COVID-19 Cases Increasing: Taking Care of Ourselves
A message was sent to the Drexel community about COVID-19 cases rising again in Philadelphia and at Drexel. The message included reminders on what to do when infected and how to continue to pay special attention to wellness.
COVID-19 cases are rising again in Philadelphia and the Drexel community. The vast majority of these cases involve subvariants of Omicron that do not lead to serious illness requiring hospitalization. However, moderate symptomatic disease does occur and can be uncomfortable and disruptive to individuals and their friends and families. All infected persons are still required to be isolated for at least 5 days. To help us avert the need for additional restrictions, please follow Drexel public health guidelines including:
- Monitor your health. If you feel ill or are exposed, stay home and get tested. If you test positive at home or in any setting other than Drexel’s testing sites, email firstname.lastname@example.org (if a student) or email@example.com (if a Drexel employee) and also report your result through the Drexel Health Checker.
- Wear a well-fitting, high filtration mask over your nose and mouth in all “masks required” settings.
- In general, at this time of high transmission we strongly encourage you to mask when indoors around others.
- Engage in outdoor activities and events where possible.
Dear Drexel Students and Colleagues,
As our dashboard data reveals, Drexel has seen an increase in positive COVID-19 tests over the past two weeks. While the CDC COVID county tracker lists Philadelphia in the “green zone,” local health department data also show rising positive case rates. The majority of the Drexel community is not required to undergo routine testing, and our dashboard only captures PCR tests done through our testing sites; however, we are also receiving additional reports of positive rapid tests among some Drexel employees and students. The current Omicron subvariants, while often causing less severe disease, are highly transmissible. Despite our high vaccination and booster rates, it is still possible to catch and spread COVID-19. To avoid the need for additional restrictions, please pay special attention to your wellness and to our public health guidelines.
Watch for Symptoms, Get Tested, Report
While not everyone with COVID develops symptoms, they are still common even among people who are vaccinated. The current Omicron variants can cause congestion, sore throat, cough, fatigue, fever and muscle aches, among other symptoms. Some students also experience chest discomfort requiring further evaluation and treatment. If you feel ill, it’s a good idea to get tested, even if you suspect it could be allergies. In addition, if you are notified of a COVID exposure, be sure to wear a mask around others and get tested after five days, even if you feel fine. If you have symptoms sooner than 5 days after exposure, you should also test.
If you receive a positive COVID test result (any type of test) outside of a Drexel testing site, please isolate yourself and report it to us through the Drexel Health Checker AND email firstname.lastname@example.org (if you are a student) or email@example.com (if you are a Drexel employee). We contact trace every case we’re informed of in our on-campus community. All students and employees who test positive at a Drexel testing site or report a home positive rapid test will initially receive an important email from our COVID tracing team. Please respond to members of our team that reach out to you via email or phone.
Wear Your Mask Indoors
The majority of COVID-19 infections in our community continue to be acquired either at home/through family or through attendance at indoor social events in which attendees did not mask. We still have no documented evidence of transmission within classrooms or in other indoor academic/administrative settings where mask-wearing still predominates.
A mask is always required (and food consumption is prohibited) in the following areas:
- ALL classrooms, laboratories and studios that are being used for lectures or instructional purposes.
- Disability Resources testing spaces.
- Ticketed events in Mandell and the Urban Annex Black Box Theaters, and dance studios (attendees must mask).
- All health care facilities—including, but not limited to: Student Health Services, Occupational Health Services, and the Counseling Center.
- All health care rotations in the College of Nursing and Health Professions and College of Medicine, and co-op health care positions.
At this time of increased viral transmission, we also strongly encourage you to wear your mask in all other indoor social or public settings when not eating. Make sure your mask fits well over both your nose and mouth. The most effective masks are respirator masks, which you can acquire free through Drexel (KN95 and/or KF94 masks are available at the Hagerty Library, DAC, Recreation Center, Main Building Lobby, Kline School of Law, New College Building lobby, the Queen Lane security desk and Drexel COVID testing centers) or through vendors participating in the U.S. government’s free N95 program.
Enjoy the Outdoors
Outdoor events and activities are always preferable to ones held indoors, especially at times when there are increases in viral transmission. Where possible, make plans to enjoy socialization and the spring weather by attending and planning events outside. This is the time of year for celebrating so many achievements! Please do so with health and well-being in mind.
This is a challenging point in the pandemic, during which our options for responding are more varied and personal than ever. As an individual, it can be hard to know what to do. Many are exhausted from all the guidelines and all of us want this to be over. Please take every precaution you can while looking out for your whole health.While infections are rising, hospitalizations related to severe COVID are not spiking nearly to the same extent. However, it’s not always possible to tell who will be affected most severely in our community. We must all prioritize protecting ourselves from infection while also protecting each other.
Thank you and Be Well,
Marla J. Gold, MD
Chief Wellness Officer
Senior Vice Provost for Community Health
Janet Cruz, MD
Director, Drexel Student Health