September 17 Health Update: Current Situation

We are committed to the health and safety of our community, and to providing up-to-date information about COVID-19’s impact on our campus. This week, COVID-19 cases have been identified within the St. Kate’s community, with some of those impacted living on campus. The following message details the proactive and conservative approach we are taking to mitigating any further spread.

Current Situation

In the past week, the University has had 11 new positive COVID-19 tests — 10 students and one employee. The exposure for five of the students can be traced back to two separate, student-initiated social interactions, and three of these cases have been from residents of one residence hall floor.

University Response

Out of an abundance of caution and after consultation with the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH), we will be requiring all members of the residence hall floor that had the three positive cases to quarantine for the next seven (7) days. This quarantine period was calculated based on established CDC guidelines from the date of last possible exposure.

The Health and Wellness Clinic will provide testing for the quarantining residents, and our COVID Management and Support Team is providing individual follow up and ongoing support throughout this time for these students.

The St. Kate’s Contact Tracing Team has also been working diligently to identify and follow up with any close contacts of the 11 new positive cases. All of those who have tested positive are in isolation off campus, per our health best practices and protocol. 

Privacy and Confidentiality

Individual medical information is shared only as needed to ensure compliance with public health guidelines, directives, and our Preparedness Plan, including HIPPA and FERPA guidelines. We will never share the names of impacted individuals. This includes those who have tested positive and those identified as close contacts of these individuals. 

Anyone able to identify an individual based on the circumstances is expected to be discreet and respect the privacy of the individual(s). This is in line with both our University values and Preparedness Plan guidelines. 

Moving Forward

As a University and community that is committed to the health and safety of all, we will continue to follow all best practices for COVID-19 notification, including following laws and health guidelines to ensure privacy and confidentiality. Faculty, staff, and students are required to self-report using the Diagnosis Notification Form on our website, allowing our teams to mobilize quickly and efficiently to stop the spread.

Any St. Kate’s community member identified as a close contact (being within six feet of the individual who tested positive for more than 15 minutes) will be notified by the Contact Tracing Team. Other members of the community will not be notified. At a minimum, and in accordance with the Clery Act, St. Kate’s will inform the community of any confirmed outbreaks on campus. An outbreak would be determined by MDH and we would work in close partnership with them to determine next steps. While the current situation is not an outbreak, we also remain committed to open and transparent communication. Our online COVID-19 Dashboard will be updated every Thursday, and additional updates will be provided as needed.

In order to maintain a healthy community, it is vital for us to continue with our best practices of social distancing, wearing a mask, and washing our hands. We carefully and thoughtfully developed our Preparedness Plan to respond quickly when needed, and we ask that you continue to follow the policies and procedures outlined in the Plan and remain steadfast in your commitment to safeguard health, strive for inclusive excellence, and engage in civil discourse.

Living Our Values

In addition to safeguarding the health of our community, remember that we also have the responsibility to take a stand against harassment, xenophobia, and racism based on COVID-19. Now is the time to be supportive, not divisive.

Thank you for your continued efforts to care for our community during this pandemic.