted: October 20, 2020 at 1:50 p.m.

Throughout the fall semester, most of the campus community has done an excellent job following precautionary measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 on our campus. However, in the three weeks since the State of Indiana moved to Stage 5 in its novel coronavirus response, the number of positive cases, both at the State level and in Porter County, has been rising. And this past Thursday, Governor Holcomb signed an executive order to extend Stage 5 through Nov. 14.  Furthermore, the CDC recently reported that cases among 18-22 year olds rose by 123% in the Midwest since the start of summer. We must remain vigilant in wearing face coverings, maintaining physical distancing, avoiding large gatherings, and washing our hands regularly while on and off campus.

As of this morning, we have five active COVID-19 cases on campus, all of which are new since Friday. This brings our total number to 42 cases since Aug. 20. About half of those cases were due to contact off-campus, either through jobs in the community (27%) or through visits to family (22%). About 40% of our positive cases have been due to contact with someone on campus who was positive. Nearly 90% of our positive cases were discovered because the individual became symptomatic. The remaining cases were identified through our regular testing program for athletes in medium or high-risk sports or through those who have been tested after being in close contact with a positive case, despite being asymptomatic. 

All those who test positive for COVID-19 are interviewed through contact tracing to determine with whom they have interacted. In an effort to reduce the spread of the virus, the University quarantines all those who meet the threshold of close contact (as defined by the CDC). The University currently has 105 beds reserved for those who need to be quarantined or isolated on campus. At this time, 72 people are either in quarantine or isolation, with 13 of those staying on campus.

As we move into the final weeks of the semester, with the flu season nearly upon us, it is essential that we stay on course with our preventative measures, including wearing face coverings, maintaining physical distancing, avoiding large gatherings, and regular handwashing.