JMU News

COVID-19 Update - Sept. 16


 

Dear JMU Family,

Update on Cases
The university observed 0 new positive cases of COVID-19 on Sept. 15, with 61 cases becoming considered “recovered,” meaning they were diagnosed as positive more than 10 days ago and are no longer infectious. The number of open quarantine and isolation beds has increased to 66, and the percentage of positive test results continues to fall. More information can be found on the university’s Stop the Spread dashboard. De-densifying campus was a necessary step to protect the community. However, individuals must continue to follow public health guidance by wearing masks, maintaining physical distance and washing hands frequently. That will not change until a vaccine is widely available.

Collective Efforts to Stop the Spread
Since opening the Stop the Spread HELPline this week, we have heard a consistent theme from callers asking how university operations will be different in October as we seek to return to a mix of in-person, hybrid and online classes, as well as how the university will ensure the safest possible environment for our students, faculty, staff and local community. These are fair questions, and we are working diligently on the details now as we build on our existing plans and protocols. We will share more information next week, and we remain committed to announcing plans for the next phase of the fall semester no later than Sept. 25.

In the meantime, one area of special focus for us all must be how our behaviors can help stop the spread. Clearly, most members of our community are faithfully following public health guidance. If the trend of increasing positive behavior continues, the university and community can manage the virus. The daily case count at JMU has dropped by half in the last 10 days, and hundreds of students already are in the category of “presumed recovered” and no longer infectious, a number which is increasing every day. Off-campus activity is more difficult to gauge, but the Virginia Department of Health is reporting a continuing decline in new cases over the last 10 days in our area, and the majority of students living off campus remain. So, behaviors clearly have modulated. If this trend continues, October will be quite different indeed.

COVIDWISE: Contact Tracing Mobile App
In addition to the continued behavioral modifications above, October can be different if all members of the community download Virginia’s free COVIDWISE Exposure Notifications app. The Virginia Department of Health is offering the app, which will inform users if they have been in close contact with a person who has tested positive. The technology was developed by Apple and Google and is designed to track exposure while also protecting privacy. The more of us who install COVIDWISE on our phones, the more effective it will be. Check here for more information, or go directly to the app store to download.

Stay safe, and please remember that the only vaccine currently available for COVID-19 is solidarity.

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Published: Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Last Updated: Wednesday, September 16, 2020

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