Campus Update — March 15

Augustana University is closely monitoring the evolving COVID-19 situation. Here are the latest things to know:

Global Outlook

National Outlook

  • As of 1:40 p.m. on Monday, March 15, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has reported 29,269,590 positive cases of the novel coronavirus and 532,355 deaths.
  • According to the CDC, 135,847,835 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been delivered, and 109,081,860 have been administered throughout the U.S. The CDC reports that as of March 15, 71,054,445 people in the U.S. have received one or more doses of the COVID-19 vaccine (21.4 perecent), and 38,335,432 people are fully vaccinated (11.5 percent).
  • Effective March 8, the CDC issued its first set of guidelines on how fully vaccinated people can safely visit with others. 
  • Effective January 26, the CDC issued an order requiring all airline passengers to the U.S. ages two years and older must provide either a negative COVID-19 viral test taken within three calendar days of travel or provide a positive test result and documentation from a licensed health care provider or public health official of having recovered from COVID-19 in the 90 days preceding travel. Passengers must also attest, under penalty of law, to having received a negative qualifying test result or to recovery from COVID-19 and medical clearance to travel. 
  • On Wednesday, December 2, the CDC provided new shortened quarantine guidance as an acceptable alternative to the quarantine period of 14 days.

State Outlook

  • As of 9:14 a.m. on Monday, March 15, the South Dakota Department of Health (SD-DOH) has confirmed 114,649 total (confirmed and probable) positive cases of COVID-19, including the 26 cases that are new (confirmed and probable), and 1,912 deaths. There are 2,106 active cases in the state, including 64 current hospitalizations. A total of 110,631 people have recovered from COVID-19 in the state.
  • According to the SD-DOH, 307,059 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered as of Monday, March 15. Of the vaccinations administered in the state, the SD-DOH reports that 34.13 percent of the population in South Dakota has had at least one dose of the vaccine, and 19.62 percent has completed the series of vaccines.
  • As of Monday, March 15, 150,354 doses of the Moderna, 153,360 doses of the Pfizer and 3,345 doses of the Johnson & Johnson Janssen vaccine have been administered in the state.
  • South Dakota is vaccinating every priority group in Phase 1D; those who are 65 years and over (the age will be lowered in five year increments), high risk patients (dialysis, post-transplant, active cancer), high risk residents in congregate settings, residents in licensed independent living facilities and group homes, those with one or more underlying medical conditions under the age of 65, teachers and other school/college staff, as well as funeral service workers. Read more about "Vaccine Priority Groups" in the state.
  • As of March 4, under the Federal Retail Pharmacy (FRP) Program, the federal government began supplying nearly 60 retail locations in South Dakota with a limited amount of the COVID-19 vaccine.
  • Read more about the vaccine on the SD-DOH website and the CDC website.

City Outlook

  • The city has a Sioux Falls COVID-19 Dashboard that provides information and resources about the coronavirus testing, case data and the response in Lincoln and Minnehaha Counties. As of 12:35 p.m. on Monday, March 15, Lincoln and Minnehaha Counties reported a total of 36,606 total (confirmed and probable) cases of the novel coronavirus, including 16 cases that are new, and 414 deaths. There are 731 active cases in both counties, including 19 current hospitalizations. A total of 35,461 people have recovered throughout the two counties.
  • On Tuesday, March 9, in a second reading, the Sioux Falls City Council voted on whether to extend an ordinace (passed on November 17, 2020) that requires a face covering in an indoor retail businesses and city-owned facilities where a 6-foot social distancing cannot be achieved, which was set to expire on March 13. If passed, the extended mandate would have expired when the SD-DOH began vaccinating priority groups in Phase 1E. In a 5-4 vote, the council voted not to extend the ordinance.
  • Other updates about City of Sioux Falls services and operations are available at siouxfalls.org/covid19.

Campus Outlook

  • As of Monday, March 15, Augustana University has received a total of 388 reports of positive COVID-19 from the campus community since receiving its first positive case report on April 23, 2020. Of those cases, four remain active and 384 people have recovered.
  • Augustana students, faculty and staff who receive a positive COVID-19 test are asked to remain home until they have fully recovered and notify the COVID-19 Response Team at goodhealth@augie.edu. The AU community is also asked to report dates of their COVID-19 vaccinations at my.augie.edu (login required). By reporting vaccinations, Augustana will be better able to monitor and evaluate COVID-19 protocols in place, as well as identify the employees and students who are eligible for upcoming South Dakota vaccination groups. Despite vaccinations, everyone on campus must continue to follow all Viking Flex Plan protocols, including the mask policy.
  • For daily updates on positive COVID-19 cases reported to AU, please visit the my.augie.edu portal.
  • A more comprehensive look at COVID-19 cases within K-12 schools, as well as colleges, universities and technical schools in South Dakota can be found on the SD-DOH website, updated weekly on Mondays.

As we continue to implement the Viking Flex Plan and welcome students and staff on campus, we fully anticipate receiving reports of positive cases. In order to deal with the anticipated increase of positive cases reported and to preserve the confidentiality and privacy of all involved — Augustana will notify the entire campus community of individual positive COVID-19 cases only when a particular case or set of cases poses a greater risk to the community that cannot be identified through contact tracing. Those in our campus community who are known to have met the exposure criteria determined by the CDC will be notified. For a better understanding, please view COVID-19 Basics #ForAU.

If and when an individual reports testing positive for COVID-19, we will continue to utilize contact tracing, identifying and contacting anyone who may have been in contact with the individual. Augustana’s Employee Health Educator, Campus Clinic staff and others will stay in touch with these individuals to offer any support they may need. More resources regarding health and safety can be found at augie.edu/VikingFlex or within our Viking Flex Plan Frequently Asked Questions.