Dear St. Catherine Community,
As Minnesota continues to see high rates of COVID-19 transmission, we are also seeing an increase in the number of members of our campus community who are being infected with the virus. Despite the rise in cases, there continues to be little evidence of on-campus transmission and no identified clusters of COVID-19, and the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) is not recommending any changes to our current policies and procedures at this time.
As we enter the final weeks of the semester, it is important that we all continue to do our part to help keep each other healthy and safe, including:
- Getting a booster when eligible (see “Booster Guidance” below for additional information)
- Vaccination continues to be one of our most effective tools in mitigating the spread of COVID-19. Breakthrough cases are occurring, particularly among those who are more than six months from their last vaccine dose, but MDH estimates that they are impacting about 3 percent of fully vaccinated Minnesotans. According to MDH, unvaccinated individuals are four times more likely to become infected with COVID-19 and 17 percent more likely to require hospitalization.
- Wearing your mask on campus as required, and off-campus as recommended
- Staying home when sick
- Getting tested if you have symptoms
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has expanded COVID-19 vaccine booster eligibility to all fully vaccinated adults age 18 and older. Given the high rates of transmission the state is currently seeing, the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) is recommending that all eligible individuals get boosters. This includes:
- Adults who completed the two-dose Pfizer or Moderna vaccination series six (6) or more months ago.
- Adults who received the single dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine two (2) or more months ago.
Anyone who has been fully vaccinated and contracts COVID-19 should still get a booster. Individuals may receive the dose 14 days after symptoms begin or their positive test result AND they are feeling better.
Individuals may choose to receive the same vaccine type or select one of the other available options.
At this time, booster doses are not required to be considered fully vaccinated and are therefore not required as part of the University’s vaccination requirement.
Costco will be on-campus on the following dates to provide both initial vaccination (ages 12 and over) and booster doses of either Moderna or Pfizer to students, faculty, staff, and their families:
- December 15 from 8 to 11 a.m. in the Ballroom
- December 17 from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Ballroom
Booster doses are also available at a variety of off-campus locations, including community vaccination program sites and local pharmacies. The Minnesota COVID-19 Vaccine Connector can help you find and schedule an appointment.
Holiday Guidance Reminders
With hospitals already reaching capacity due to COVID-19, influenza cases are also on the rise. If you haven’t already gotten a flu shot, we encourage you to do so; if you don’t usually get a flu shot, we encourage you to get one this year. Students may schedule a flu shot in the Health and Wellness Clinic, and employees can access the flu vaccine at most pharmacies and health care providers.
Rapid influenza tests will be given to those who are symptomatic and come to the Health and Wellness Clinic for a COVID test. Antiviral medication may be an option for those who test positive, and may be recommended to any asymptomatic roommates to help limit potential spread.
We remain in regular contact with MDH, staying up-to-date with the latest public health recommendations and information related to the new omicron variant, and continue to monitor campus data and trends. Any changes to policies and procedures will be shared if/when they become necessary.
Safely Returning to Campus Committee Co-Chairs
Amy Kelly, MD, MPH, Director, Health and Wellness Clinic
Matt Goodwin, PhD, Associate Provost for Student Affairs
Pat Pratt-Cook, Senior Vice President of Human Resources, Equity and Inclusio