Keep up healthy habits: COVID-19 cases continue to decline

Dear campus community,

Your efforts are making a difference. By continuing to adhere to our multilayered safety strategy, we are seeing positive signs in our efforts to combat the spread of COVID-19. 

Today our COVID-19 positivity rate is 1.2%, having declined steadily since mid-January. This is well below local and state statistics. You can find additional stats on our COVID-19 dashboard webpage.

This positive trend is related to our successful efforts to increase the number of community members who are vaccinated as well as our testing, mask-wearing and other protocols.  

Vital statistics to date:

•Overall, 86.4% of students, faculty and staff have completed primary vaccination, which is one or two doses depending on the vaccine administered, and are 14 days past their final dose. 

•Overall, 65.2% of students, faculty and staff are up to date on their COVID-19 vaccination status. This represents those who have received their booster dose and individuals who have completed their primary vaccination regimen and now await booster eligibility. 

The University’s definition of being fully vaccinated now includes getting boosted when eligible. We experienced a robust response to this revision in protocol. Many booster-eligible individuals uploaded documentation of their booster to Sindecuse Health Center’s secure patient portal for verification. Others are poised to do so when it's time for this additional dose of protection. Thank you! 

Remember: You become eligible for the booster five months after completing your primary vaccine series if originally immunized with the Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna vaccines and two months after receiving the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. I also appreciate those staying current with mandatory weekly COVID-19 testing.

Each one of us is responsible for following our campus community’s multilayered safety strategy designed to protect ourselves and also safeguard those around us. We continue to encourage you to get up to date on your vaccinations. And if you experience COVID-19 symptoms, regardless of vaccination status, stay home to avoid spread and schedule a telehealth appointment with Sindecuse for an evaluation and further instructions. 

Wear your mask indoors where required on campus. A limited supply of either KN95 or N95 masks is available at the Bernhard Center reception desk in the main lobby as well as in residence hall dining centers. 

Off campus, free KN95 masks are also available at several locations, thanks to the Kalamazoo County Health & Community Services Department. The county recommends first calling the designated distribution locales listed to check availability.

While at present the pandemic still remains with us, requiring constant vigilance to all elements of our multilayered safety strategy, there is increasing reason for optimism that we may be seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. I look forward to future campuswide conversations about what our new normal looks like when COVID-19 reaches endemic status. 

Thank you, 

Edward Montgomery