Fri Aug 28th, 2020
As of Friday, Aug. 21, Fort Lewis College has directed seven individuals to isolate after testing for COVID-19. Four tested positive for COVID-19 and three had inconclusive results and are being retested and currently following isolation protocols.
About 1,700 tests were administered this week to students and employees. As of Friday morning, 827 have been processed by COVIDCheck Colorado, the group partnering with FLC for COVID-19 testing throughout the fall semester. Residents moving in this week to on-campus housing were required to test; all other students and employees were highly encouraged to test. Residents and anyone helping them move into the residence halls were screened for symptoms during check-in, and no one with symptoms was allowed to enter the FLC residential community. The positive cases have been attributed to asymptomatic carriers.
“We knew we would see positive cases, considering the number of people we would be testing this week,” said Jeff Dupont, associate vice president of Student Affairs. “We were adequately prepared to isolate anyone who tested positive and support them through our Case Management team.”
FLC administration is concerned with the presence of COVID-19 at the start of the semester, but considering the quick isolation of affected individuals and with the support of local public health, in-person classes will proceed as scheduled on Monday, Aug. 24.
Fort Lewis College will be working closely with San Juan Basin Public Health to contact trace all positive cases. SJBPH is not considering these cases to be an outbreak. FLC and SJBPH officials are closely monitoring the situation and quarantining any close contacts to prevent local spread.
“COVID-19 is very much still circulating in our community, including in people with no symptoms,” said Liane Jollon, executive director of SJBPH. “These results confirm how important widespread testing is to controlling the spread of the virus. We strongly encourage FLC students who live off-campus to take advantage of the testing opportunity that FLC is providing to further control the spread of COVID-19.”
The COVID positive individuals are isolated from community engagement on campus and are in daily communication with an FLC case manager and Health Center staff.
“Continuing to test will help us understand the prevalence of COVID-19 in our community so we can adapt our operations accordingly,” President Tom Stritikus said. “Now that we know COVID-19 is here, it’s absolutely critical that we manage and support these cases properly and that our community doesn’t let up on our virus mitigation practices.”
To prevent the spread of COVID-19, FLC and SJBPH are strongly encouraging students and employees wear masks at all times when indoors or in centralized areas of campus, practice frequent handwashing, maintain physical distance of at least six feet, and monitor for symptoms daily via the Fort Lewis App.
Testing will remain available for any member of the FLC community throughout the fall semester. FLC community members can visit www.fortlewis.edu/covid19testing to register for a test. Results are available within 48-72 hours and support will be available for all positive cases.
To track the number of COVID-19 cases within the FLC community, visit www.fortlewis.edu/coronavirus. The number of tests administered, number of positive cases, and number of recovered cases are available in a data dashboard.