Weekly COVID-19 Testing Clinic Update: March 8, 2021

Published:
March 08, 2021

Dear Grinnellians,

SHAW cares deeply about your health and the health of our community. Please see below for important new information about obtaining a COVID-19 vaccine. We are proud of the commitment our students, faculty, and staff are making every day to prevent transmission. Please continue to practice pandemic precautions.

Testing Clinic Results

Results for the week of March 1, 2021

Number of Unique
Students Tested
With Conclusive Results

Negative

Positive

Percent Positive

Self-Reported
Positive Results
From Other Test Sites*

604

602

2

0.33%

0

Number of Unique
Faculty/Staff Tested
With Conclusive Results

Negative

Positive

Percent Positive

Self-Reported
Positive Results
From Other Test Sites*

344

341

3

0.87%

0

Total for 2021 (since January 4, 2021)

Number of Unique
Students Tested
With Conclusive Results

Negative

Positive

Percent Positive

Self-Reported
Positive Results
From Other Test Sites*

676

661

15

2.22%

1

Number of Unique
Faculty/Staff Tested
With Conclusive Results

Negative

Positive

Percent Positive

Self-Reported
Positive Results
From Other Test Sites*

457

442

15

3.28%

2

*The State’s testing program does not report results to the College. The number in this column reflects reports by students, faculty or staff to SHAW and is not included in the positivity rate of the on-campus testing clinic.

For the week of March 1, 2021, 604 unique students were tested with 602 being negative and 2 positive resulting in a 0.33% positivity rate. A total of 344 faculty and staff were tested with 341 being negative and 3 being positive resulting in a 0.87% positivity rate. Testing occurred on Monday through Wednesday.

For 2021, 676 unique students have been tested; 661 were negative and 15 were positive, yielding a 2.22% positivity rate. A total of 457 unique faculty and staff were tested; 442 were negative and 15 were positive, resulting in a 3.28% positivity rate.

Testing Clinic Changes (beginning Monday, March 8, 2021)

What is Changing:

We will ask that you enter through the south door of the natatorium. This is the door that you previously exited through after testing.

We will be switching from the saliva tests to the anterior nasal swabs. This is the shallow nasal swab and is not the painful posterior nasal swab.

What is Staying the Same:

This is an RT-PCR test

Results are received within 24-48 hours post collection.

You can access these results through your portal. Anyone with a positive or inconclusive test result, will be contacted by a member from SHAW to discuss next steps.

If you are symptomatic or have been exposed, you will continue to be tested in the outside locations. There are two locations. One is outside the south entrance to the Natatorium (walk up) and the second is at the west parking lot of the Natatorium and is a drive up.

Latest Information on Vaccine Eligibility

Beginning today, Mar. 8, Iowa counties that have completed Phase 1B, Tier 1, can begin serving those 64 years old and under with specific pre-existing medical conditions along with those who are 65 years of age and older. Each county will have to determine priotization of those condition; the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) will not provide additional direction. IDPH also states that individual attestation to having a medical condition is sufficient, additional paperwork/proof is not required. Listed conditions can be found online.

How to Make Appointments to Get the Vaccine

You can use the Iowa COVID-19 Vaccine Spotter site to quickly find pharmacies that offer appointments for the vaccine. Keep in mind that since the distribution of the vaccine is a federal program, you can get your vaccine in any Iowa county or other states. I’ve had people share with me that checking pharmacies near the beginning of the week or in the middle of the day on Wednesdays may increase your chance of scheduling an appointment for the vaccine since that is when many pharmacies get their weekly allotments. In addition to administering vaccines at their pharmacies, Hy-Vee has been sponsoring vaccine events in Iowa and surrounding states. Click on the following to sign up online for an appointment at a HyVee

New Guidelines for Fully Vaccinated People

New CDC Guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) were released today to provide public health recommendations for those who are fully vaccinated. The CDC defines people who are fully vaccinated as those who are two weeks past their second dose of the Moderna and Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines or two weeks past a single dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

If you are a student and have received the vaccine, because you are living in a congregate setting, we ask that you maintain pandemic precautions. The following recommendations apply to faculty and staff only at this time:

Fully vaccinated people can:

  • Visit with other fully vaccinated people indoors without wearing masks or physical distancing
  • Visit with unvaccinated people from a single household who are at low risk for severe COVID-19 disease indoors without wearing masks or physical distancing
  • Refrain from quarantine and testing following a known exposure if asymptomatic

For now, fully vaccinated people should continue to:

  • Take precautions in public like wearing a well-fitted mask and physical distancing
  • Wear masks, practice physical distancing, and adhere to other prevention measures when visiting with unvaccinated people who are at increased risk for severe COVID-19 disease or who have an unvaccinated household member who is at increased risk for severe COVID-19 disease
  • Wear masks, maintain physical distance, and practice other prevention measures when visiting with unvaccinated people from multiple households
  • Avoid medium- and large-sized in-person gatherings
  • Get tested if experiencing COVID-19 symptoms
  • Follow guidance issued by individual employers
  • Follow CDC and health department travel requirements and recommendations

COVID-19 Variant Update

The Center for Disease Control has confirmed that three different variants of COVID-19 have been found in the United States. These strains include B.1.1.7, B.1.351 and P.1 which can spread more easily than the original strain of COVID-19. As of March 7, Iowa has 20 confirmed cases of the B.1.1.7 variant. As of yet, there have not been any confirmed cases of B.1.351 and P.1. It is imperative that we all continue to follow the Grinnell College guidelines to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and its variants:

  • practice frequent hand washing
  • maintain physical distancing
  • wear a mask, and goggles or a shield while on campus
  • avoid meeting indoors
  • stay home if you are sick (If you are a staff member, we have put in place several safety nets should you need to miss work, including additional sick leave. Please contact HR if you are ill to explore options to keep you and your household safe.)

A Message From SHAW

The SHAW Testing Clinic team would like to ask all those using the Testing Clinic to please be conscious of the safety of the Testing Team. Before going to your appointment, please answer the following:

  • Do you have any flu like symptoms or are you feeling ill?
  • Have you been exposed to a person who has tested positive for COVID-19? If you have any questions regarding possible exposure, please call SHAW at 641-269-3230.

If you answer yes to either of these questions:

  • Please do not enter the testing clinic and increase exposure risk to all inside.
  • Call SHAW at 641-269-3230 to set up an outside appointment.

Concerned About Those Who Increase Risk Due to Non-Compliance?

Most members of our community do a terrific job of following public health guidelines, but occasionally, some may put the community at risk due to non-compliance. As a reminder, Grinnell College urges you to utilize EthicsPoint to anonymously report observed PPE or other public health policy non-compliance issues. This information will help us understand how to better support our campus community with ongoing education and outreach opportunities. Here is the link:

To Your Health,

Terry

Terry W. Mason, Ph.D.
Dean for Health and Wellness

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