Campus Update — January 18

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

Global Outlook: As of 11:29 a.m. on Monday, January 18, the COVID-19 Dashboard by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at Johns Hopkins University has reported 95,179,173 cases of the novel coronavirus globally and 2,033,641 deaths.

National Outlook: As of 12:16 p.m. on Sunday, January 17, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has reported 23,653,919 positive cases of the novel coronavirus and 394,495 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.
  • The CDC issued an order on January 12, that will require all airline passengers traveling to the U.S., including U.S. citizens and Lawful Permanent Residents (LPRs), to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 viral test or recovery from COVID-19. Effective January 26, all airline passengers to the U.S. ages two years and older must provide either a negative COVID-19 viral test taken within three calendar days of travel or provide a positive test result and documentation from a licensed health care provider or public health official of having recovered from COVID-19 in the 90 days preceding travel. Passengers must also attest, under penalty of law, to having received a negative qualifying test result or to recovery from COVID-19 and medical clearance to travel.

State Outlook: As of 12:43 p.m. on Monday, January 18, the South Dakota Department of Health (SD-DOH) has confirmed 105,659 total (confirmed and probable) positive cases of COVID-19, including the 92 cases that are new, and 1,667 deaths. There are 4,613 active cases in the state, including 203 current hospitalizations. A total of 99,379 people have recovered from COVID-19 in the state.

  • Sanford and Avera Health both say they haven't seen a surge in novel coronavirus cases due to the holidays, and are recieving around 11,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine — either the Moderna of Pfizer — each week. The health systems are currently giving second doses to those who have already received the vaccine and are giving first-round vaccinations to priority populations in 1C, determined by the South Dakota Department of Health, which they expect to take at least another week. Once that group has recieved its first round of vaccinations, they will move on to group ID, which includes around 250,000 people. Dr. David Basel, vice president for clinical quality for Avera Medical Group expects two additional vaccines — AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson — will receive emergency use authorization in February or March. Basel says they continue to monitor other strains of the coronavirus, but the current vaccines and the monoclonal antibody infusion should help protect against/treat them. He says the health systems are racing to give the vaccine to as many people as possible before another variant of the virus gets to the region and people get spring fever. 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 Sunday, January 17, Lincoln and Minnehaha Counties reported a total of 33,630 total (confirmed and probable) cases of the novel coronavirus, including 76 cases that are new, and 366 deaths. There are 1,360 active cases in both counties, including 72 current hospitalizations. A total of 31,904 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, January 18, Augustana University has received a total of 368 reports of positive COVID-19 from the campus community since receiving its first positive case report on April 23, 2020. Of those cases, seven remain active and 358 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.