Oct. 19, 2021: Long-term pandemic strategy and current benchmarks

Estimated reading time: 2 min

Dear faculty, staff and students,

As we near the mid-mark of the semester, our discussions are turning to our plans for winter break and spring semester, and continuing with a long-term strategy of managing public health for our entire university community.

We want to update on you our strategies for the rest of the academic year. As a baseline, these statistics are key in our response:

  • CSU vaccine rates are very strong, with just under 90% of our students, faculty and staff who are vaccinated. You can follow these stats, which are updated weekly, at https://covid.colostate.edu/fall-2021-student-and-employee-vaccine-stats/. This compares very favorably to the county vaccine rates, which are at about 66%, and Colorado’s vaccine rate at just less than 61%.
  • CSU COVID case rates remain very low. Our public dashboard is automatically updated each day and is available at https://covid.colostate.edu/, toward the bottom of the site.
  • We are currently holding steady at using fewer than 10 isolation or quarantine spaces in university housing each week. These are spaces used by students who live in university housing.
  • The public health office continues to track reports of COVID exposure and symptoms, and the majority of the positive cases we track are a result of individuals letting us know through the COVID Reporter. As a reminder, we want all students, faculty and staff to use the reporter to notify us of any positive test results, possible exposures, or symptoms.
  • To date, since Aug. 16 when students started moving into residence halls, more than 2,500 reports have been submitted through the COVID Reporter, with about a third of those reports about potential close contacts. The CSU Public Health office has referred more than 2,020 nasal swab tests since that date as a result of the COVID Reporter. An additional 155 nasal swab tests have been performed as a result of saliva screenings that indicate an individual may have COVID.
  • The vast majority of the less than 3,050 students, faculty and staff who are required to screen twice a week are doing so (and our compliance team is following up with everyone who is not). Of those who are required to test each week, saliva screening results indicating the presence of COVID and requiring follow up nasal swab testing is very low at 0.51%.

The Pandemic Preparedness Team continues to meet with Larimer County public health officials frequently. In addition, our own public health officials continue to share a database with the county and coordinate isolation, quarantine and care for any members of the university who are exposed or have COVID.

To date, we are unaware of any cases of COVID spreading through an academic contact, such as in the classroom. The main sources of spread within our community continue to be through small gatherings among friends and family.

Finally, we want to mention that last week, Larimer County announced that masks will be required in all public indoor spaces starting tomorrow at noon. This complements the current university mask mandate: masks are required indoors at all times, unless an individual is alone in an office or cubicle, or in their residence hall room, or when actively eating and drinking. Consistent with the county mandate, there are no other exceptions in university buildings, regardless of physical distancing.

With solid contact tracing, high use of the COVID Reporter, a strong vaccine rate, and the fact that our community continues to follow public health requirements such as wearing a mask indoors, CSU is in a strong position heading into colder weather and the last half of the semester.

Thank you to each of you for helping keep us together and in person. We look forward to seeing everyone on campus after Fall Break as we stay healthy while finishing the semester.

Thank you,

The Pandemic Preparedness Team