NMU COVID-19 cases reach all-time low

As of Sept. 1, NMU has no active COVID-19 cases with all isolation beds empty. According to the Safe on Campus dashboard, the vaccination rate is at 73.8%.


Katarina Rothhorn

STAYING SAFE—Students in HON101 follow NMU’s mask protocols by wearing masks properly above the nose. NMU implemented the mask mandate shortly before the start of the Fall 2021 semester in accommodation to CDC guidelines.

Dreyma Beronja, News Editor

While the Fall 2021 semester has brought more focus towards vaccinations, COVID-19 cases still exist on and off campus. As of Sept. 1, NMU has had one active case according to the Safe on Campus dashboard. With the current vaccination rate at 73.9%, COVID-19 cases have drastically differed compared to the previous academic year. Based on the Safe on Campus dashboard, July 2020 to May 2021 recorded 441 positive cases.

At just two weeks into the semester, Christopher Kirkpatrick, medical director for the Health Center, said he sees continued trends of students returning home after discussing ways to mitigate risk during travel and to family members.

“I suspect that with vaccinations present, even more students and families may continue that trend this year, as opposed to prior semesters where vaccine protection was sparsely available,” Kirkpatrick said.

As Labor Day approaches, students and community members may have plans to travel. However, with the Delta variant, Dr. Rochelle P. Walensky, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director, said at a press conference that vaccination and wearing a mask are important to prevent the spread of the virus.

“We have actually articulated that people who are fully vaccinated and who are wearing masks can travel. Although given where we are with disease transmission right now, we would say that people need to take their own — these risks into their own consideration as they think about traveling,” Walensky said. “First and foremost, if you are unvaccinated, we would recommend not traveling.”

NMU’s current plan for isolation quarters is to have those tested positive stay on the first floor of Spooner Hall, a shift from what students saw from the 2020-2021 academic year. Compared to the last academic year, if students are able to, NMU has permitted students to travel home for their isolation period if they wish.

“The quarantine area remains the safest, and most convenient, option for many students,” Kirkpatrick said. “As in the past, the stated plan is to trigger a re-evaluation of campus operations if we reach a point near capacity of quarantine/ isolation rooms.”

Kirkpatrick said that in the case of near capacity in isolation rooms, the use of area hotel rooms and additional support from NMU for food delivery will still remain an option.

Students who are looking to receive their COVID-19 vaccination can register with the Marquette County Health Department or on campus with the NMU Health Center. To see if the Health Center is providing vaccinations at the time, students can either email at [email protected] or call at 906-227-2355.