July 20 COVID-19 Update

Managers and department chairs determining which job functions require reporting to campus | See email for Community Standards agreement | #CampusClear app available on Apple App Store, soon on Google Play Store | Facilitators named to order COVID-19 supplies and PPE | UCOM developing campus signage | IT provides recommendations for disinfecting computers | Timothy Simeone, PhD, in the School of Medicine offers COVID-19 graphs

Working Arrangements

Managers and department chairs were asked to examine their areas and determine which job functions require reporting to campus and which can be completed remotely or through an alternating schedule. The results should be communicated this week, by Thursday, July 23, to staff members and faculty. The University is looking to minimize campus density to reduce potential exposure, while balancing the need to maximize the student experience.

All decisions will be tracked by Human Resources in collaboration with the Campus Safety and Innovative Operations Workgroup. Exception requests will be reviewed and approved by the manager or department chair. Staff exceptions will then be reviewed and approved by the VP or vice provost/dean, and faculty by the dean; followed by review by Human Resources; and final approval by the president, provost and EVP for operations.

Community Standards Agreement

All faculty, staff and students are required to complete and sign an online form agreeing to follow Creighton’s COVID-19 Community Standards, a set of guidelines to help reduce the risk of COVID-19 on campus. Thank you to the 5,800 faculty, staff and students who, as of this morning, have completed the form. A reminder email will be sent later today to those who still need to complete it. The Critical Incident Response Team (CIRT) appreciates your timely response.

#CampusClear Self-Screening App

The #CampusClear self-screening app can be found on the Apple App Store, and will soon be available on the Google Play Store. Please remember Creighton’s screenings involve a two-step process:

  • Complete the #CampusClear self-screening app questionnaire
  • Get a temperature check at an on-campus COVID-19 Screening Station (currently, one general location is in operation for faculty and staff: Hixson-Lied Science Building atrium, 10 a.m.-2 p.m., Monday-Friday)

For those who don’t have a smartphone, the entire process can be completed at the on-campus Screening Station. Daily screening is required for those currently approved to be on campus, for each day they are on campus.

Information on installing the #CampusClear app is available online.

Ordering COVID-19 Supplies and PPE

Schools, colleges and departments have identified “facilitators” to place and receive orders for requests of COVID-19 supplies and personal protective equipment (PPE). A list of department facilitators is provided on the COVID-19 website, under campus resources. Only facilitators will be allowed to place and receive orders. Please contact your department facilitator if you wish to request COVID-19 supplies or PPE.

UCOM Developing Campus Signage

University Communications and Marketing (UCOM) is developing COVID-19-related signage for display at key locations across campus. UCOM professionals are collaborating with departments to determine appropriate signage and placement for campus spaces. An online form has been established to order signage at creighton.edu/covid19signage. Requests will be reviewed by the vice president for Communications and Marketing and require dean or VP approval.

Recommendations for Disinfecting Computers

The Division of Information Technology offers guidance for regularly sanitizing computer equipment, including approved COVID-19 disinfectants as well as chemicals and products to avoid using on electronics. Download the tip sheet.

COVID-19 Graphs

Timothy Simeone, PhD, associate professor, graduate program director in the School of Medicine’s Department of Pharmacology and Neuroscience, developed the graphs below using data from Johns Hopkins University and the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services. These graphs, “tell a story of how we doing as a nation and a state,” Simeone says. They will be shared weekly with the Creighton community.

“The current misunderstandings or nonchalance in the face of this pandemic almost guarantees that every single one of us will have at least one personal experience with COVID-19. It doesn’t have to be death of a loved one, it could be the cost of hospitalization and long term health consequences. I added the last two tables concerning “what if” impacts on hospitalizations and deaths to illustrate the potential consequences of our societal carelessness. On a personal level, it doesn’t take much to prevent this pain and suffering, just wear a mask, keep your distance and stay clean. In the larger picture these are small, temporary sacrifices that are really acts in the service of others. Each of us has the potential to save hundreds, if not thousands, of people,” Simeone says.

Click on each graph for a larger view.

Increasing testing capabilities throughout March enabled the identification of viral spread throughout the USA. The number of daily positive tests peaked in early April. As states shut-down activities and people sheltered-at-home, there was a 30% decrease in cases. In late June and early July positive cases increased by 100% over April numbers largely due to outbreaks in Florida, Texas, Arizona and California.



For ease the data is presented as weekly averages beginning from early April.



Testing capacity has been steadily increasing which is a good thing.



The rate of positive cases, which is just the daily positive cases divided by the daily number of tests, began to decrease. It actually fell below the 5% threshold for opening for a couple of weeks, but now it is rising despite the increase in testing. Meaning there is a real increase in virus spread. It also indicates that even more testing is needed to determine the true scope of infection.



The one good note is the expanded testing is now capturing positive cases that have minor symptoms and are not high-risk patients; therefore, the mortality rate is falling daily from a high of 6% to 3.9% on 7/16/2020. The bad news is this is still high compared to some other countries.


Nebraska’s daily cases have leveled off for the past month. Nebraska’s daily testing is steady.



And Nebraska’s rate of positive cases has decreased and remained stable thanks to the shut down.


Nebraska’s mortality rate has been holding steady and is lower than the nation as a whole.



The percentage of the nation’s population that has tested positive for COVID-19 is 1.09%. The percentage of the NE state population that has tested positive is 1.14%.




What is the distribution of positive cases in Nebraska based on age groups?

This means that 1.8% of Nebraskans aged 20-34 have tested positive, whereas 0.5% of children have tested positive, etc. It also indicates that most positive cases have occurred in college and working age adults.


What age groups of Nebraskans are hospitalized and susceptible to death induced by COVID-19?

This means that though most Nebraskans have a very low chance of dying when infected by COVID-19, if they pass it on to the elderly, either directly or indirectly, there is a high probability that a grandparent will die.





COVID-19 has a hospitalization rate and mortality rate. These facts mean any increase in positive cases will result in more people, of all ages, requiring hospital care and more deaths. As an illustration of these facts consider this thought experiment: Even with a vaccine, the flu still infects up to 15% of the population per year. The flu vaccine not only helps reduce infection rates, but also severity and mortality. What if the total Covid19 positive cases reaches 15% of the NE population before a vaccine is widely available? Based on current NE infection distributions, hospitalization rates and mortality rates how many will require care and how many will have died?



What if 100% of the Nebraska population is infected?

We are all needed to prevent this from happening. We do not need to do anything extraordinary to be heroes, we just need to take responsibility for our individual actions and embrace our compassion for others.