Educating the public about steps to prevent COVID-19 infections is a continuous process, even a year later.
The University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) Infection Prevention Team tested the UMB community’s knowledge about campus prevention measures and what happens to your health information during a virtual chat Tuesday, April 6, through the app Kahoot, then answered audience questions.
“The more confidence we have that we are protected, the easier it will be to open things up,” said Marianne Cloeren, MD, MPH, FACP, FACOEM, associate professor at the University of Maryland School of Medicine and an occupational medicine specialist. “The information we have about things like vaccination status and having confidence that if someone has a positive COVID test that we’ll hear about it, those things will inspire confidence that we can protect each other.”
An announcement that will make it easier for faculty, staff, and students to share vaccination status from providers outside of UMB is expected soon.
UMB faculty, staff, and students can currently self-report vaccination status via SAFE on Campus or by visiting the UMB student and employee portal at GetTheShotBaltimore.org.
“About a third of our population, we don’t have information about vaccine status,” Cloeren said.
A limited number of employees will return to campus starting June 1, having to get into a routine of following on-campus safety protocols.
Valérie Belizaire, MPH, contact tracing manager for UMB, offered these simple reminders for employees returning to UMB for the first time in over a year:
- Wear a face covering
- Complete the SAFE on Campus daily health screening
- Practice physical distancing
- Stay home if you’re sick
- Call the UMB COVID-19 Hotline if you show symptoms, have a positive test, or have been exposed
Take the UMB Infection Prevention Team quiz yourself below then read on for explanations from the team.
Which of the following are scenarios where SARS-CoV-2 (novel coronavirus) can be transmitted very efficiently to many people?
A. A party/social gathering with more than 5 people
B. The breakroom
C. A shared living space with roommates
D. All of the above
A person testing positive for COVID-19 but not exhibiting symptoms is not a risk to others.
Your friend has been notified that he tested positive for COVID-19. Which of the following persons would be considered a contact of his? Choose all that apply.
A. His neighbor who played cards with him several times a week
B. His girlfriend who lives with him
C. His niece who drops off groceries outside for him on the front step
D. His cousin who played cards with him one week before he began to feel bad
(Answer: A & B)
“When we do contact tracing and we’re looking at who’s at risk from developing COVID from a positive person, we look at two days before your positive test or two days before your symptoms developed,” said Bria Graham-Glover, MPH, CIC, infection prevention epidemiologist.
To the best of your knowledge, who is notified of your test results when you upload them to SAFE on Campus?
A. School leadership
B. UMB Infection Prevention Team
C. UMB COVID-19 Hotline
D. All of the above
When you have symptoms, a positive test or possible high-risk exposure, students, faculty, and staff are to call the UMB COVID-19 Hotline. The COVID-19 Hotline will not make the first call.
At its peak, 80 UMB faculty, staff, and students called the COVID-19 Hotline in January with a positive COVID test, and November was the second highest month at 77, Cloeren said.
What’s in common with those two months? Increased exposure risk from gatherings during the holidays.
My school is automatically notified of my positive COVID-19 result.
School leadership will receive notification on who provided test results but not the results themselves, Cloeren said.
In which of the following situations would the UMB Infection Prevention team have to notify the school in contact tracing? Select all that apply.
A. Exposure event involving large numbers of people who need to be quarantined
B. School help is needed identifying those with high-risk exposure
C. Student with positive test has been strictly remote, off campus for weeks
D. No high-risk exposures are identified when interviewing the student
(Answer: A & B)
“When you are contacted by the contact tracer and you give out that information, it is still protected information. That information does not automatically go to your school leadership,” Graham-Glover said.
Exceptions include if an exposure involves a large number of people who need to be quarantined or if the contact tracing team is unable to make contact with someone who has a positive case or high-risk exposure.
The most important ways COVID-19 is spread is through droplets of saliva, discharge from the nose, and when an infected person coughs or sneezes.
Once I register, I have to complete the SAFE on Campus daily health screening if I am teleworking or learning remotely.
“Once you register, if you are not on campus, you can pause SAFE on Campus,” Graham-Glover said.
Select the high-risk activities that have been associated with the transmission of COVID-19. Select all that apply.
A. Attending gatherings
B. Going to a bar
C. Dining outside of the home
D. Jogging outside
(Answer: A, B, and C)
“Going to a bar is a very high-risk activity. You’re in close contact with people,” Graham-Glover said. “If you’re drinking or eating, there’s no way you can wear a mask so you’re very unprotected in that situation.”
If I have been fully vaccinated, I do not have to call the UMB COVID-19 Hotline if I have symptoms or a high-risk exposure to someone who is positive.
“You may or may not be quarantined, but please call the nurse case managers for them to assess your risk,” Graham-Glover said.
Cloeren reminded people that there are a lot of people not vaccinated yet, there are more communicable strains of COVID-19, and people and some government agencies are fatigued from restrictions and are relaxing, causing continued outbreaks.
“This virus is still spreading around, and some of the strains are very easy to pass,” she said.