Weekly COVID-19 Testing Clinic Update: Oct. 26

October 26, 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!

Results for the Week of Oct. 19 - 23, 2020

Number of Unique
Students Tested
With Conclusive Results
Negative Positive Percent Positive Self-Reported
Positive Results
From Other Test
Sites*
291 291 0 0% 0

 

Number of Unique
Faculty/Staff Tested
with Conclusive Results
Negative Positive Percent Positive Self-Reported
Positive Results
From Other Test
Sites*
224 223 1 0.45% 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*
348 347 1 0.29% 1

 

Number of Unique
Faculty/Staff Tested
with Conclusive Results
Negative Positive Percent Positive Self-Reported
Positive Results
From Other Test
Sites*
264 258 6 2.27% 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. 19, 2020, 291 unique students were tested with 291 being negative and 0 positive resulting in a 0% positivity rate. A total of 224 faculty and staff were tested with 223 being negative and 1 positive resulting in a 0.45% positivity rate. There was no testing on Oct. 21-23 due to Fall break.

Since the inception of the testing clinic on Aug. 24, 348 unique students have been tested; 347 were negative and 1 was positive, yielding a 0.29% positivity rate. A total of 264 unique faculty and staff were tested; 258 were negative and 6 were positive, resulting in a 2.27% 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.  Here’s the link for more information:

https://www.grinnell.edu/news/covid-19-testiowa-higher-education-test-site-launch-grinnell-oct-8

How much should I worry about washing my groceries?

One challenge of living in a pandemic brought on by a novel virus is that we are constantly gathering new information, especially about transmission. When we are living science in real time, we see changes in guidance as we integrate new evidence. It doesn’t necessarily mean that earlier guidance was “wrong”— just that it was made with the best evidence available at the time. 

In the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, many of us were carefully washing mail, cardboard boxes, and all of our groceries, as there was evidence that the coronavirus could persist on surfaces for 24-72 hours. We have since learned that the primary transmission route of the virus is through shared air, droplets, and aerosols, and surfaces play less of a role in COVID-19 transmission than we originally thought, because there is seldom sufficient viral load on a surface to infect someone.

COVID-19 has inspired us to think about some everyday prevention strategies we should have been addressing all along. We should continue to regularly and thoroughly wash our hands and disinfect shared surfaces. While it may help reduce COVID-19 transmission, we know it will reduce transmission of both influenza and the common cold, which are more easily spread through hand to face transmission. 

What does this mean for groceries?

  • While sanitizing groceries is not a critical strategy for preventing COVID, we should still be paying attention. People tend to be careful when handling meat, but are often less careful with fruits and vegetables. Be aware that, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “germs on fresh produce cause a large percentage of U.S. foodborne illnesses” as they may “contain harmful germs that can make you and your family sick, such as Salmonella, E. coli, and Listeria.” These are the diseases that cause the symptoms which we often think of as food poisoning.

Prevention strategies:

  • Clean fruits and vegetables before eating, cutting, or cooking.
    • Wash or scrub fruits and vegetables under running water—even if you do not plan to eat the peel. Germs on the peeling or skin can get inside fruits and vegetables when you cut them.
    • Washing fruits and vegetables with soap, detergent, or commercial produce wash is not recommended. Do not use bleach or other disinfecting products on food.
    • Cut away any damaged or bruised areas before preparing or eating.
    • Dry fruit or vegetables with a clean paper towel.
  • Keep fruits and vegetables separate from raw foods that come from animals, such as meat, poultry, and seafood.
  • Refrigerate fruits and vegetables within 2 hours after you cut, peel, or cook them (or 1 hour if the outside temperature is 90° or warmer). Chill them at 40°F or colder in a clean container.

While reducing the transmission of COVID-19 remains a top priority, we can use this reminder of hygiene strategies to prevent other illnesses as well. This will help reduce the burden on our local health care providers and keep us healthy in our everyday lives!

More on CDC fruit and veggie safety: https://www.cdc.gov/foodsafety/communication/steps-healthy-fruits-veggies.html

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:

Grinnell College Students Who Utilize the COVID Testing Clinic

Each week, rain or snow or sun, the Grinnell College students enrolled in the on-campus testing clinic have shown up to be tested. This group has consistently committed to their weekly COVID-19 test. Once a week they brave the elements and take time out of their day to participate in the testing clinic. They recognize the importance of the clinic and even when the occasional appointment is missed, work to get it rescheduled. These students are aware of how quickly community spread happens and the seriousness of this illness, and the community health precautions they are taking every day are keeping the positive case count very low, which benefits the health of all. Every single week, armed with a face mask and shield, these heroes are doing their part.

President Harris acknowledged the great efforts of these students when she stated, “As predicted, infection rates are growing nationally, regionally, and locally but our campus community testing program is showing that students are doing an amazing job of keeping themselves, each other, and our community healthy and safe. I extend my gratitude to all students, both at Grinnell and in your many locations, for everything you are doing to contribute to community wellness — you are making a needed and meaningful difference.”

Congratulations to all for being true Grinnell Health Heroes!

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

We use cookies to enable essential services and functionality on our site, enhance your user experience, provide a better service through personalized content, collect data on how visitors interact with our site, and enable advertising services.

To accept the use of cookies and continue on to the site, click "I Agree." For more information about our use of cookies and to opt-out of cookies at any time, please refer to our website Privacy Policy.