UM COVID Communication: September 10, 2021

Need More Reasons to Get the COVID-19 Vaccine? Read on:

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lists several benefits of getting vaccinated, along with links to in-depth information to learn more. Among the benefits:

  • COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective.
  • The Delta variant causes more infections and spreads more readily.
  • Once you are fully vaccinated, you can start doing more.
  • Vaccines offer a safer way to build protection (versus simply recovering from COVID-19).
  • None of the COVID-19 vaccines can make you sick with COVID-19.

The CDC also maintains an updated Frequently Asked Questions page regarding COVID-19 vaccination.

Get your free COVID-19 vaccines at the Health Services Pharmacy inside Curry Health Center. Walk-ins are welcome!

Missoula County COVID-19 Cases Continue Rising

Today’s Missoula County Data Dashboard for COVID-19 shows 114 new cases of COVID-19 and a total of 852 active cases. There are currently 23 active UM-affiliated cases. Please continue to wear masks and practice other effective mitigations (social distancing, hand washing) to limit COVID-19 transmission on campus.

Looking at the data regarding the percent of current active cases by age group, the 20 to 29 age group makes up the highest percentage of total cases, at 20.92%. This is followed closely by the 30 to 39 age group with 18.68% of the total active cases.

Individuals ages 20 to 49 comprise more than half (54.29%) of all active COVID-19 cases in Missoula County.

Let’s Talk About Vaccines and Masks

In a recently-recorded video message, UM Dr. Jeff Adams discussed vaccines and masks – two of the most effective mitigations to protect you from severe illness due to COVID-19.

Average Number of Close Contacts per Positive COVID-19 Case Much Higher than Last Year

One key component in COVID-19 case management that is substantially different than last year is the average number of close contacts reported during case investigation. Last year, the average number of close contacts – both for UM and community cases – was five to seven people. This year, that number is frequently 20 to 30 people. The volume of contacts is hindering contact tracing efforts. Keep your social circles small while we continue to experience accelerated spread in the Missoula Community.

Missoula County and Curry Health Center COVID Testing

Curry Health Center is offering free COVID-19 testing for:

  • Those currently experiencing symptoms consistent with COVID-19.
  • Missoula City-County Health Department-verified close contacts to positive cases.

Neither testing facility is able to offer asymptomatic or travel testing at this time due to the high volume of symptomatic and close-contact testing. Close contacts seeking tests will need to provide health department verification.

Guidance for Vaccinated and Unvaccinated Close Contacts to Positive Cases

  • If you are a close contact of a positive case as a fully vaccinated individual:
  • You do not have to quarantine unless you have COVID-19 symptoms.
  • Get tested three to five days after exposure.
  • Wear a mask in public indoor settings for 14 days after exposure or until you receive a negative test result.

If you are a close contact of a positive case and you are not vaccinated or partially vaccinated:

  • You should self-quarantine (wearing masks in all indoor public spaces if you do venture out) and await word from Missoula City-County Health Department. If you become symptomatic, seek a COVID-19 test immediately.
  • As an MCCHD-verified close contact, you will be ordered to quarantine for up to 14 days, depending on your specific case and exposure.

Remember, only MCCHD officials can issue quarantine or isolation orders.

As you head into the weekend, remember these simple steps to reduce your COVID-19 risk: Wear a mask, wash your hands and watch your distance.

Be well,

COVID Response Team

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