May 25, 2022As the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) public health officer, I want to share some important information about COVID-19 resources with you.
UMB COVID-19 Hotline Plans
First and most importantly, the COVID-19 situation has reached a point of stability where we think that we can rely on our own resources and discontinue the external UMB COVID-19 Hotline. As of June 1, callers will reach a recording directing them to report their problem and obtain guidance about isolation, quarantine, return to campus, and testing from the UMB COVID-19 report form at umaryland.edu/reportcovid. Please contact your own doctor for help with clinical issues.
We will continually update this tool as guidance changes. If you have not used this form before, it is designed to provide you with immediate information about what to do in the event of a positive COVID-19 test, symptoms, or exposures, based on the information you put into the form about your situation and immunity.
If you still have questions after using the form or if your situation does not quite fit, please contact our team at UMBOccupationalHealth@som.umaryland.edu. Students also can seek assistance from Student Health by emailing email@example.com. Faculty Physicians, Inc. employees can contact their team at FPIEmployeeHealth@som.umaryland.edu. Even if you know what to do, we appreciate you letting us know about positive COVID-19 tests — the information you share helps us understand campus trends and risks.
We will continue to investigate infection risk and advise members of our community. We will maintain the hotline infrastructure and relationship in case we need it again. The hotline, staffed by Managed Care Advisors, has been an invaluable resource, and we are grateful for all the help from this fabulous team over the past two very challenging years!
Campus COVID-19 Trends
Along with the rest of the country, we saw an increase in reported positive tests in May, but models are projecting that we have passed the peak of this recent increase and cases are expected to decrease.
We are finding that at least half of those with a positive COVID-19 test are still testing positive with rapid antigen tests on Days 5 and 6 after the infection presented. This provides support for our protocol to not permit return to work or school earlier than Day 11, unless you have two negative rapid antigen tests in a row.
Changes to the UMB Vaccine Portal
Our colleagues in the Center for Information Technology Services have modified the COVID-19 vaccine portal to allow collection of vaccine lot number information, which is needed by clinical practice sites attended by many members of our community, especially clinical students.
When you are uploading your vaccine information (primary vaccine or booster), you will see a new field for lot number. You can find some examples of where to find the lot number, depending on your data source here.
Access to COVID Tests
You probably are aware that the federal government is providing free rapid antigen test kits to every household requesting them. Even if you previously received them, you now can order eight test kits at special.usps.com/testkits.
Nomi Health is a good option near campus for a range of COVID-19 testing, including PCR, sometimes rapid PCR, as well as rapid antigen tests. They will bill your insurance and not charge you. You can schedule an appointment Monday through Saturday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., but they can usually see you as a walk-in, too. They are on Baltimore Street between Paca and Eutaw streets.
Students without symptoms can schedule a COVID-19 test at Student Health online: www.umfpi.org/immed-care-covid-a.
Students who are ill are encouraged to call Student Health for an appointment at 667-214-1899.
Test Kit Expirations
You may be concerned that your test kits have passed their expiration dates. Good news! That expiration date was based on the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) needing more evidence of shelf stability. As new tests on the market, manufacturers could not provide this evidence when the kits were first released. Now, most of the test kit companies have provided follow-up information to the FDA, which extended their expiration dates. You can look up your test kits by manufacturer at this webpage to see their new expiration date.
Should You Get a (or Another) Booster?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that all adults get the primary COVID-19 vaccine series, plus one booster at least six months after the first series. Note that staying up to date on this vaccine is a requirement for students in clinical settings. Some adults should get a second booster. Here is a tool from the CDC to help you understand the right booster plan for you.
Marianne Cloeren, MD, MPH
Associate Professor, University of Maryland School of Medicine
UMB Public Health Officer