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Public health update: Sept. 14, 2021

Published: September 14, 2021 Author: Staff reports

Dear OHIO community members,

I have good news to report this week: our Athens campus passed the 70 percent vaccination threshold yesterday for students, faculty, and staff combined. This is excellent news, and I am proud that we are making great strides in our efforts to stay safe. As I have shared before, getting vaccinated against COVID-19 is the best way to protect yourself and to lower the risk of disease transmission within our University community.

Our efforts also make a great impact on the communities where we are located. Yesterday, the leaders of nine hospitals across Southeast Ohio issued a statement asking individuals to wear masks and get vaccinated if they are eligible. They need all of us to help flatten the curve so that hospitals are not overwhelmed by COVID-19 patients.

Things you can do to help your fellow Bobcats and our communities

Students, faculty, and staff on all OHIO campuses can help the University get through the current surge in cases:

  • Continue to follow basic, proven precautions like masking, avoiding large crowds (even outdoors), and getting vaccinated. Simple actions like this will dampen the surge if we do them together.
  • If you are sick, STAY HOME! No exceptions! Our office has managed a concerning number of cases of individuals with known symptoms and even positive tests continuing to go to class, work, and activities, spreading disease. Whether you “feel fine” but have a positive test or have COVID symptoms but are uncertain what is causing them, do not go out in public. In addition to putting our community at risk, not taking  COVID symptoms seriously is a violation of the Presidential Health Directives
  • One call is all: Many of you are responding to long wait times for callbacks from COVID Operations by calling repeatedly. While we appreciate your frustration, limiting to one call will help us move through our queue and get back to you faster. If you have submitted an incident report or left a message, you are in our queue for a callback. Please sit tight and know we will contact you as soon as we can. One email is plenty, too. Multiples contribute to slower response times.
  • If you test positive, experience symptoms, or are exposed to COVID-19, follow the OHIO COVID-19 Protocol.
  • If you are experiencing symptoms and need a symptomatic COVID-19 test, do not go to our asymptomatic testing centers at Shively or Grosvenor (you could unintentionally spread the virus there). Instead, contact COVID Operations, and then immediately contact your primary care physician (if you are a student on the Athens campus you can contact Campus Care). Your medical provider will help you schedule a symptomatic test, which you should get ASAP. Please do not wait until you hear back from COVID Operations.
  • If you receive an email or text asking you to participate in text-based symptom monitoring, opt in ASAP. This will expedite COVID Operations' ability to care for you and others. 
  • If you are asked to participate in extra testing due a large exposure, complete the testing, even if you are vaccinated. 

Thank you for doing your part to help stop the spread of disease.

What happens after you contact COVID Operations

Our COVID Campus Liaisons (CCLs) respond to every call and incident report, prioritizing callbacks based on symptoms and risks of spreading the virus.

Our CCLs are case managers who are trained to do contract tracing for the Athens City-County Health Department, to provide direct care and support on behalf of Ohio University, and to help OHIO community members manage quarantine or isolation.

If you have contacted COVID Operations, a CCL will be in touch as soon as they are able after helping the individuals who are in the queue in front of you.

Dr. Gillian Ice
Special Assistant to the President for Public Health Operations

Resources from COVID Operations

What to do if you test positive, have symptoms, or are exposed to COVID-19
Students, faculty and staff who test positive for COVID-19, experience symptoms, or are exposed to a COVID-positive person should follow the OHIO COVID-19 Protocol

Reference guide for isolation and quarantine
Find details on what you need to do based on your vaccination status.

Get a vaccine on campus or beyond 
Getting vaccinated against COVID-19 is the best way to protect yourself, and the best way to protect our Bobcat community. 

Bobcats Get Vaxxed Incentive Program
Not yet vaccinated against COVID-19? Check out these incentives for students, faculty, and staff who beat the November 15 deadline.

Keep tabs on COVID-19 on OHIO campuses
Monitor OHIO's COVID-19 testing, case rates, vaccination rates and more on OHIO's COVID-19 Dashboard.