Campus Update — December 21

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

Global Outlook: As of 3:40 p.m. on Monday, December 21, the COVID-19 Dashboard by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at Johns Hopkins University has reported 77,188,346 cases of the novel coronavirus globally and 1,699,307 deaths.

National Outlook: As of 12:16 p.m. on Monday, December 21, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has reported 17,790,376 positive cases of the novel coronavirus and 316,844 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 10:44 a.m. on Monday, December 21, the South Dakota Department of Health (SD-DOH) has confirmed 86,934 positive cases of COVID-19, including the 301 cases that are new, and 1,381 deaths. There are 8,373 active cases in the state, including 344 current hospitalizations. A total of 85,320 people have recovered from the virus in the state.

  • Sanford and Avera Health expect to receive their first shipment of the Moderna vaccine on Tuesday, December 22, and will begin administering the doses in the afternoon. Both health systems say a majority of the Moderna vaccine will go to healthcare workers in their network facilities because it doesn't have the same ultracold temperature requirements as the Pfizer vaccine. 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 21, Lincoln and Minnehaha Counties reported a total of 30,536 total (confirmed and probable) cases of the novel coronavirus, including 146 cases that are new, and 312 deaths. There are 2,724 active cases in both counties, including 146 current hospitalizations. A total of 27,500 people have recovered throughout the two counties. Other updates about City of Sioux Falls services and operations are available at siouxfalls.org/covid19.

Campus Outlook: As of Monday, December 21, Augustana University has received a total of 343 reports of positive COVID-19 from the campus community since receiving its first positive case report on April 23, 2020. Of those cases, five remain active and 333 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.

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.