While COVID-19 levels continue to drop across the state, we can expect some intermittent increases in cases as we relax restrictions. As long as COVID-19 and its variants circulate, there will continue to be cases among us. Based on criteria from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), we are currently at low levels of COVID-19, and the recommendations are to:
- Stay up to date with COVID-19 vaccines. This means get a booster if it has been at least six months since you finished your primary vaccine series. At this point, there is no recommendation for everyone to get additional boosters, but this is something to discuss with your health care provider.
- Get tested if you have symptoms. Options include home testing, Student Health, and Nomi Health on Baltimore Street.
- Use the COVID-19 Report Form or COVID-19 Hotline Exposure Guide for specific recommendations if you have symptoms that may be COVID-19, have had an exposure, or have had a positive COVID-19 test.
- Please stay home if you have symptoms of COVID-19 until your recommended testing comes back negative, or you complete the recommended isolation if your test comes back positive.
- Who should wear a mask?
- If you have had a negative COVID-19 test but still have symptoms, please wear a mask until your symptoms have improved.
- If you were exposed to someone with COVID-19, please wear a mask when around other people until you have completed recommended testing.
- While you are isolating with COVID-19, you should wear a mask around others at home to prevent transmission to them.
- Those with compromised immunity should discuss mask recommendations with their health care provider.
- UMB also strongly recommends mask wearing for those not protected by vaccination.
- Read the CDC recommendations for those with compromised immune systems. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/science/community-levels.html#anchor_47145
Mask wearing is always an option if you want to increase your protection against infection. The best masks are tight-fitting N-95 respirators or KN95 masks, but well-fitting surgical masks are also effective.
Here is another good tool to help you understand the level of risk of being near someone with COVID-19, based on current levels in your community and the number of people who will be there. This online risk calculator from Georgia Tech lets you set the number of people expected at an event or in a place, and then zoom in on the geographic area. Hover over the map to see the estimated chance (0-100 percent) that at least one COVID-19 positive individual will be present at an event in a county, given the size of the event. This tool is one more way to empower yourself with information, so you can decide whether to attend a social event or whether you should wear a mask to protect yourself, based on your feelings about acceptable risk.