Dear Campus Community,
We’re growing closer to the end of the fall semester. It’s not always been easy, but we’re Gators, and we’re persevering, thanks to our collective efforts. As we look ahead to Thanksgiving, that’s something to be grateful for.
And speaking of the holidays, the best way to lessen the impact of COVID-19 on our campus and in the community is to protect yourself, your family and your friends today and throughout this festive time of year. Follow these five tips to stay safer:
How to Have Yourself a Healthy Holiday
Stay home before you go home.
To protect your parents, grandparents and others who are at a higher risk for serious illness, we encourage you to self-quarantine for 14 days before you go home. Minimize your exposure to others, and avoid large groups and risky locations. Have symptoms or awaiting test results? Stay home and celebrate virtually with your family to keep them safe.
Be positive that you’re negative!
Get tested for COVID-19 before you go home and when you come back. Please go to One.UF.edu to schedule a test. It typically takes no more than 72 hours to get results. Remember, a negative test does not mean you won’t become infectious. Wait out the 14-day incubation period to keep your family safe.
Don’t mix your mingle!
COVID-19 is the worst house guest. Keep your guests to a minimum, spend as much time outside as possible and open the windows, or consider celebrating virtually to help reduce the chance of infection and spread.
Be safe when you get home.
Going out the night before your family celebration may be a fun tradition, but this year you could bring COVID-19 home from the bars. Keep grandma and other at-risk family safer by choosing celebrations that keep friends 6 feet apart, masked and outdoors.
Get your flu shot.
The flu and COVID-19 are in the air. Masks and a flu shot make a great pair. Schedule your vaccination before you go!
New cases on campus are holding steady and our percent positives from our targeted testing is hovering around a 7-day average of 4% or less. Statewide case numbers are slowly but steadily creeping up, and we expect to see an increase statewide as temperatures cool and people spend more time inside during the holidays. The trend nationally, especially in colder climates, is all the more reason for us to keep following guidelines that we know can lessen the risk of spreading the infection to more vulnerable people. What’s happening around the country with record levels of cases and hospitalizations does not have to happen here. We have the ability to slow the spread and protect others more vulnerable. Remember, it’s not just about you.
Our COVID-19 Data Dashboard
Remember to visit our COVID-19 Data Dashboard here, where you can see current case numbers. The site was redesigned last month as part of our continuous effort to provide information in the clearest and most thorough way possible.
We’re preparing to roll out a series of short videos where I respond to common questions from students about COVID-19. Keep an eye out for it on social media!
Thanks for continuing to make good choices. Aim to get tested before the holiday break, and regardless, remember to stay home and get tested if you are sick or were in contact with someone with COVID-19. You may not be at high risk yourself but you might come into contact with others who have conditions that put them at risk of serious illness.
Rest assured, we will be monitoring the ongoing evolution of the pandemic throughout the remainder of the fall semester as well as during the winter break. And we are working with university leadership on plans for the spring semester.
In the meantime, wear your mask. Physically distance. Wash your hands often. Avoid large social gatherings. And keep encouraging others to do the same.
Michael Lauzardo, M.D., M.Sc.
Director, UF Health Screen, Test & Protect
Deputy Director, Emerging Pathogens Institute