COVID outbreak at CSU Mountain Campus prompts new protocols

Colorado+State+Universitys+Mountain+Campus+sits+between+Arapaho+and+Roosevelt+National+Forests+and+Rocky+Mountain+National+Park.+The+campus+officially+became+part+of+CSU+in+1960.+%28Davis+Bonner+%7C+Collegian%29

Colorado State University’s Mountain Campus sits between Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests and Rocky Mountain National Park. The campus officially became part of CSU in 1960. (Davis Bonner | Collegian)

Serena Bettis, Editor in Chief

The Colorado State University Mountain Campus had an outbreak of 39 positive COVID-19 cases last week among CSU students, faculty and staff.

Risk and Public Safety Communications Manager Dell Rae Ciaravola said no one who tested positive had experienced serious illness. Due to the remote location of the Mountain Campus and the communal living and learning spaces, CSU postponed or canceled all activities until after June 10.

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A person in a camp group reported a positive at-home test to the CSU Public Health Office after they returned home from their visit to the Mountain Campus. The CSU Public Health Office identified “a few additional cases” in that individual’s camp group through contact tracing that started May 27, Ciaravola said.

On May 28, positive COVID-19 cases were identified in individuals still at the Mountain Campus. This prompted the Pandemic Preparedness Team to mobilize testing to the Mountain Campus on May 31 to identify other positive cases, Ciaravola said.

“Those who tested positive were isolated at the campus until transportation back to Fort Collins could be arranged for them,” Ciaravola said. “Those who tested positive left the campus earlier the week of May 30, and the remainder of that group who had not tested positive left on Friday, June 3, and were instructed to test again at the CSU testing pod that same day.”

Fifth-year student Remi Pattyn was at the Mountain Campus for the first four-week summer session to complete the pre-capstone course for the fish, wildlife and conservation biology major. Pattyn said the first students in his group tested positive the weekend of May 27 because they were instructed to bring self tests before going to the Mountain Campus.

Pattyn said he spent three weeks of the four-week course in person on the Mountain Campus but had to finish the final week online.

Ciaravola said 39 total cases were identified by the end of the day June 3. Activities at the Mountain Campus will resume June 10 after the 10-day infectious period outlined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“All staff who have not tested positive will be tested several times before June 9,” Ciaravola said.

The Pandemic Preparedness Team will now require all Mountain Campus visitors to test for COVID-19 24-48 hours before they arrive, Ciaravola said, and they will need to show their group leader proof of a negative test.

“We understand that these requirements are more stringent than what is currently mandated at most event venues,” Ciaravola said. “However, given the remote nature of our campus, shared sleeping quarters, and the potential of a delayed response in providing medical care to individuals who develop severe COVID symptoms or complications due to the location of the campus, we believe these measures are in the best interest of the health of our visitors and staff.”

Reach Serena Bettis at news@collegian.com or on Twitter @serenaroseb.

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