Stemming the Surge
A Message from the COVID-19 Coordinator
In my message last week, I reported a notable increase in COVID-19 infections among undergraduate students. Unfortunately, the numbers of undergraduate infections have continued to rise since then. As of this morning, 345 undergraduate students were isolating in Arnold and McClellan Halls, in their residential college rooms, or in their off-campus residences.
This surge is occurring in contrast to the decreasing numbers of infections and hospitalizations in Connecticut and the City of New Haven. COVID-19 infections among our faculty, staff, and graduate and professional students also continue to decline.
Many, many staff members from across the campus have added to or put aside their regular duties, working tirelessly to provide care and support services for students in isolation. We owe it to these staff, to faculty who are restructuring classes, to our classmates and coworkers, and to ourselves to do whatever we can to end the current surge. By taking individual responsibility and working together as we have over the past two years, we can stop this outbreak and move forward with our plans to resume more of those in-person, on-campus activities that we value so greatly.
What can I do to stem the surge?
- Always mask indoors, including in entryways and common spaces and during social gatherings as well as in classrooms and workplaces. Make sure you use Yale-approved masks that fit well and cover both your mouth and nose.
- Gather as safely as possible:
- Large and/or dense unmasked gatherings pose a high risk for COVID-19 transmission. Until campus rates recede, consider safer ways to socialize.
- Follow Safer Yale Practices and the Events, Gatherings, and Meetings policy when planning or attending gatherings.
- Consider taking a rapid COVID-19 test immediately before attending a social gathering, and do not attend if your test is positive. Encourage other attendees to test as well.
- Stay away from others and test as soon as possible if you have any COVID-19 symptoms.
- If you do become infected:
- Follow all isolation instructions provided by the Yale Health Resulting Team and the isolation housing staff. Refrain from any in-person contact with uninfected individuals.
- Share complete and accurate information about your exposures with the Yale Health Resulting and Contact Tracing Teams. Doing so may break the chain of transmission to others.
- Identify and notify all of your close contacts. Even close contacts who are vaccinated and boosted can become infected and must take additional precautions to avoid passing the infection on to others.
- If you learn you are a close contact of someone who tested positive for COVID-19, be sure to observe all required precautions.
And, once again, the benefits of a booster
As I discussed in a previous message, studies show that receiving a booster as soon as you are eligible after your primary COVID-19 vaccination series provides substantial, additional protection against infections and severe disease. (Click on the image below for an illustration of their efficacy.)
In closing, I want to extend my deepest thanks to all of you, especially the front-line staff, who have once again risen to the challenges with impressive and unflagging energy and commitment.
Stephanie S. Spangler, M.D.
Vice Provost for Health Affairs and Academic Integrity
Clinical Professor of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences
University COVID-19 Coordinator