October 9, 2020
Dear students, faculty, and staff,
I write to you with our weekly update on the Indicators for Risk Assessment from the COVID-19 Risk Assessment Group.
While last week was one full of change, this week was one of adjustment. The identification of two new COVID cases last week was a stark reminder that disease prevention on campus is a responsibility held by every member of our community, and was a demonstration of both the challenges and successes of our COVID response plan. While we were disappointed with the number of potential exposures that occurred, we are encouraged by the demonstrated effectiveness of our case investigation and contact tracing processes.
Since this time last week, we have identified no new COVID-19 cases at Reed. In our continued investigation activities, several individuals were determined to not have been exposed, and therefore were not considered close contacts; 47 contacts remain on quarantine following potential exposures to the cases identified last week. All of these individuals are in close communication with Student Life, the HCC, or their healthcare provider to ensure the quarantine process is completed appropriately, and to provide any needed medical or situational support.
This focus on disease prevention and response will only continue to grow in importance as we fast approach another influenza season. While COVID prevention measures in place will also help limit the spread of influenza on campus, unlike COVID, we have a safe and readily available vaccination that can prevent the flu. The annual student influenza vaccination clinic is scheduled for next Friday, Saturday, and Sunday (October 16, 17, and 18) in the Student Union. All students will receive an invitation via email to reserve a time through the student health portal. Staff and faculty influenza vaccinations were primarily completed this week; for those who have not yet received their vaccination, spots are still available for next Wednesday, October 14. If you are unable to attend at any of the available times on Wednesday, you may reach out to HR for assistance.
We appreciate the diligence members of our community have taken to address non-compliance with public health behaviors. Reporting these concerning behaviors through the established, appropriate routes allows for follow up to be completed promptly, fairly, and with attention to potential bias; when these situations are instead addressed through speculation, rumors, or public shaming, we create an environment of broken trust and injustice, which is neither supported nor tolerated at Reed. Anyone with concerns is encouraged to share their experience through the Weekly Risk Assessment survey, the COVID-19 Prevention Non-Compliance Form, or by reaching out to discuss confidentiality with a member of the COVID Risk Assessment group at firstname.lastname@example.org.
On September 24, Oregon updated their guidance on gatherings and indoor social get-togethers. We have historically and will continue to closely follow this guidance. As such, the Risk Assessment Group reviewed the Reed protocols for in-person events in light of the state update and, after evaluation, has chosen to increase the size limitations for approved, organized indoor events to 25 people. The limits on unofficial "indoor social get-togethers" and outdoor in-person events remain at 10 and 50 person limits, respectively. More information is available in the Reed COVID-19 Prevention & Response Plan and on the Conference and Event Planning webpage.
Statewide data, published by the Oregon Health Authority (OHA), continues to show a rise in the percent of COVID-19 tests resulting positive. Oregon, as well as Multnomah and Clackamas counties, also report an increase in the rate of COVID-19 cases per 100,000 population, although this increase is less dramatic at the county-level than for the state as a whole.
The percent of cases that have not been traced to a known source continues to be at or above the state's target of 30%, indicating ongoing general community spread.
Since our last update, no new positive cases of COVID-19 have been identified at Reed. The college continues to track the number of COVID-19 cases on this web page.
47 diagnostic tests were conducted this week. This number is much higher than normal this week, driven primarily by scheduled mid-quarantine testing of identified contacts. To date, all of these tests have been negative.
This week, we returned to our standard surveillance testing process, which was shared with the Reed community in an email last Friday. In total, 792 COVID-19 surveillance tests were completed Monday through Thursday, with an additional 392 tests scheduled for completion today.
We recognize that participation in surveillance testing is incomplete, and continue to remind everyone who is asked to participate in testing to do so, as this is a critical part of keeping our campus open and safe. In addition, we are currently working to identify those who have been absent from testing and follow up as appropriate to improve attendance.
If you have questions about signing up for surveillance testing, please reach out to the COVID-19 Risk Assessment Group at email@example.com.
Community Compliance with Preventative Practices
Responses provided in the Weekly Risk Assessment Survey continue to be strong but imperfect. Everyone, regardless of position on campus, is responsible for participating in these important public health behaviors, and for encouraging others to do the same.
This weekly survey continues to be helpful in determining where our strengths and weaknesses are, so we appreciate the 334 of you who completed it this week.
- 99% of respondents report observing people in classrooms wearing face coverings properly last week all or most of the time.
- 98% of respondents report observing people in shared spaces in residence halls wearing face coverings properly last week all or most of the time.
- 94% of respondents report observing people in other shared spaces on campus wearing face coverings properly all or most of the time.
- 96% of respondents report observing people in classrooms following physical/social-distancing guidelines last week all or most of the time.
- 88% of respondents report observing people in shared spaces in residence halls following physical-distancing guidelines last week all or most of the time.
- 81% of respondents report observing people in other shared spaces on campus following physical-distancing guidelines last week all or most of the time.
Visitors: This week, 37% of survey respondents indicated they personally witnessed an unapproved visitor(s) on campus. As a reminder, all individuals must have a Reed ID, mask, and valid "GO" message available any time they access campus; you are allowed and encouraged to ask anyone to display or use these items.
Daily Health Check: This week, 822 community members completed the Daily Health Check on average each day, and 97% were issued a green GO message. Those who received a STOP message were quickly in contact with HR or the HCC.
Campus Capacity: Currently, 94% of rooms in the designed isolation dorm are available.
In this week's survey, 67% of respondents said they had adequate access to cleaning supplies and personal protective equipment (PPE) on campus. This is much lower than we'd like, and want to know how to improve. If you have a specific request related to how we can make cleaning supplies or PPE more readily available, please share this in the weekly Risk Assessment Survey or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you have questions, please don't hesitate to reach out to the COVID-19 Risk Assessment Group at email@example.com.
Madison Riethman, MPH, CPH
COVID-19 Response Coordinator and Health Project Manager
Health & Counseling Services
Reporting on behalf of the COVID-19 Risk Assessment Group
PS: As a reminder, we keep track of all our COVID-19 communications here.