More than a month since Lawrence announced it was moving to remote learning and nearly three weeks into this unprecedented spring term, we write today to share some good news: our efforts to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 are working!
Thanks to Wisconsin’s Safer at Home order and our individual commitments to physical distancing, our state has seen a decrease in the exponential growth in the number of COVID-19 cases since the order was put into place on March 25. According to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS), the rate of infections doubling moved from 3.4 days in early March to approximately 12 days at this time. In addition, the model created by the DHS projected Wisconsin having between 440 and 1,500 deaths from the 22,000 COVID-19 infections by April 8. As of April 21, 242 individuals have passed away in our state. Every death from this virus is one too many, but our efforts to flatten the curve through physical distancing shows that at least 200 lives, and perhaps as many as 1,400 lives, have been saved.
Thanks to this news, Governor Evers announced on Monday a plan to safely reopen Wisconsin. Called Badger Bounce Back, the plan outlines a phased reopening of our state, guided by data and an ongoing commitment to continue to limit physical contact between people. As the new plan states, “the challenge is that all of us who have remained safe at home can still become ill if we move too quickly or act without an achievable plan in place.” It is imperative that we continue our collective work to flatten the curve.
To highlight Lawrence’s commitment to helping mitigate the spread of COVID-19, the University has joined the Be Safe Wisconsin initiative. This group of regional organizations, including Thedacare, Ascension, United Way Fox Cities, Feeding America, and others, is dedicated to amplifying the importance of a sustained commitment to safe behaviors to fight this virus. Visit the Be Safe Wisconsin website to learn more about the organization, explore resources, and pledge to be a leader in the fight against COVID-19.
As there are no medications or vaccines to protect us from COVID-19 yet, please continue to:
- Maintain at least six feet between you and another individual.
- All individuals working at Lawrence campus are required to wear masks when they are outside or in public areas. If you need a mask please contact your supervisor.
- Avoid public transportation whenever possible.
- Limit non-essential travel.
- Limit social gatherings and avoid crowded venues.
- Practice good hygiene, disinfect surfaces you touch, and avoid touching your face.
All of these actions are necessary to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.
Please also stay in touch over the phone with your family, friends, and fellow Lawrentians as much as possible. Contact us in Wellness Services, reach out to your personal physicians, or take advantage of the employee EAP benefit program if you need any physical or mental health support. More resources are available on the COVID-19 News blog. Please also continue to read the LU Insider, follow Lawrence’s social media channels, and take advantage of community outreach efforts when possible.
Again, thank you all for your support, resilience, and patience as we weather this unprecedented global emergency. Continue to take care of yourselves and each other.
Rich & Jill
Richard L. Jazdzewski, Psy.D., LP
Associate Dean for Wellness Services
Director of Health Services