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November 20, 2020: MetroSafe Update

Posted Monday, November 30, 2020 | Announcements to Employees

COVID-19 campus exposure update

For the week of Nov. 11–Nov. 17, Metropolitan State has reported 23 COVID-19 cases to the Minnesota State dashboard among individuals associated with our campus. Of these individuals, 2 were infectious while on campus. One note: in last week’s data, one student case who reported themselves positive while on campus was later confirmed by the MDH as negative. The cumulative numbers reflect the removal of that case from the positives. The data reported is shown in the following tables:

Students—Week of 11/11/2020 - 11/17/2020 / Total from 08/24/2020 - 11/17/2020

Case Number/ Total Reports—34 / 132

Negative—5 / 42

Unknown/ Unconfirmed—9 / 9

Positive (Reported to System Dashboard)—20 / 81

Contagious while on campus—2 / 12

Not Contagious or Not on Campus—18 / 69

Recovered (Isolation has ended)—12 / 67

Employees—Week of 11/11/2020 - 11/17/2020 / Total from 08/24/2020 - 11/17/2020

Case Number/ Total Reports—3 / 8

Negative—0 / 0

Unknown/ Unconfirmed—0 / 1

Positive (Reported to System Dashboard)—3 / 7

Contagious while on campus—0 / 0

Not Contagious or Not on Campus—3 / 8

Recovered (Isolation has ended)—0 / 1

As a campus with many students and employees studying and working offsite, if a positive case does not trace to an exposure/contact on campus, the campus may not be notified. Data may not be comprehensive or in real-time​ due to testing and reporting delays and are subject to change. Individuals, particularly those that have been at one of our locations, are also encouraged to report any COVID-19 health updates through our reporting form. As part of the Minnesota State system and in conjunction with the Minnesota Department of Health, Metropolitan State posts a link to the Minnesota State COVID-19 dashboard on the website.

Community Spread

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz issued a new executive order 20-99 on November 18 with a four week pause on social gatherings, new limits on bars and restaurants, celebrations and reception and a slew of other activities in a bid to slow the spread of the deadly coronavirus. The news comes as the state revealed on Wednesday a record high number of daily deaths, 67, connected to the virus.

In accordance with the Governors Executive Order 20-99 and the impact on the health care system, the university is moving to a higher-level high-risk transmission scenario for the next four weeks.

Additional mitigation measures will be implemented on campus to slow the spread of the virus. These measures include reducing and limiting social interaction and moving coursework online as much as possible, limiting or canceling third party events on campus, and using other strategies to reduce opportunity that could lead to further spread of COVID-19. For higher education institutions, libraries and student centers can remain open for student services.

Department of Health expands COVID testing access

The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) is concerned that Minnesotans, particularly those ages 18–35, are driving the state’s community spread of COVID-19 to record highs, many of them with no symptoms and no way of knowing they are positive. MDH believes the possibility of continued spread of the virus as the holidays approach and friends and families begin to gather poses a serious risk and urges all college and university students and those working on site at colleges and universities to get tested prior to the holidays or other opportunities to gather.

All testing will be free and available to anyone who wants to be tested whether they have symptoms or not, and it will not require insurance. You can find options for testing at the MDH link, including nasal swab community testing events, saliva community testing sites, home tests, and a map of testing locations throughout the state.

  • You do not to need to show identification.
  • Tests are at no cost to you, and insurance is not required.
  • While appointments are recommended, walk-ins are always welcome.

These saliva tests are more comfortable than nasal swabs and just as accurate, but they may not be a good option for those with low saliva production, such as very young children or people who have suffered a stroke. Results are emailed to you 24-48 hours after taking the test.

If you have questions about saliva testing, please email or call 800-800-5698.

Other free MDH testing options available:

Where to get a test

The state is opening up several saliva testing sites across Minnesota. Sites most accessible to our campus include: Inver Grove Heights Armory; Stillwater Armory; Roy Wilkins Auditorium, Saint Paul; the Minneapolis Convention Center; and the Starlite Center in Brooklyn Park.

All sites will be closed:

  • Thursday, Nov. 26 and Friday, Nov. 27 for Thanksgiving
  • Thursday, Dec. 24 and Friday, Dec. 25 for Christmas

How You Make a Difference

We want to thank the staff and faculty who have been working to report covid-19 student cases to the university. Every case is reviewed, contacted, and provided resources. Assigned academic advisor(s) and faculty members are also notified of the cases so we can offer broad classroom support. We wanted to share three recent examples with you of how the students have benefited from these reports and are so grateful to the university for reaching out to support them.

  1. One student was experiencing “moderate” covid-19 symptoms, and their home computer broke. Because of the positive test result and active symptoms, the student could not come to campus to use one of the computer labs. We were able to work together to issue a laptop to a non-impacted family member, through a verification process, and the student was able to successfully continue classes and complete a quiz on-time.
  2. One student employee was experiencing “mild, yet persistent” covid-19 symptoms. Because the student could not report for their scheduled shifts on campus, they were very concerned about how to afford groceries for their four children at home. We were able to provide a food distribution as well as a small gift card to the student. A non-impacted family member was able to successfully pick up groceries and deliver it to the family using the gift card.
  3. One student was struggling to keep up with their work in the four classes they were taking due to “moderate” covid-19 symptoms spanning a three-week period. We were able to work with the faculty members to get extensions on all assignments, some additional support in creating a quiet study space at home, and the student was able to catch up by the end of the fifth week and is back on track and doing well in classes (as reported by the faculty).

Without the help of the staff and/or faculty members who reported these student cases through the coronavirus illness reporting form, we may or may not have ever found out about these cases. We definitely would not have been able to provide the level of support needed to get this done so quickly, and it is unknown if the students could have remained successful in their courses and in meeting basic needs for themselves and their families. Please continue to report all known cases so that we may continue to support our students.