From Our Epidemiologist

Welcome to the first in a series of messages brought to you by UF Health Screen, Test & Protect aimed at providing you with information about what we are doing to help you navigate through this difficult time. In just a few short months, all of us throughout the UF community have had our lives disrupted in ways we could never have imagined, and for many this has led to a range of emotions and responses that leave us feeling confused and powerless.

However, despite the lack of control we may sometimes feel, each of us can do many things that help keep us safer. In response to the unprecedented challenges posed by COVID-19, UF Health has created the Screen, Test & Protect program to ensure safer access to work and school for the nearly 100,000 people who make up the UF community. But this initiative is much more than that — it’s an important public health effort that gives us the tools needed to control those things that are in our power and to make informed, compassionate and competent choices to ensure we care for our community and for each other.

Screen, Test & Protect harnesses the world-class expertise of UF Health professionals who have been working tirelessly throughout the pandemic to ensure we provide the best care and advice possible to those who are entrusted to our care.

So, how does it work? In short, it’s a public health approach focused on identifying cases of COVID-19 and isolating and quarantining as necessary to slow the spread of the coronavirus. The public health activities include screening for all faculty, staff and students, increased testing, contact tracing with targeted isolation/quarantining and ongoing disease surveillance.

What Screen, Test & Protect is not is a guarantee that no one in the UF campus community will get sick with COVID-19. Cases at UF are inevitable — no program can prevent every infection in the face of a pandemic. But the activities of Screen, Test & Protect are designed to limit the impact of these cases and protect those who are most vulnerable. Additionally, our expert team will evaluate the performance of the program at regular intervals to see that current practices remain effective and, if necessary, to incorporate the latest recommendations based on the best information available at the time. Our commitment includes communicating regularly about the results of our efforts and any adjustments introduced along the way.

Thanks again for your efforts to help make our community safer. Look for more messages from Screen, Test & Protect. Together, we will slow the spread. I know we all look forward to a day free of COVID-19. In the meantime, please visit the Screen, Test & Protect website for more information, including guidelines, FAQs and links to other helpful resources.

Michael Lauzardo, MD, MSc
Deputy Director, Emerging Pathogens Institute
Associate Professor, Division of Infectious Diseases and Global Medicine
UF College of Medicine