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The latest on Covid-19 and campus operations

All community members are eligible for booster shots at the Health Center at Auraria; updates on the Omicron variant, recent Public Health Orders and masking protocols.

By Larry Sampler, chief operating officer

December 2, 2021

Larry SamplerDear Roadrunners,

This week, we all added a new word to our Covid-19 dictionary: Omicron. No matter how you pronounce it, this new virus variant is moving quickly. As of Wednesday, the Omicron variant had been detected in the U.S., and Metropolitan State University of Denver is keeping a close eye on evolving health and safety recommendations.

Omicron has recently been correlated with dramatic increases in positive Covid-19 test results in South Africa, with causation suspected but not yet proven. The World Health Organization has already identified Omicron as a “variant of concern,” indicating that this variant presents a new or potentially more serious risk to public health than the Delta variant.

The predominant concern in Colorado about the new variant could be its impact on already-overcommitted hospitals and overworked health care professionals. There are, at the moment, no new measures being suggested or directed by public-health officials in Colorado or Denver. But we will remain in close contact with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment and the Denver Department of Public Health and Environment as well as our campus partners and will continue to monitor media reports and other organizations to identify best practices as they emerge.

Public Health Orders and masking

In response to rising Covid-19 cases across the state, new Public Health Orders were issued by Gov. Jared Polis (Tuesday) and Denver Mayor Michael B. Hancock (Nov. 23), outlining new masking and distancing requirements, specifically increasing the required distance for exempted individuals to unmask from 6 feet to 12. As a reminder, masking indoors has long been required at MSU Denver, and with the holiday season upon us as well, its important we all do our part to keep each other safe.

If your department is preparing to host an event or gathering, please consider how you might ensure that the event remains safe and complies with these PHOs. I understand this might be challenging and might change the nature of your event, but we must ensure that our campus remains a safe environment for all. We will continue to adapt and modify policies as needed.

Booster shots available to all

All students and faculty, staff and community members who are 18 or older and who received both doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna Covid-19 vaccine at least six months ago or one dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine at least two months ago are eligible to receive a booster shot.

The science is still emerging regarding vaccine efficacy against the Omicron variant, but the consensus thus far is that even if the vaccines can’t prevent infection, they will reduce the severity of symptoms and help prevent a need for hospitalization. I still encourage everyone to get vaccinated or boosted.

However, please note that the Health Center at Auraria has distributed its full allocation of flu shots. Please visit a community pharmacy, grocery-store pharmacy or other provider to obtain your flu shot. 

Some closing items:


Larry Sampler, vice president for Administration

Topics: Administration, Health, Health Center at Auraria, Safety

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