COVID-19 Update: July 16, 2020

Dear Students, Faculty, and Staff

News from the past few days has been dominated by COVID-19. As you know, cases of COVID-19 in our nation, state and region have increased dramatically since the middle of June. This is due to restrictions being lifted, increased mobility within our society, and a general lack of compliance with personal safety measures aimed at limiting the spread of COVID-19.

Cases of COVID-19 within the JSU community have also increased. Currently, we are following 34 active COVID-19 cases within our JSU population. We have also noted that some of these cases led to 17 individuals being exposed to COVID-19. All the active cases are in a 14-day isolation period. All those exposed have been directed to self-quarantine for 14 days.

We are following the current situation in our region daily. At present, the Alabama Department of Public Health Risk Indicator map shows that our county is characterized as “Very High Risk” for COVID-19 transmission. That status has prompted us to act accordingly by modifying or cancelling some previously planned events. In addition, we are carefully examining events and programs planning for the near future to be certain that University’s priorities remain focused on public safety.

Today, Governor Ivey’s mandatory mask order went into effect. Ours has been in place for several weeks now. However, we have observed that some people on our campus have not been complying. Let me take this opportunity to stress that a mask or face covering must be worn by all persons on the JSU campus and properties when in common areas or confined spaces where two or more persons are present. This simple measure, if adhered to, will greatly reduce your chances of getting COVID-19. In addition, it will protect the people around you if you are infected. Some infections are so mild that the individual does not realize they are actively infected and shedding virus. Although most infections are mild, some individuals will develop severe disease that can lead to hospitalization, debilitating, long-term health effects and even death.

This week we acquired a point-of-care test for the Student Health Center. That test is done with a simple, non-invasive nasal swab. The test takes only 15 minutes to run. The patient gets a result while waiting. So, if you feel ill, please contact the Student Health Center at 256-782-5310 to make an appointment to be seen by the staff. If your symptoms are consistent with COVID-19 you will be tested for it onsite. The COVID-19 Task Force is doing all it can to attempt to contain this pandemic threat.

Sincerely,

Dr. Jeff Ryan
Dr. Oye Akisanya
Dr. Phyllis Waits
COVID-19 Task Force