Editor's note: Ted Cieslak, MD, interim executive director for health security at UNMC, shares the following message with the UNMC community.
As you likely know, the incidence of COVID-19 in Nebraska has been increasing. Nonetheless, the number of cases seen on the UNMC campuses has remained low enough as to enable us to continue on-campus learning safely. Students, staff and faculty are to be commended for their diligence in adhering to the fundamentals of campus COVID-19 control and for doing their part in keeping our campus safe.
Still, as cases in the community increase, we have seen a handful of infections among our own personnel. Fortunately, virtually all of these individuals have done well and many are returning to work and study.
Moreover, as the COVID-19 pandemic progresses, our knowledge about it increases. We now know that immunocompetent individuals who have contracted the disease usually cease shedding viable virus within the first few days after the onset of symptoms or the discovery of a positive test. Accordingly, these individuals are able to return to work and to on-campus learning within as few as 10 days after the onset of illness or test positivity. Rest assured that they will do so only after being cleared by the Employee Health or Student Health clinics.
While we are certain that it is safe for these individuals to return to campus and we celebrate their recovery, we nonetheless take this opportunity to emphasize that we all must:
- Continue to practice the seven fundamentals of Campus COVID Control (including daily use of the 1-Check UNMC app, now available on Android platforms).
- Continue to follow the advice of your Employee Health (EH) or Student Health (SH) practitioner in determining the need for isolation or quarantine.
- If you developed symptoms, screened "Red" on the 1-Check app, or tested positive for COVID, seek EH or SH clearance before returning to campus.
- Avoid the "three Cs" -- crowded places, close contact and confined spaces -- whether at work or in the community to help slow the spread of the virus.
Thank you again for all of the sacrifices you have been making to keep our campus safe.
Better days are coming.