Rise in COVID-19 Cases at SSU

Wednesday, September 1, 2021, 4:45pm

TO: Campus community
FR: Missy Brunetta, Director for Emergency Services and Associate Risk Manager

I am writing today to provide some context for why the COVID Monitoring Team has recently issued more campus-wide notifications of COVID-19 exposures.

Throughout the pandemic, Sonoma State University has been successful in maintaining low COVID-19 infection rates. With the start of the semester on August 18, we welcomed more than 600 employees and more than 5,000 students back to campus. We increased our on-campus presence by roughly eightfold, and we are experiencing a corresponding increase in the volume of COVID-19 cases but not a spike in the rate of infection.

As illustrated on the SSU COVID Dashboard, the overall number of COVID-19 infections both on and off campus has remained low. When we factor in the number of people who are now on campus, the rate of infection has decreased. In Fall 2020 and Spring 2021 the average rate of infection on campus was 4.0 per 1000 people, while the rate of  infection for Fall 2021 thus far is averaging 2.5 per 1000 people.

We attribute our success in reducing the risk of COVID-19 exposure on campus to our community’s commitment to following effective public health and safety measures. The low infection rate on campus is due, in large part, to the number of students, faculty, and staff who have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, as required by the CSU system. Our Seawolf community continues to follow guidelines that mandate wearing face masks inside all campus buildings, which is proven to be effective in preventing the circulation of the coronavirus. And we have worked collectively to keep our hands sanitized and our campus facilities clean. Through our combined efforts, we are each helping to keep our campus community safe. 

Other factors contributing to the low campus rates of infection are robust exposure reporting and daily wellness screenings. Campus community members must complete a wellness screening each day that they come to campus, are required to report and stay home if experiencing any symptoms consistent with COVID-19 or if exposed to anyone who is COVID positive. Requirements for reporting are applicable for all on-ground and remote students and employees regardless of schedule and vaccination status.

When is campus notified of a COVID exposure

Not all positive COVID-19 cases warrant a campus notification. We will always issue a campus-wide notification of presumed or confirmed cases of exposure involving campus facilities. Campus-wide notifications will not be issued for exposures that occur off campus or in private residences, including those that occur solely in the residence halls. In these instances, our COVID Monitoring Team will contact the people who may have been exposed directly.

COVID-19 Testing Center

Having a COVID-19 testing center on campus makes it convenient for campus community members to get tested quickly. Please check the COVID-19 information website for up-to-date dates and times. Appointments are recommended but not necessary, but pre-registration is required. Use this link to access the registration page: avellinocov2.com/patient/register. You will need your student or employee ID number to access this service. 

If you have any questions about any information included in this email, please contact the COVID Monitoring Team at covid.monitoring@sonoma.edu.

Stay safe and well.