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COVID-19 Update: Surge Subsided and Testing Reminder

Nov. 16, 2020 

Dear members of the Saint Louis University community,   

We are in the final stretch of the marathon that has been this fall semester. With only a matter of days left until Thanksgiving break. What an amazing term it has been. 

The sacrifice of time, energy, and normalcy has allowed us to be and stay together. Something you wanted and we heard loud and clear. 

The surge in cases following Halloween weekend has subsided. We have 65 active COVID-19 cases that Student Health is tracking right now, which is down 21 from this time last week. We have also seen a 42-percent decrease in the need for on-campus quarantine and isolation housing since Friday alone. That is due, in part, to many students deciding to return home. 

I want to thank everyone for continuing to be responsible Billikens by following our public health guidelines. These efforts don’t come without a cost. I feel the loss of robust interpersonal connection in my own life, as I settle for technologically mediated communication with colleagues, friends, and family. I hear from many of you that you feel that too. There is no substitute for the richness of direct, face-to-face interaction.  Let us all continue to pray for the day when that is again the norm. 

I encourage each of us to use this upcoming break to decompress and reconnect with those we love and enjoy. Take advantage of the downtime. That said, I want to acknowledge the many Billikens who will continue to work over break to keep the University clean and safe for students who remain, or will continue to provide excellent compassionate care to our patients, or work in one of our other essential areas. And I appreciate those who will put in long hours ensuring that we are ready for the return of our students at the end of January. 

Finally, I want to remind you of the optional COVID-19 testing available to students this week. As Dr. Rebmann announced, we have opened up 2,700 testing spots starting this Thursday, Nov. 19, through next Monday, Nov. 23. As of this email, 800 have signed up. If you’re interested, please register. Details, including cost and deadlines, are in the registration link. You must register for testing. 

Fran and I are praying for safe travels to all of you who are returning home. 

This Thanksgiving, Fran and I have a lot to be grateful for when it comes to our amazing SLU community. Each one of you is a valued member of it. 

Stay safe. Be well. And continue to thrive. 

Fred P. Pestello, Ph.D.