The COVID-19 pandemic isn't over, but hope is growing as numbers continue to fall throughout much of the country.
Due to the hard work and dedication of many, Lenoir-Rhyne University has been fortunate to not experience many of the trials and setbacks that affected other organizations and institutions of higher learning.
That has been the case, in part, due to a close working relationship with Catawba County Public Health. In celebration of National Public Health Week, April 5-11, LR recognizes the department for their support in addressing the community needs of the Hickory campus during the pandemic.
"To ensure our students' needs were met and to protect our community, our COVID-19 task force partnered with Catawba County Public Health last year," said Rachel Nichols, vice president of enrollment management at LR and co-chair of the university COVID-19 task force. "As a result of their support and innovation, the university developed and implemented effective policies, testing with quick results, enhanced contact tracing and offered vaccinations. We are thankful for their work on our behalf and their dedication to fight the spread of the virus."
The university and health department have tested more than 6,500 students, faculty and staff for COVID-19 since the beginning of January, registering a positive test rate of .29 percent. The national average is 5.1 percent, according to the CDC.
In March 2020, LR President Dr. Fred Whitt formed a presidential task force to guide the university through the pandemic, and the health department has been an active member of the group which formed the guidelines, Protecting Our Den, that have directed LR for more than a year.
Items of collaborations between LR and Catawba County Public Health include:
- Implementing safety protocols to wear masks, social distance and wash hands
- Testing, surveillance and quarantine protocols for COVID-19
- Handling suspected and confirmed COVID-19 cases
- Cleaning and organizational protocols for student housing and campus facilities
- Advising daily safety procedures
The health department and LR nursing students have also worked together to administer COVID-19 vaccinations to Catawba County residents.
*Photo courtesy of Catawba County Public*