GV continues to keep confirmed COVID-19 cases low as holiday season approaches


GVL / Annabelle Robinson

Elizabeth Schanz, Staff Writer

Grand Valley State University has taken many protections against COVID-19 from mask mandates to self-assessments and individuals becoming vaccinated or getting tested on a regular basis. Even with a slight rise of COVID-19 cases following fall break, the number of recorded cases remains low across the university. 

GVSU had been recording COVID-19 tests and cases through the university’s COVID-19 data dashboard since the beginning of Aug. 2020. According to the dashboard, from the end of October through the first week of November in 2020, the seven-day average of new COVID-19 cases was 19.12 individuals while during the same week in 2021 the seven-day average was 7.86. 

“Cases per day at GVSU have varied in a relatively narrow range since Labor Day,” said the GVSU Virus Action Team, via email. “The number of COVID cases on campus continues to be relatively low compared to the region and state.” 

This decrease in case numbers over the year span is widely attributed to the availability of the COVID-19 vaccine. The Virus Action team said that on-campus testing and following face-covering policies have also led to keeping case numbers low. 

In the wider community of Ottawa County from Oct. 23 to Nov. 5 there were 2,234 cases in the area. Over the same week, the state of Michigan reported that it had experienced a positivity rate of 12.77% of the state’s population. 

Michigan has also reported that over 10 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered as of Nov. 4 2021. 69.5% of the population of individuals 16 and up have received at least one dose and 60.9% of this same age group are considered fully vaccinated.  

You are over six times more likely to test positive for COVID if you are not vaccinated compared to those who are vaccinated,” the GVSU Virus Action team said. 

Additionally, on Nov. 2 the CDC approved emergency use of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccination for children ages five to 11 years old. 

The GVSU Virus Action team recently sent out an email to the GVSU community stating that 85% of the campus population is fully vaccinated. Additionally, as of Nov 3, more than 88% of faculty and staff are in compliance with either the vaccine mandate or receiving an exemption. 

With students and staff potentially traveling for upcoming holidays and breaks, there can be concerns about a potential rise in case numbers. 

“I would be more concerned when it’s a longer break like Thanksgiving or even winter break, but as everyone is taking the right precautions and being vaccinated or getting the boosters then hopefully it will not be a concern for everyone,” said sophomore Carly O’Donohue. 

When someone at GVSU finds themselves failing their daily self-assessment, those individuals are then asked to isolate and get a rapid test at one of GVSU’s symptomatic testing sites. 

“Definitely teachers could do a better job communicating with students, whether they failed the self-assessment or anything else,” O’Donohue said. “I have had classes where people are not able to (attend in person), COVID related or not, and there (is) no way for them to be engaged in the class time they missed.”