Emily VanGorder – Staff Writer
Gustavus began holding mass testing events in November in preparation for students returning home for Thanksgiving break. Two testing events were held in December, and two have been held so far in February. There were twenty COVID-19 cases discovered in November, 2 cases identified in December, and zero cases have been found from the events in February.
“It is a pleasant surprise anytime we host an event and have low numbers or no disease present. COVID-19 can be present and a person can be infectious even without symptoms, so that is why testing is so important as it helps us to identify cases that might not otherwise be found,” Director of Health Services at Gustavus Heather Dale said.
The “lay low” period will be ending on Sunday, February 14. After this period, classes will be held in the format of the professor’s choosing, and students groups and organizations will be able to meet as long as everyone is masked and socially distanced. Students will also be able to visit other residence halls and rooms.
Throughout the rest of the semester, Gustavus anticipates having more testing events, and news of these events will be emailed to staff, faculty, and students. Anyone who wishes to get tested independent of these events can get tested at the Health Services office.
Some Gustavus students have already received the COVID-19 vaccine, namely those who work in assisted living facilities, medical facilities, or COVID-19 testing sites.
Gustavus has registered to be a COVID-19 vaccine provider. Once the vaccine is more readily available, students will be able to get vaccinated on campus, similar to the flu shot clinic held each year.
“I’m a nursing student, so I was able to get a dose allocated for me. I was able to get the vaccine at the Saint Peter Community Center Senior Center,” Junior Youa Thao said. Thao received her first dose of the Pfizer vaccine on Monday, February 8, and will receive the second dose later in the month.
“My experience with the vaccine was good, the nurses did a good job and explained what needed to be done… [I] don’t have any side effects as of right now,” Thao said.
Junior Brenda De Rosas Lazaro received the COVID-19 vaccine at the Good Samaritan Society in Albert Lea, Minnesota.
“Because I have been working as a CNA for the past three years, I got the Moderna vaccine… [which] gave me a reaction. I had arm soreness, redness, lymph node pain, and tiredness. [For] the second dose, which I got a few weeks ago, I didn’t feel anything at all,” De Rosas Lazaro said.
After receiving the vaccine, it is still important to follow COVID-19 safety guidelines for the continued health and safety of those on campus.
“Our campus community continues to do well in following the campus guidelines and the numbers of cases in Minnesota and across the country have been declining. But we cannot become complacent. There are new variants that spread faster. Be sure to watch your email for weekly updates and important information on Tuesdays and Fridays throughout spring semester,” Dale said.