Just over a year ago on August 31, 2020, Northwest was in dire straits due to COVID-19. The University had 189 positive cases in a single day, and the outlook for the continuation of the semester was bleak. This year, however, with a low number of cases and a high availability of beds on campus, Lt. Amanda Cullin, a member of Crisis Management Team 2, said she was something that many didn’t. could not be in the last 18 months or more. optimistic.
“I think we’re on a positive course,” Cullin said. “I think we are doing as well as you would expect in terms of numbers.”
A continued “positive trajectory” could end the mask mandate as soon as possible. University President John Jasinski’s initial announcement of the mandate by email suggested that it was a temporary measure.
With the holiday weekend ahead, cases are expected to increase locally, Cullin said. Labor Day weekend is the first three-day weekend of the semester, and many students will take the opportunity to go home for the first time. Travel in the past has been linked to an increase in cases. The number of COVID-19 cases hit record highs during the holidays of last year, but nothing quite as big is planned for Labor Day.
Cullin said CMT 2 continues to meet formally once a week and stays in communication throughout the week to look at COVID-19 data “in a holistic way.” The team reviews case rates, vaccination rates, availability of intensive care beds and more regularly.
Mosaic President – Maryville Nate Blackford said Mosaic still faces significant challenges regarding patient care, even with the tiny numbers. There has been an increase in respiratory illness over normal years, Blackford said. However, the hospital has seen an improvement in the availability of beds in recent weeks.
As of August 25 – the most recent date with data available for publication – there were 13 active cases of COVID-19 in Northwest, and as of August 30, bed availability for people in quarantine and isolation was 98.95%. The Nodaway County Health Department reported 17 new positive cases of COVID-19 on August 30, 12 of those cases in the 10-29 age group.
Cullin said she attributes the low case rate to mitigation efforts and community compliance, which she described as “supportive,” and to vaccinated individuals, a crucial demographic group that did not exist during. the dramatic peak of August 2020.
It is difficult to know the exact number of people vaccinated on campus, Cullin said. Mass vaccination clinics held on campus last semester had no records going to the Northwest or the Wellness Center. So even students vaccinated at the Carl and Cheryl Hughes Fieldhouse would not have a file automatically submitted to University Wellness.
The wellness center has tracked the vaccination rates of Northwestern students through lottery registration for incentives, including a $ 10,000 scholarship and various other prizes. At the time of publication, over 32% of field students had submitted immunization records to the wellness center.
Northwest field students are likely vaccinated at a higher rate than the surrounding community as a whole, Blackford said in a previous interview with The Missourian. At the end of August, the percentage of people fully vaccinated in Nodaway County was 45%.
“Ideally, we would hit that target by 70% or more,” Blackford said. “Whether this is realistic or not next month, I’m not sure. “
There has been a slight increase in the number of those who have started the vaccine since Full FDA approval of Pfizer over a week ago, Blackford said. Moderna has completed its data submission for full FDA approval on August 25.
Again, Cullin said that currently Northwest has no plans to implement a vaccine mandate at this time.