U of U implements new COVID-19 safety protocols on campus

Photo Courtesy: U of U

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah, Jan. 7, 2022 (Gephardt Daily) — The University of Utah has implemented new COVID-19 safety protocols on campus.

“COVID-19 is still a threat on campus,” said a news release from the U of U. “The new Omicron variant, while potentially less deadly, is more highly transmissible. This means more people will be getting sick than before, even if the illness is not as severe. We are already seeing this reality appear as the number of confirmed cases has increased among our community — even as a fraction of people have been on campus during the winter break.”

To keep cases manageable and keep campus operational, the U of U is recommending that the campus community:

Get tested

Staff and students should get tested weekly, even if asymptomatic.

“Getting tested on campus is now easier than ever,” the U said. “There are eight self-serve locations where anyone with a uNID can pick up an asymptomatic testing kit and then return it at their convenience.”

All locations are open during the building’s hours, which means some are open 24 hours. Test results will be sent to the uNID email attached to the test within 12-36 hours of it being dropped off.

These tests are not for people experiencing symptoms, U. officials said. Those who feel ill will need to go to one of the staffed testing centers on campus.

For more information on testing availability and procedures, visit this page.

Get vaccinated and boosted

“Protecting yourself against COVID-19 with a vaccine and boosters makes it less likely you will contract the virus or suffer from serious illness if you do,” the news release said. “This protects not only you but everyone in our community, as well as the capacity of our health care system.”

Free vaccinations are available on campus. Boosters are also available at these clinics. Booster eligibility differs depending on the vaccine received. Follow these guidelines:

  • Johnson & Johnson: Two months after initial vaccination
  • Pfizer: Five months after the second dose of the vaccine
  • Moderna: Six months after the second dose of the vaccine

For more information about vaccines, visit this page.

Follow the 5-5-5

“The Omicron surge is setting records for case counts in Utah and nationwide,” the news release said. “Transmissions of this variant are extremely high, with each new infection creating on average more than two new additional infections. These new infections then go on to infect two or more people and so forth, creating a powerful multiplying effect. As is occurring in other parts of the country and world, we anticipate a sharp drop will follow this sharp rise in cases.”

If you test positive for COVID, you need to do the following:

  • Isolate for five days. Isolation will last for 10 days in housing and residential education buildings.
  • Test again five days after the initial test.
  • Mask for five days when around others after the isolation period is over.

The 5-5-5 rule should also be followed by those who are exposed to COVID-19 and who have not been vaccinated against the virus, or who have not been boosted but are eligible for a booster shot.

Wear a mask

“Masks are the first line of defense when you are around others, even if you are vaccinated,” the news release said. “If you are in an indoor space with others or any large crowd you should be wearing one. Make sure it is covering both your mouth and your nose. Well-fitting surgical masks, KN95s, or N95s protect better than cloth masks.”

University leadership is monitoring COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations on a daily basis. “Along with public health and legislative partners, we will continue to evaluate our health and safety protocols throughout the semester,” the news release said. “Things could change rapidly and should circumstances change we will take steps to protect the wellbeing of our campus community. We urge everyone to be patient and kind to each other during these times. The ultimate kindness is to protect each other by following COVID protocols.”

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