Student Wellness Center

The Student Wellness Center offers free COVID-19 testing to students and certain faculty who are symptomatic or have been exposed to the virus. (Cameron Blunt / Daily Titan)

Since the start of the fall semester, Cal State Fullerton has reported 25 positive COVID-19 cases on campus, including seven students, 15 employees and three vendors or contractors.

In addition, the university revealed that 57 students and 18 employees have tested positive off campus. Numbers are updated weekly on the On-Campus Case Count website.

On Nov. 20, a CSUF athlete on the men's basketball team tested positive for COVID-19, which put the season opener on hold.

Earlier this month, Orange County transitioned into the state’s most restrictive reopening tier amid a surge in cases and hospitalizations. As of Sunday, the county has reported 77,819 coronavirus cases and is averaging about 1,058 daily, according to the Orange County Health Care Agency.

As cases continue to surge, multiple companies have announced news of promising COVID-19 vaccines. Pfizer and BioNTech said the vaccine has a 95% efficiency rate and the Moderna vaccine is 94.5% effective. Both vaccines are awaiting approval from the Food and Drug Administration before they can be permitted in the country.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the United States’ top disease expert, said Americans can expect vaccines to be widely available to the public sometime between April and June. The Trump administration promised that COVID-19 vaccines will be free for all Americans, an effort that President-Elect Joe Biden also plans to ensure.

With news circulating about vaccine distribution, CSUF is looking into ways to provide a vaccine to students.

“We are cautiously optimistic about the vaccine and will work with the Orange County Department of Health on a possible distribution process for students,” said Dr. Mary Becerra, CSUF director of health and services, in an email to the Daily Titan.

Becerra said that the university is unsure if it will make the vaccine a requirement for new and returning students. The chancellor’s office, the state’s Department of Health and the campus community will be involved in making that decision, she added. 

CSUF will continue to follow all guidelines from federal, state and local public health agencies as more information regarding vaccines is released, Becerra said. As of now, it is projected that the vaccine would first be distributed to healthcare workers, people with medical conditions and those at age 65 or older.

Even with the uncertainty of Pfizer and Moderna efficacy rates in the real world, Ellen Treanor, the university’s chief communications officer, said she remains optimistic about CSUF’s planning for the future even with the ups and downs and changes with COVID-19. 

“The difficulty in planning is we put so much effort in a plan and it changes in a day and we are forced to start again,” Treanor said via email. “We are committed to shared governance and participation from faculty, staff and students in decision making, that has been difficult to find areas of agreement fast and constant.”

Treanor went on to say the community has been through a long heartache, but the news on these two vaccines have “been a ray of sunshine in a dim world.”

It is unknown when Pfizer or Moderna will pass trials to be given to the public, but Pfizer filed for an emergency authorization to be reviewed on Dec. 10. The broadcast can be viewed live on Facebook, Twitter, Youtube and the FDA’s website.

“We are all anxious to get back to the vibrant energetic learning community that we all love, and I am optimistic that the vaccine will accelerate our return,” Treanor said.

CSUF students who show symptoms of COVID-19 or who have been exposed to the virus can receive free testing by scheduling a screening with the Student Wellness Center.

This story was last updated on Thursday Dec. 3 to show the most current on-campus and off-campus COVID-19 case counts.

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