Campus Update — December 14

Augustana University is closely monitoring the evolving COVID-19 situation. Here are the latest things to know:

Global Outlook: As of 2:30 p.m. on Monday, December 14, the COVID-19 Dashboard by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at Johns Hopkins University has reported 72,587,435 cases of the novel coronavirus globally and 1,617,949 deaths.

National Outlook: As of 12:16 p.m. on Monday, December 14, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has reported 16,113,148 positive cases of the novel coronavirus and 298,266 deaths.

  • Per its website, the CDC currently recommends a quarantine period of 14 days. However, on Wednesday, December 2, the CDC provided new shortened quarantine guidance as acceptable alternatives.

State Outlook: As of 10:43 a.m. on Monday, December 14, the South Dakota Department of Health (SD-DOH) has confirmed 83,986 positive cases of COVID-19, including the 272 cases that are new, and 1,259 deaths. There are 12,623 active cases in the state, including 441 current hospitalizations. A total of 77,472 people have recovered from the virus in the state.

  • In its initial shipment, the State of South Dakota has been allocated 7,800 doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine. Avera Health announced that it received its first shipment of the vaccine at 8:45 a.m. on Monday, December 14, with the expectation that it would be administered sometime in the afternoon. Sanford Health expects to get its first shipment on Tuesday, December 15, which will also be administered the same day. The initial doses of the vaccine will go to individuals with the highest risk (as part of South Dakota's Phase I vaccination plan) or the 19,000 healthcare workers in COVID-19 units. Dr. David Basel, vice president for clinical quality for Avera Medical Group, says the initial shipment(s) of the Pfizer COVID-19 will stay in Sioux Falls because of ultracold temperature required. If the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approves the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine as expected by the end of the week, Basel says those doses will be sent to more rural parts of the state because it doesn't have the same ultracold temperature requirements. Both healthcare systems expect to be sent more doses weekly or biweekly. Both the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines require a second dose within about a three-week time period, at 21 and 28 days respectively, to be 94-95 percent effective. Read more about the vaccine on the SD-DOH website and the CDC website.

City Outlook: The city has a Sioux Falls COVID-19 Dashboard that provides information and resources about the coronavirus testing, case data and the response in Lincoln and Minnehaha Counties. As of Monday, December 14, Lincoln and Minnehaha Counties reported a total of 29,3204 total (confirmed and probable) cases of the novel coronavirus, including 100 cases that are new, and 289 deaths. There are 3,883 active cases in both counties, including 146 current hospitalizations. A total of 25,148 people have recovered throughout the two counties. Other updates about City of Sioux Falls services and operations are available at siouxfalls.org/covid19.

  • In a meeting on Tuesday, November 17, the Sioux Falls City Council motioned to reconsider an emergency ordinance considered on November 10, that would require a face covering in an indoor public place where six-foot social distancing cannot be achieved. An amendment was made to the ordinance in that "There shall be no penalty for any person found in violation of this ordinance." Ordinance No. 102-20 passed in a 6-2 vote.
  • In a meeting on Tuesday, December 15, Mayor Paul TenHaken says the Sioux Falls City Council will consider whether to readopt a resolution called the One Sioux Falls COVID Action Plan, outlining expectations for the people of Sioux Falls to take action to slow the sperad of the virus that causes COVID-19. According to TenHaken, around 500 businesses in Sioux Falls have signed the One Sioux Falls Pledge, agreeing to take all the steps and measures outlined in the plan seriously.

Campus Outlook: As of Monday, December 14, Augustana University has received a total of 340 reports of positive COVID-19 from the campus community since receiving its first positive case report on April 23, 2020. Of those cases, six remain active and 329 people have recovered. For daily updates on positive COVID-19 cases reported to AU, please visit the my.augie.edu portal. A more comprehensive look at COVID-19 cases within K-12 schools, as well as colleges, universities and technical schools in South Dakota can be found on the SD-DOH website, updated weekly on Mondays.

  • On Friday, December 11, a message regarding 2021 Campus COVID-19 Protocols was sent to Augustana students, parents, staff, faculty and administration.

As we continue to implement the Viking Flex Plan and welcome students and staff back to campus, we fully anticipate receiving more reports of positive cases. In order to deal with the anticipated increase of positive cases reported and to preserve the confidentiality and privacy of all involved — Augustana will notify the entire campus community of individual positive COVID-19 cases only when a particular case or set of cases poses a greater risk to the community that cannot be identified through contact tracing. Those in our campus community who are known to have met the exposure criteria determined by the CDC will be notified. For a better understanding, please view COVID-19 Basics #ForAU.

If and when an individual reports testing positive for COVID-19, we will continue to utilize contact tracing, identifying and contacting anyone who may have been in contact with the individual. Augustana’s Employee Health Educator, Campus Clinic staff and others will stay in touch with these individuals to offer any support they may need. More resources regarding health and safety can be found at augie.edu/VikingFlex or within our Viking Flex Plan Frequently Asked Questions.