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Sept. 16 employee message: Updates on close contacts, testing and more

September 16, 2021

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This message covers:

  • COVID-19 cases on and off campus
  • Testing update
  • New FAQs on close contacts
  • How to protect yourself and others
  • How to get support and stay informed

Dear faculty and staff,

Thank you for all you’re doing to keep our campus community healthy by being vaccinated, wearing masks indoors, washing/sanitizing your hands frequently and testing if you’re having symptoms or are not yet fully vaccinated. Because of your efforts, UW–Madison is seeing far fewer COVID-19 cases than we saw this time last year.

As the delta variant continues to spread through Wisconsin, 71 out of 72 counties are experiencing a high level of transmission, although Dane County’s rate remains well below most other areas. As expected, campus is seeing a rise in cases, which is likely to continue over the next couple of weeks.

Please keep in mind that the precautions we are all taking on campus – such as getting vaccinated, masking indoors and staying home if sick – remain the appropriate response to protect yourself in the classroom, office and lab.  Further, our testing recommendations and specific requirements for unvaccinated people aim to identify as many cases as possible, as quickly as possible, to limit the spread. And with our high campus vaccination rate – 91.5 percent and climbing – most campus cases will be mild. Nevertheless, these precautions are important to protect children who are too young to be vaccinated yet and other more vulnerable members of our community.

Please also be aware that there are other respiratory viruses circulating that are not COVID-19. The university is seeing a number of people who report symptoms and are testing negative for COVID-19. Please continue testing and staying home if you have symptoms.

Testing update

  • If you are having symptoms, if you are required to test because you do not have a vaccination record on file with UHS, or if you are a close contact of someone with COVID-19, make an appointment to be tested through the MyUHS app or website. (See below for more information on close contacts.)
  • Check all testing sites for available appointments as some, such as University Club, are less busy than others.
  • If you’re required to test weekly, make your next appointment as soon as you’ve completed your weekly test.

New FAQs on close contacts

How to protect yourself and others

  • Choose a good quality face mask and wear it properly: Multi-layer cloth or disposable masks that have a nose wire and fit properly over your nose and mouth to prevent leaks provide the best protection, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
  • Stay home if you have COVID-19 symptoms, even if you are vaccinated. Use the coronavirus self-checker from the CDC.
  • If you test positive, follow these instructions for isolation. Be ready to provide information to campus contact tracers so they can reach out to people you’ve been in close contact with and let them know what actions to take.

How to get support and stay informed