February 23, 2024

Public Health Reminders for Seasonal Illnesses (Oct. 28)

Dear UMW Community,

This week the COVID-19 community level remains low, as reported on the CDC tracker. Based on this level of transmission, the CDC’s recommended action is to “Stay up to date with COVID-19 vaccines. Get tested if you have symptoms. Wear a mask if you have symptoms, a positive test, or exposure to someone with COVID-19. Wear a mask on public transportation. You may choose to wear a mask at any time as an additional precaution to protect yourself and others.”

Seasonal illnesses, including RSV (Respiratory Syncytial Virus) and the flu, are also common this time of year, and you may have seen recent news of a potential outbreak at a Stafford County high school. The Rappahannock Area Health District is working with Stafford County Public Schools to investigate and keep the community informed. State health officials urge residents to be ready for an increase in respiratory illness and recommend vaccination and practicing preventive health habits.

Everyday preventive actions recommended by the CDC to reduce the spread of flu include avoiding close contact with people who are sick. If you are sick, limit contact with others as much as possible to keep from infecting them, and please stay home. You can avoid spreading germs by covering coughs and sneezes, washing your hands often with soap and water, or using hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available. Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with viruses that cause flu.

There’s still time to be vaccinated against flu, and the next on-campus vaccine clinic is Thursday, Nov. 17, or you can find vaccines via the CDC website. The CDC also notes that it is safe to get both a COVID-19 vaccine and flu vaccine at the same time.

UMW continues to evaluate the COVID-19 pandemic in accordance with public health guidance and will provide updates to the campus community when there are significant updates from the CDC or an increase in our community levels. We are also monitoring the latest data and information about the spread of monkeypox, and working in partnership with the Rappahannock Area Health District. For information on monkeypox transmission, visit the Virginia Department of Health’s monkeypox website, call the VDH hotline at 877-829-4682, or visit the CDC monkeypox transmission website.

Take care,

UMW’s Public Health Advisory Working Group