External visitors in residence halls
External visitors are now permitted in residence halls. Overnight guests in the residence halls are not permitted.
Free At-Home COVID-19 Testing Kits
Minnesota has launched a new online program to provide free at-home rapid COVID-19 tests. Beginning yesterday (Mar. 29, 2022), Minnesotans can order two test kits per home for a total of four tests via mn.gov/covid19. Students living in residence halls should use their room number and hall when ordering these tests.
Minnesota’s at-home testing program through Vault Health will end this Thursday (Mar. 31, 2022). If you have Vault PCR tests at home, you will be able to use them until they expire, or until Dec. 31, 2022, whichever comes first.
Warning about Certain At-home COVID-19 tests
The FDA issued a warning on March 1 that the following tests have not been authorized, cleared or approved by the FDA for distribution or use in the U.S. and may show false results.
- Celltrion USA Inc. – DiaTrust COVID-19 Ag Rapid Tests (green and white packaging) •
- SD Biosensor Inc.- STANDARD Q COVID-19 Ag Home Test (white and magenta box)
- ACON Laboratories – Flowflex SARS-CoV-2 Antigen Rapid Test (blue packaging)
All three companies have initiated a recall for these unauthorized tests that were distributed in the U.S. If you purchased these tests, you may want to reconsider use of them for at-home COVID-19 testing.
BA.2 subvariant of omicron variant
The CDC reported that for the week of Feb. 19, 2022, the BA.2 subvariant made up 4% of cases in the U.S. They also reported that by March 5, 2022, BA.2 made up 12.6% of cases in the U.S. The CDC issued a recent statement that the BA.2 subvariant made up for 35% of U.S. infections for the week of March 19, 2022
According to the Mayo Clinic, the BA.2 variant of omicron is about 1½ times more infectious or transmissible than the original omicron variant. However, the BA.2 variant does not seem to cause more severe illness than the original omicron variant. Experts also say that, at this point, BA.2 does not appear to reduce the effectiveness of being fully vaccinated for COVID-19.
CDC quarantine and isolation calculator
The CDC had created a tool to help determine how long you need to isolate, quarantine or take other steps to prevent the spread of COVID-19. You can access its quarantine and isolation calculator here.
COVID community levels
COVID-19 community levels are used to help communities decide what prevention steps to take based on the latest data. Levels can be low, medium, or high and are determined by looking at hospital beds being used, hospital admissions, and the total number of new COVID-19 cases in an area. At the present time, the counties where we have campuses have the following COVID-19 Community Levels:
- Hennepin County – Low. People may choose to mask at any time. People with symptoms, a positive test, or exposure to someone with COVID-19 should wear a mask.
- Olmsted County – Low. People may choose to mask at any time. People with symptoms, a positive test, or exposure to someone with COVID-19 should wear a mask.
- Winona County – Low. People may choose to mask at any time. People with symptoms, a positive test, or exposure to someone with COVID-19 should wear a mask.