CLU’s Thousand Oaks campus sees an increase in COVID-19 cases

Haley Clark, Reporter

According to the California Lutheran University COVID-19 dashboard, there were six new COVID-19 cases on the Thousand Oaks campus on Nov. 15, with zero reported cases the week before. Saul Miller, interim director of Health Services, said that this is the most significant numerical increase of cases seen all this semester from one week to the next.

“I think our fluctuation in numbers is pretty consistent with the overall fluctuations in Ventura County,” Miller said in an email interview.

Miller said he does not think there is anything unique about Cal Lutheran that made the numbers go up this past week.

“We need to view Cal Lutheran as a community that lives within the much larger community of Ventura County and thus will likely follow similar patterns to the county as a whole,” Miller said. 

​​​​Associate Vice President of Operations and Planning Ryan Van Ommeren said he is not aware of any one connected event or situation that led to the increase of case numbers. 

“We are always paying close attention and doing serious contact tracing to look for possible connections between positive cases to monitor for potential outbreaks or super spreader events,” Miller said.

Van Ommeren said this semester has gone well when it comes to keeping COVID-19 procedures in place on campus. 

“I was a little worried we were going to have more cases coming up but at least right now we haven’t had a new case this week,” Van Ommeren said.

Miller said the numbers show that Cal Lutheran is doing very well at managing the pandemic. 

“We have thousands of individuals – students, employees, and visitors – using our campuses daily. Out of these thousands of individuals, we only ever have a handful of cases per week,” Miller said.

Miller said keeping procedures in place depends on everyone working together to do the best they can to limit the risks to others.

“It depends on us all monitoring our behaviors and encouraging safe behaviors from others, including masking, getting vaccinated, and getting tested when we have symptoms or exposure,” Miller said.

Van Ommeren said only unvaccinated students are regularly being tested. 

“This really does give us a nice control group to know if we have COVID on campus,” Van Ommeren said.

Van Ommeren said if you test positive once you can then be asymptomatic and no longer be contagious but still test positive.

“We don’t require testing in those situations but if you’re exposed and spend any amount of time with somebody who tests positive, vaccinated or unvaccinated, you have to get a test under those circumstances,” Van Ommeren said.

Van Ommeren said if a student tests positive they cannot attend their classes over Zoom.

“We definitely ask that the faculty be gracious and work with the students so that they can do the assignments that are due and receive any of the materials that have been distributed,” Van Ommeren said. 

Miller said there are numerous things which can be done to be safe this holiday season.

“I believe the best thing to do is get vaccinated if you are able and eligible and encourage others to do so,” Miller said.

Van Ommeren said students should be cautious when it comes to getting together with groups outside of one’s family. 

“I also recommend being honest and truthful with yourself. While we all want to see loved ones that we might not have seen in a long time, if you are feeling sick or having symptoms of COVID, consider staying home or not visiting family members,” Miller said. “I think we all want to keep our friends and family safe, and we can always reschedule a visit in the future.”

According to the most recent update on the COVID-19 dashboard, there were no new cases of COVID-19 reported as of Nov. 29.

This article was updated on Dec. 1 at 11:10 a.m. to reflect current COVID-19 updates on the Thousand Oaks campus.