Recent data from state and county public health officials are showing a concerning increase in COVID-19 cases in our area. The daily case count in Michigan is approaching levels last seen during the late November–January surge. On March 31, Michigan’s seven-day positivity rate for coronavirus diagnostic tests was 12.3% and on March 29, the rate in Kalamazoo County was 14.2%. (The goal is to keep positivity rates below 3% to reduce spread.) Additionally, variants of the coronavirus are becoming more prevalent, with Michigan (along with Florida) topping the list of states seeing the spread of those variants. Younger people are now being infected at a higher rate compared to previous surges, and hospitalizations have increased among younger populations that haven’t yet been vaccinated. Fortunately, K’s seven-day positivity rate remains low at 0.2%, thanks to everyone’s commitment to following our safety protocols.
While vaccines will help a great deal in the long term, the data shows that in the short term, we need to double down on public health guidance about masking, distancing and hand and respiratory hygiene. With some states loosening restrictions and spring weather providing more outdoor activities, it’s going to be tempting to let our guard down; however, public health officials from the CDC to the local health department are imploring us to stay the course:
- Mask up, back up and wash up. Please continue to follow K’s protocols inside and outside while on campus, even after you’ve been vaccinated.
- Get vaccinated when available. The COVID-19 vaccine is now open to all adults age 16+ in Kalamazoo County. While not mandatory, it is very strongly encouraged. The College will be hosting on-site vaccination clinics for students age 18 and older to be held on April 15 and April 22 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Please watch your email for more information, including how to register for an appointment. If students are unable to attend the clinic, we encourage you to sign up for other vaccination opportunities in the area, including the Kalamazoo County Health and Community Services Department, Bronson Hospital, Rite Aid pharmacy, Meijer and Walgreens. You can also visit the state’s COVID-19 vaccine website to search for vaccine opportunities by county. Other vaccination opportunities may be available on campus at a later date; however, timing is dependent on vaccine availability.
- The Campus Activity Level will remain at Orange. Until we see state and local data improve, we will stay at our current level.
Together we can continue to stop the spread. Thank you for Protecting the Hive.
Sarah B. Westfall
Vice President for Student Development and Dean of Students
Danette Ifert Johnson