Active COVID-19 cases within community continue to decrease

President Michael Crow wrote a letter asking state officials to include ASU faculty in vaccine eligibility before the semester began

Before the University was able to secure 1,000 weekly COVID-19 vaccine doses for the ASU community, ASU President Michael Crow sent an email to state officials asking for faculty to be made eligible in Arizona’s vaccine distribution plan alongside K-12 teachers.

In the Jan. 4 letter addressed to Arizona Department of Health Services Director Cara Christ and Maricopa County Public Health Executive Director Marcy Flanagan, Crow made the case that because ASU faculty teach in person and ASU is “one of the largest employers in Maricopa County," they should be included in the state and county vaccination plan. 

Crow's case was simple: ASU faculty members teach classes in person and should be "treated as the 'teachers' that they are for purposes of the State and County vaccination plan," thousands of students live on campus, and the University is positioned "to demonstrate the efficacy and safety of the integration of the COVID-19 vaccine into a complex operating environment."

"If we can deploy the vaccine here to our classroom teachers, ASU can help advance our collective understanding of the best public health practices for returning our educational facilities, our businesses, and our Arizona communities to higher degrees of operational normalcy," Crow wrote in the letter. 

ASU's Thursday update reported a decrease in active COVID-19 cases within the community for the fifth straight week.

The University reported 178 positive cases within the ASU community Thursday, a decrease of 33 cases compared to the 211 active cases reported Monday.

Of the current active cases reported, 154 are students, with 149 living off campus in the metropolitan Phoenix area. Four students are in isolation on the Tempe campus, while the remaining student is in isolation on the Downtown Phoenix, West or Polytechnic campus.

There are 24 known positives within University faculty and staff members.

Since Jan. 1, the University reported a total of 1,792 cases within the University community, 1,493 of which were students and 299 were University employees. Since Aug. 1, there have been 6,297 cumulative COVID-19 cases.

READ MORE: With COVID-19 managed for now, Crow is optimistic for the future

Neal Woodbury, ASU's interim executive vice president, said in a meeting with Crow and The State Press Monday that over 4,000 people within the ASU community have already been vaccinated. The University is currently operating a COVID-19 vaccine site at the Sun Devil Fitness Complex in Tempe two days a week.

Gov. Doug Ducey announced in a Tweet more than 1.3 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine were administered as of Thursday.

Thursday, ADHS reported 1,143 new COVID-19 cases and 213 newly reported deaths. 

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