Weekly COVID-19 Testing Clinic Update: Sept. 14

September 15, 2020

Results for the week of Sept. 7-11, 2020

Number Received Negative Positive Percent Positive Self-Reported
Positive Results
From Other Test
453 453 0 0% 0

Total since testing began (Aug. 24, 2020)

Number Received Negative Positive Percent Positive Self-Reported
Positive Results
From Other Test
1,299 1,297 2 0.15% 1

*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.

For the week of Sept. 7, 2020, 453 students, faculty, and staff were tested. Testing does not occur on Fridays and did not occur on Monday, Sept. 7 due to the Labor Day holiday. The number of tests administered the week of Sept. 7 to Sept. 11 was from three days of testing. Of the 453 tests, all 453 were negative and none were positive, resulting in a 0% positivity rate.

Since the inception of the testing clinic on Aug. 24, 1,299 tests have been given; 1,297 were negative and 2 were positive, yielding a 0.15% positivity rate.

Why is Grinnell using the phrase “physical distancing” instead of “social distancing”?

Consistent throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been public health messaging about the need to distance from other people to help prevent the spread of disease. You may have noticed that both the popular media and the CDC often use the phrase “social distancing,” while Grinnell uses the phrase “physical distancing.”

Grinnell has chosen “physical distancing” for two key reasons:

  • It’s a better descriptor for the action you want to keep in mind—physical separation (of at least six feet) from other people.
  • The term “social distancing” cues the opposite of how we want to live in community—our goal is to explore new opportunities to create social closeness with other Grinnellians.

Distancing remains one of the most important prevention strategies within your control, and staying aware of space, particularly when spending time with friends and family with whom you are comfortable, is key. Remember that a contact tracer’s guideline for exposure to a confirmed case is with whom you were within six feet for 15 minutes or more — your goal is to minimize that number of people. 

Good to note that six feet is a minimum distance and that, when possible, more distance is likely better. We’ll learn more as the study of COVID-19 transmission continues. Additionally, take advantage of the beautiful fall weather typical of Iowa and connect with folks outside whenever possible—with the more rapid diffusion of air outdoors, being outside is an effective risk reduction strategy.

Interested in more information on the concept and effectiveness of physical distancing? Dr. Michael Osterholm of University of Minnesota’s Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy (CIDRAP) discusses it on his weekly podcast (Episode 8: “Raring to Reopen”, May 12, 2020. Subsequent episodes continue to emphasize the importance of distancing as a primary prevention strategy.)  More information on distancing considerations can be found at this CDC site

Please remember to remain physically distant, yet mindfully close.

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 are honored as this week’s Grinnell Health Heroes:

ITS – Evan Otto, Afan Pasalic, and Tim Barwegen

ITS played a major role in providing the technology necessary to run the testing clinic. It’s so important that all of the test samples are tracked and linked to the person giving the sample so there are no mistakes regarding who the test result belongs to. This process is very complicated and requires coordination between the testing clinic; Point and Click, which is the electronic health record system used by SHAW; Corteva, which is the company that provides the test kit; and the Iowa Department of Public Health, which receives the results of testing as required by law. Evan, Afan, and Tim played crucial roles in the process. Without the efforts of ITS, the testing clinic would not have been operational.

Angela Voos had this to say about the ITS team, “My deepest gratitude to you for swooping in gently, expertly, and effectively. Little did you know that your work would make it possible for us to prevent the spread of a pandemic. Thank you for forging ahead, for making connections with PNC, IDPH, Corteva, Tempus — for making it possible to launch this ship.” She went on to say, “Thank you for always bringing a positive attitude and your best work to the table. We are fortunate to have your help in these demanding times.”

Thanks Evan, Afan, and Tim for being such terrific health heroes!

Grinnell Dining

Under the outstanding leadership of Jeanette Moser, the Dining staff have been there throughout the pandemic and derecho providing sustenance for our students. Dining has done an amazing job feeding our students safely while providing some normalcy during this very difficult time. And now, Dining is playing a very important role in providing food for students in isolation and quarantine. Jeanette says of her team, “I am hard pressed to mention any few names as our entire team is divided up into three teams and everyone plays such an important role and has been so willing to do whatever it takes when on duty. When we have had to call staff in when they have been on call, every one of them were responsive. We have such a great team!” 

President Harris stated, “It is so wonderful to celebrate you and your incredible teamyou all are at the vibrant core of our community’s well-being, and we all so deeply appreciate you.” Angela Voos added, “We are so appreciative!!! Jeanette you and your staff have approached this whole whirlwind of pandemic demands with expertise, good cheer, and a truly can-do attitude. You have modeled for all of us what a team can do when it puts its heart and mind to it. THANK YOU!!!”

Thank you, Jeanette and all of Grinnell Dining, for being wonderful 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

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