11.10.21: Update from the COVID Response Team

A message sent to members of the Lehigh community and Lehigh families. 

Dear Members of the Lehigh Community and Lehigh Families, 

While COVID case counts on the Lehigh dashboard continue to remain low overall with 5 total active cases among students living on or off campus and 3 total active faculty and staff cases, we may be seeing a slight uptick in the weekly number of reported positive COVID cases in Northampton County and on our campus:

  • Northampton County, maintaining a “high” rate of community transmission, has seen almost a 10% increase in the case rate over the last 7 days (using data reported as of Nov. 10) after several consecutive weeks of declines.   

  • On campus, there were 2 positive student cases reported the week of Sep. 20, and then 1 and 0 positive student cases reported each subsequent week before case counts began to increase again the week of Oct. 11. Last week, 4 positive student cases were reported, indicating we may be seeing a slight increase over recent weeks in the number of reported cases in our community each week

The slight uptick in cases may be due to increasing indoor activity as the weather grows cooler. This increase also emphasizes the importance of mask-wearing indoors, staying home when sick, washing hands and following other good hygiene practices; these remain the best way to prevent spreading COVID as well as other illnesses. These are particularly relevant reminders as we approach our annual Lehigh-Lafayette festivities and the holidays. We continue to encourage outdoor gatherings whenever possible to avoid large indoor gatherings, where there is an increased transmission risk. View our current campus status.

Vaccination has helped ensure that cases reported to the university have not been severe, and we have not received reports of extended hospitalizations or deaths due to COVID. Thank you for doing your part as we all continue to manage daily life with COVID and work to support one another’s health and safety. 

Reporting Positive Tests

In light of other common illnesses such as the flu resulting in symptoms similar to COVID, when in doubt about whether or not your symptoms are COVID-related, it is always a good idea to get tested or to consult with a medical professional for guidance. Please remember that students, faculty and staff are required to report to the university any positive COVID test result from an outside source, even if you believe you haven’t come into close contact with anyone on campus or are away from campus at the time of testing positive. This is important for helping to ensure university records and the dashboard are accurate, which in turn helps to inform the campus community of current transmission levels and support campus health and safety. For students, reporting a positive test result also helps to ensure that you are not selected for required surveillance testing within the 90-day timeframe after testing positive.  

Reminder: Optional Surveillance Testing for Students, Faculty and Staff

We are continuing weekly mandatory surveillance testing of unvaccinated students, faculty and staff with approved medical and religious exemptions, as well as testing of 10% of the vaccinated student population. All those required or selected to test must schedule and keep their testing appointments.

We will offer optional surveillance testing for those who aren’t experiencing COVID-like symptoms later this month (starting November 15). Check the dates and upcoming schedule changes below and save/bookmark this link to sign up when appointments become available closer to the offered testing dates. The optional testing appointments are now available Nov. 15-18.

Bethlehem Health Bureau Drive-Thru Flu/COVID Vaccine Clinic

If it’s of interest, on Sunday, Nov. 14 between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m., the Bethlehem Health Bureau and Bethlehem Area School District are offering a drive-thru clinic in the Freedom High School Student Parking Lot. Learn more and make an appointment

-COVID Response Team

Save/bookmark this link to sign up for optional surveillance testing when appointments become available closer to the offered testing dates; remember symptomatic testing is separate, and you should contact the Health and Wellness Center if you are experiencing COVID-like symptoms

Nov 15-18: Mandatory testing of 100% of unvaccinated students, faculty and staff with approved medical and religious exemptions continues. Mandatory surveillance testing of 10% of vaccinated students continues. Students, faculty and staff can register for one-time optional testing prior to Thanksgiving break. 

Nov. 22-23: Mandatory testing of 100% of unvaccinated students, faculty and staff with approved medical and religious exemptions continues. We will discontinue mandatory surveillance testing of 10% of vaccinated students and offer one-time optional testing for any student who would like to be tested prior to leaving for Thanksgiving break. This opportunity is also open to faculty and staff. 

Nov. 29-Dec. 2: Mandatory testing of 100% of unvaccinated students, faculty and staff with approved medical and religious exemptions continues. We will resume testing of 10% of vaccinated students for this week and offer optional testing for students who have not been randomly selected and wish to be tested. This opportunity is also open to faculty and staff. 

Dec. 6-9 and Dec. 13-15: Mandatory testing of 100% of unvaccinated students, faculty and staff with approved medical and religious exemptions continues. We will discontinue testing of 10% of vaccinated students and offer one-time optional testing for any student who would like to be tested prior to traveling home. This opportunity is also open to faculty and staff.