Update regarding COVID-19 cases and vaccine clinics from President Freeman
April 13, 2021
I want to make you aware of two COVID-19 developments so that you can take appropriate action to protect yourself and our community.
Increase in Cases of COVID-19
In the past week we’ve had nearly 40 new student cases. In many of these instances, students are not experiencing symptoms and might be unaware that they have been exposed and are able to spread the virus.
Here are some critical points to remember as you protect your health and the health of others.
- Continue to wear a mask, maintain physical distancing and avoid social gatherings that have not been approved by the university.
- If you are experiencing symptoms, please immediately self-isolate to not expose others. If you would like to seek care from a medical provider or be advised on where to take a COVID-19 PCR test, call the Northwestern Medicine Student Health Center at NIU at 815-306-2777.
- Please do not come to the Health Center or the NIU Surveillance Testing Site in the HSC if you have symptoms or do not have an appointment.
- If you test positive for COVID-19, have been exposed to or are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, you must complete the NIU COVID-19 checklist at go.niu.edu/covid-checklist. Log in to the checklist using your NIU credentials. After completing the checklist, you will receive immediate guidance via email with important instructions.
- Participate in contact tracing. If you are positive or have been exposed, the DeKalb County Health Department will call you to identify who you might have come into contact with and provide you with next steps to help stop the spread of COVID.
Student Vaccination Clinics Canceled
Today, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) paused the use of the Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) COVID-19 vaccine, which means the university must cancel our student vaccination clinics for Saturday (4/17) and next Tuesday (4/20). This is being done out of an abundance of caution. The DeKalb County Health Department has emailed information to all students who had appointments.
As of April 12, more than 6.8 million doses of the J&J vaccine have been administered in the U.S. CDC and FDA are reviewing data involving six reported U.S. cases of a rare and severe type of blood clot in individuals after receiving the J&J vaccine. According to the CDC, these adverse events appear to be extremely rare. People who have received the J&J vaccine who develop severe headache, abdominal pain, leg pain or shortness of breath within three weeks after vaccination should contact their health care providers.
The CDC and FDA are executing their vaccine safety surveillance responsibility, and it should inspire confidence versus fear. I encourage all Huskies to still pursue vaccination. The other two COVID-19 vaccines, Moderna and Pfizer, each requiring two separate doses, remain available and have not had any concerning side effects reported. The State of Illinois Department of Public Health offers a tool that allows you to simply enter your ZIP code or the name of your city to find the locations nearest you. If you live or work in DeKalb County, please sign up for clinic notifications on the DeKalb County Health Department website and regularly check its vaccine appointment scheduling page.
End of Semester
There are two more weeks left to the semester, and we need all Huskies to take seriously their roles in protecting others, especially as students will be returning to their home communities shortly. COVID fatigue is real and understandable, but your actions have the ability to impact lives. Thank you for your cooperation and care.
Lisa C. Freeman