COVID-19 variants identified at CSU, pandemic protocols persist

Serena Bettis

Graphic showing COVID-19 bubbles floating around in a red background behind a blue surgical mask. Text reads "Collegian, COVID-19 UPDATE"
(Graphic illustration by Robbie Haynes | The Collegian)

Six weeks into the spring semester, Colorado State University continues to react to the COVID-19 pandemic with regular testing, updates and reporting on campus numbers. 

In an email update sent to the campus community Wednesday afternoon, the CSU Pandemic Preparedness Team said the University is aware of at least two COVID-19 variants from student, faculty and staff cases. This identification does not alter the University’s public safety strategy, the email said.

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“That means we expect everyone in the CSU community to screen frequently, wear a mask, wash your hands, physically distance, avoid gatherings and stay home when sick or exposed and follow any quarantine and isolation order,” the email said.

According to CSU’s COVID-19 dashboard, the University has 2,304 positive COVID-19 cases associated with students, faculty and staff since May 2020. This number includes positive cases identified by University testing and by other public and private health officials.

CSU requires any students, faculty and staff who are regularly on campus or living in University housing to conduct weekly saliva screenings. Since starting the saliva screening process in October 2020, CSU has conducted over 66,800 saliva screenings as of Feb. 8. Additionally, the University has conducted over 27,685 nasal swab tests as of Feb. 8. 

From Jan. 25, when in-person classes began, to Feb. 24, CSU reported 338 positive COVID-19 cases. Since spring move-in began Jan. 14, CSU has had 427 positive COVID-19 cases associated with the University.

The Pandemic Preparedness Team will continue to follow all Larimer County Public Health guidance, monitor results of both wastewater and individual tests and take measures to … stop the spread of the virus and its variants.”– CSU Pandemic Preparedness Team

On Feb. 18 the Pandemic Preparedness Team announced the final group of students, faculty and staff would be required to start mandatory COVID-19 screenings beginning Feb. 22. This includes all students, faculty and instructors taking part in face-to-face or hybrid courses. 

Others required to screen weekly include “all students living in University housing (or) living in a fraternity or sorority house, even if they do not attend a face-to-face or hybrid course; (and) all faculty and staff who are regularly, physically on a CSU campus or other university grounds in Larimer County,” the announcement said. 

The University expanded their saliva screening sites to include five different locations since the start of the spring semester. However, all sites are closed Saturdays and Sundays. The information for where and when to screen is available on the University’s COVID-19 resources website.

Students, faculty and staff can complete their saliva screening at the MAC Gym, located to the east side of the Student Recreation Center; in the Moby parking lot, on the southeast corner of Shields Street and Elizabeth Street; on the south end of campus by the University Tennis Complex; in the parking lot south of the South College Avenue Parking Garage; and at the Foothills Campus in the B.W. Pickett Equine Center. 

Only CSU students, faculty and staff can complete saliva screenings on campus — there are no family members allowed.

“The Pandemic Preparedness Team will continue to follow all Larimer County Public Health guidance, monitor results of both wastewater and individual tests and take measures to continue to … stop the spread of the virus and its variants,” the Feb. 24 email said.

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Anyone experiencing COVID-19 symptoms or potentially exposed to COVID-19 should complete the university’s COVID-19 Reporter as soon as possible and follow all public health and safety protocols. 

Serena Bettis can be reached at news@collegian.com or on Twitter @serenaroseb.