The Harvey County Health Department, in conjunction with Bethel College, has confirmed a cluster of COVID-19 cases on the Bethel campus.
According to the health department, the cluster includes 46 confirmed cases of COVID-19. There have been 482 individuals tested.
Some test results are still pending.
The cluster was identified through precautionary COVID-19 testing conducted by Bethel College. Bethel requires all students, faculty, staff and administrators to be tested for COVID-19. Bethel also requires daily temperature checks, health status monitoring through a self-screening app, and individuals to wear face masks indoors and outdoors on the campus.
“Mandatory testing during reopening is an effective way to assess the prevalence of COVID-19 in our student and employee population at the start of the semester,” said Bethel College President Jon Gering. “Our efforts have provided valuable public health information and revealed important health information for students and their families.”
The individuals have been able to self-isolate on campus or at their permanent residence. Bethel College’s Emergency Response Team, along with the Health Department, will regularly monitor the health of the individuals, as well as follow up on all close contacts.
Students, faculty and staff, as well as community members, can consult Bethel’s COVID-19 information clearinghouse on its website at https://www.bethelks.edu/coronavirus-information.
The site includes a link to Bethel’s COVID procedures, which outlines scenarios based on possible infections and infection rates.
“We appreciate Bethel’s proactive approach to preparing for its in-person fall semester,” said Harvey County Health Department Director Lynnette Redington. “We are of course glad that the individuals in these cases are generally in good health and good spirits. Being able to identify these individuals with COVID-19 now helps protect not just the Bethel community, but the communities of Harvey County as a whole.”
Some of the confirmed cases reside out-of-county or out-of-state when the college is not in session. However, these individuals will be included in Harvey County’s COVID-19 statistics, as Harvey County is their current place of residence. This data may not immediately be reflected in Harvey County’s local numbers, as they work to continue contact tracing and gathering additional details.