Weekly COVID-19 Testing Clinic Update: Nov. 2

November 02, 2020

Dear Grinnellians,

Welcome to the Weekly Testing Clinic Update. SHAW cares deeply about your health and the health of our community. To this end, I write each week to provide the latest update of our COVID-19 testing clinic and health information that we hope will help all of us mitigate the spread of the coronavirus. Thank you for doing your part in keeping our community safe!

Testing Clinic Results for the Week of Oct. 26 - 39, 2020

Number of Unique
Students Tested
With Conclusive Results
Negative Positive Percent Positive Self-Reported
Positive Results
From Other Test
Sites*
279 278 1 0.36% 0

 

Number of Unique
Faculty/Staff Tested
with Conclusive Results
Negative Positive Percent Positive Self-Reported
Positive Results
From Other Test
Sites*
243 239 4 1.65% 0

Total Since Testing Began (Aug. 24, 2020)

Number of Unique
Students Tested
with Conclusive Results
Negative Positive Percent Positive Self-Reported
Positive Results
From Other Test
Sites*
377 375 2 0.53% 1

 

Number of Unique
Faculty/Staff Tested
with Conclusive Results
Negative Positive Percent Positive Self-Reported
Positive Results
From Other Test
Sites*
277 267 10 3.61% 3

*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 Oct. 26, 2020, 279 unique students were tested with 278 being negative and 1 positive resulting in a 0.36% positivity rate. A total of 243 faculty and staff were tested with 239 being negative and 4 positive resulting in a 1.65% positivity rate. For Fall 2, testing occurs on Monday through Wednesday each week.

Since the inception of the testing clinic on Aug. 24, 377 unique students have been tested; 375 were negative and 2 were positive, yielding a 0.53% positivity rate. A total of 277 unique faculty and staff were tested; 267 were negative and 10 were positive, resulting in a 3.61% positivity rate.

TestIowa Higher Education Test Site Information

Those who are not part of the Grinnell College COVID-19 testing pool can get tested at the TestIowa Higher Education test site in Grinnell.

Thinking about Holiday Travel

As November arrives, many of us are looking ahead to what Thanksgiving, other seasonal holidays, and winter break may look like. If you haven’t already, now is the time to reconsider what your plans may be for 2020. According to a White House coronavirus task force report shared with Governor Reynolds last week, “We are finding that as the weather cools, friends and families are moving social gatherings indoors, significantly increasing spread [in Iowa] . . . people must remember that seemingly uninfected family members and friends may be infected but asymptomatic.”

  • Have the conversations with friends and family about expectations—the more precautions we take this year, the more we can create conditions that keep our loved ones at a lower risk of infection.
  • Postponing this year’s gatherings and/or shifting them to be online are the safest options. College students, you may be the best suited in your family to help older relatives learn how to use video chat. These changes aren’t forever—they are for this COVID year.
  • Explore other options as temporary new traditions. Instead of gathering around the table, can you meet up for an outdoor stroll instead? If there is a favorite dish, can you cook at home and drop off for others to enjoy? (Even better, coordinate a potluck situation so everyone makes one dish and drops them off to others?)
  • If you are going to plan for a get-together, keep the size of the gathering as small as possible. Our goal is to minimize the number of new close contacts (people with whom you are within six feet for fifteen minutes or more cumulative for a 24-hour period). Being indoors and eating without wearing a mask amplify risks.
  • Remember that while COVID testing is a critical population-level containment tool for the College, it only provides a snapshot of your current status. Tests do have false negatives, and testing in the first 4–5 days after exposure may miss an infection that hasn’t yet developed enough of a viral load to trigger a positive result. Any exposures after being tested also introduce further risk. Do not rely on a negative test result to be “safe” to share space with new contacts without full precautions.

In the coming weeks, we’ll share more about considerations you should take before, during, and after any potential travel. We welcome both ideas and questions about the holidays; we’re all in this together.

Do you have a COVID-19-related topic you’d like to see addressed in a future newsletter? Please let us know.

Sources and opportunities to learn more:

Leys, Tony. White House experts warn: Small indoor gatherings of Iowans are spreading coronavirus. Des Moines Register, 28 October 2020

NPR story: Pandemic 'Halftime': U.S. Looks At Lessons Learned As Fall & Holidays Near, 15 October 2020.

Michael Osterholm, Director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy, University of Minnesota, podcast episode #28, 21 October 2020.

Grinnell Health Heroes

Each week, we will recognize those students, faculty, and staff who exemplify outstanding health-related behaviors that help mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in our campus community. The following person is honored as this week’s Grinnell Health Hero:

Leah Reuber

Leah Reuber has been nominated for being “instrumental in coordinating the hugely complex system of weekly testing for on-campus students, faculty, and staff.” She performs “organizational wizardry” and maintains a “can-do” attitude. Leah’s nominator was impressed with how “she’s balanced this responsibility alongside her regular work as a leader on the Residence Life team” and “maintains a refreshing sense of humor while managing a host of competing demands.” Sarah Moschenross commented, “Your attention to detail and determination have ensured our ability to test our community efficiently! Thanks for your willingness to jump right in and bring new life to this work!”

Leah loves to answer questions and her refreshing sense of humor shines through as she shares about herself. She has never eaten a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and considers this to be an abomination to the one of best food categories of “sandwich.” Her favorite quote these days is “you’re muted.” Leah notes that as a proud homebody and introvert, her social life suffered very few casualties due to COVID. She is pictured with her cat Juno, who was found alone in a cemetery on Halloween last year. Not pictured is her other cat Wilma Jean.

Congratulations for being a true Grinnell Health Hero!

How to Nominate Grinnell Health Heroes

To nominate someone to be a Grinnell Health Hero, complete the Health Hero survey.

For more updates from SHAW, follow us on Instagram @grinnellcollegeshaw.

To Your Health,

Terry

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

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