Continued COVID Vigilance
Dear Members of the Carnegie Mellon University Community:
I write today to draw your attention to the recent widespread, severe and potentially dangerous surges in COVID-19 cases throughout the country. Just last Friday, the number topped 180,000 in a single day. The pandemic has risen to crisis levels in much of the nation as hospitals and health care systems warn they are being pushed to capacity.
Here, close to home, is no different. In early October, there were 550 cases per week being reported in Allegheny County. The weekly case count in the county rose to 1,600 during the week ending on Nov. 6, compared to 950 the previous week. Doctors representing county hospitals and health networks have stated that although they are concerned about the recent rising number of cases and hospitalizations, they are still confident in the amount of PPE, ventilators and hospital beds that are currently available locally. County numbers, as well as reports on cases in our own community, are updated regularly on the CMU COVID-19 dashboard.
Much of the current spike in case numbers has been attributed to gatherings of family and friends, where people may let their guard down because they feel “safer” in these familiar environments. As we approach Thanksgiving, we urge you to continue to exercise caution. Consider limiting gathering sizes, utilizing technology to connect with loved ones, and please do not ease up on proven mitigation protocols like wearing facial coverings and maintaining physical distancing.
The best way to minimize the risk of transmitting the virus to your family, friends and community is to quarantine for 14 days prior to traveling and whenever possible avoid high risk travel [PDF]. For students, there is still time to secure an asymptomatic test as previously announced by scheduling at the HealthConnect portal. Appointments, available through Wednesday of this week, are filling quickly, so sign up now to secure a test. If your plans include travel and conditions in our region or your travel destination should change, I encourage you to be mindful of whether adapting your plans is in your best interest given the fluid nature of the pandemic.
This significant rise in trajectory of cases is yet another stark reminder that as Tartans who are “All In, Everywhere,” we must keep up our diligence in maintaining our mitigation protocols here in Pittsburgh and beyond. Once again, I urge you to stay the course, complete the daily self-assessment, maintain physical distancing, wear facial coverings and consistently wash your hands. Continuing to do so offers us the best chance at maintaining an in-person experience this semester and this spring.
Thanks to all of you for your continued commitment to our community. We will continue to take each day as it comes, and, of course, take care of each other.
Chief of Staff and Vice President for Strategic Initiatives