Weekly Update

Sept. 17, 2021

Weekly Metrics

  • Total New Positive Cases: 18 (trending favorably down)
  • 7-Day Positivity Rate: 0.25% (trending favorably down)
  • Isolation and Quarantine Capacity: 64% available (trending favorably up)

As always, more information is available on our dashboard.

Testing Changes 

As our case numbers stabilize, we are making some changes to the increased testing frequency we implemented two weeks ago. Beginning next week:

Students:

  • Students will return to pooled testing. We are going to shrink the pools to four students to make retesting more efficient.
  • Students must still test twice per week, regardless of vaccination status.


Employees:

  • Fully vaccinated faculty and staff members must test only once per week.
  • Non-fully vaccinated faculty and staff must continue to test twice per week.

Masking 

Starting Monday, September 20, neck gaiters and bandanas will again be prohibited for indoor use. You must wear a mask that is multi-layered, and covers your nose, mouth, and chin properly. Research has shown that surgical masks provide significantly improved protection over cloth masks. Consider adopting surgical masks as your mask of choice.

Remember, masking is required indoors unless you’re eating or drinking. That includes inside the Jo & residence hall common spaces. Compliance has been challenging in those two areas, and we need full cooperation from everyone in our community to turn that around.

Going Out in Worcester? Make COVID-Smart Choices 

As we all know, the Delta variant is highly contagious. On Friday, the city of Worcester implemented a public mask mandate in response to increasing COVID cases. The number of positive COVID cases in Worcester tripled from June to July, and tripled again from July to August. The rate of infection is particularly concerning among young adults in Worcester, who also have a lower than average vaccination rate at 40%.

We also know from our own contact tracing that most cases among our students are originating from off-campus socializing. Visits to bars, restaurants and clubs, along with house parties, are leading to cases on our campus. Other local colleges are noting the same source of spread.

As Holy Cross Student Wellness Education noted on Instagram this week, being packed like sardines in a bar without masks is a good way to spread COVID. Go somewhere with outdoor space, wear your mask when inside, and monitor your drinking to ensure you’re making good decisions.

Drop Boxes for Employee Tests 

Starting next week, campus will have three drop-off boxes for employees to leave their testing kits without having to make an appointment at the testing center. (You can still make an appointment and drop off your test at the center in Hogan.)

These locations are:

  • Outside the ITS office in the basement of Fenwick Hall
    • Weekdays, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • The athletics department offices in the Luth Athletic Complex
    • Available to employees working in Luth whenever the building is open, including during weekend games
  • Department of Public Safety inside The Jo
    • Open 24 hours for employees working the third shift

Please note that you should not drop off a test kit between 4 p.m. Friday and 4 p.m. Saturday. Weekend kits will be sent to the lab Monday morning, and anything dropped off between before Saturday evening will be too old to produce a reliable test result.

Kits continue to be available for pickup by employees in the testing center, in Human Resources, and now also in Luth and public safety for third shift employees.