ADRIAN — Michigan was the worst COVID-19 hotspot in the country on Tuesday, according to reports from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Meanwhile, virus cases are showing a similar upward trend in Lenawee County. The 526 virus cases reported last week came after the previous week resulted in 473 positive COVID-19 cases. Lenawee County hospital ProMedica Charles and Virginia Hickman Hospital was 91% full Monday after the hospital management reported it was at 100% capacity for the past week.
Due to the increasing number of cases in Lenawee County, the University of Siena Heights’ COVID-19 Task Force and management announced on Tuesday that it has decided to keep the health and safety metrics of the Adrian campus at Level 3: High Alert – that is, many COVID-19 and community spread of the virus – rather than changing the alert level.
“As the holidays and ongoing high transmission rates in Lenawee County approach, the university will likely continue to operate at this alert level for the remainder of the term,” said an online announcement from SHU. “The University fully plans to run the remainder of this semester in the current learning mode. If classes and co-curricular programs are currently being offered face-to-face, please plan to continue meeting face-to-face until the end of the semester.”
As part of its “Siena Safe Campus”, the university has established five key levels of alert regarding local COVID-19 transmission.
“These alert levels are in line with the State of Michigan Safe Start Plan,” SHU said on its website.
Level 0: Normal Operations, Level 1: Low Warning, Level 2: Medium Warning, Level 3: High Warning and Level 4: Very High Warning to be issued in the event of widespread outbreaks, stay-at-home orders, and school and non-essential business closures.
Current Tier 3: During the High Alert phase, certain facilities on the SHU campus may have limited access to individuals. Health screening and follow-up processes were implemented; COVID positive individuals should quarantine or self-isolate; mandatory protection measures such as face covering and social distancing are recommended; campus offices work remotely periodically or on changing days; and, if mandated by the Lenawee County Health Department, restrictions on closed and open group gatherings will apply.
SHU has been operating on Level 3: High Alert since October 27th. According to the county health department, Lenawee County remains at risk level “E,” the highest risk level of COVID-19 community transmission on an alphabetical scale. A, B, C, D and E.
SHU’s website says it continues to implement a “strict” campus-wide cleaning and disinfection protocol and is taking steps to reduce cafeteria congestion. Consumption of ready meals for students in shelters or outdoors, weather permitting, is encouraged and requested.
The COVID Task Force and athletic director Sue Syljebeck will implement modified safety measures for athletic functions if needed.
“We’ve had a recent increase in positive COVID-19 cases within the Siena Heights community,” the university website said. “We continue to strongly encourage individuals to get vaccinated if they have not yet had it. All faculty, staff or students who develop flu-like symptoms (e.g. runny nose, cough, fever, headache, fatigue, loss of taste or smell) are expected to call our COVID-19 contact tracing and tracing hotline at 517-264-. 7799 before they leave their rooms and/or arrive on campus.”
As of Tuesday, SHU’s online COVID-19 dashboard reflected that 91% of its staff and staff (233 employees report) were fully or partially vaccinated. Of the student body on campus, 67% (1,192 students report) are fully or partially vaccinated.
There are 122 positive cases of COVID-19 on campus and two results are expected. 20 people are in isolation – separating patients with the contagious disease from those who are not – 15 more in quarantine – segregating and restricting the movement of people who have been exposed to an infectious disease to see if they are sick.
This article was originally published on The Daily Telegram: Siena Heights will remain at Level 3: High Alert for COVID-19 spread