July 30, 2021 | Additional caution needed as COVID delta variant cases increase
Dear Faculty, Staff, Students, Residents and Fellows:
Thank you to everyone who has complied with the campus precautionary measures requested last week due to the highly contagious delta variant. The enhanced spread of the delta variant compels us to reinstate strong recommendations regarding masking and our having no communal or shared meals.
New CDC data suggest that vaccinated individuals can be transmission vectors for the delta COVID variant, and we are seeing an increase in “breakthrough” COVID cases with the delta variant—vaccinated people who have documented infections. As these breakthrough cases increase, and in light of the exceptional infectivity of the delta variant now, I want to clarify that “no communal or shared meals” means that, even with individually packaged meals, persons must eat in separate areas, or at least six feet apart, to avoid any unintended exposures.
It is my hope to be able to keep on-site dining facilities open and see on-campus learning activities continue. However, to maintain safe operations, everyone must comply with these safety measures and be alert for any acute respiratory symptoms, even if mild. Please stay home and pursue testing if symptoms develop. In addition, everyone on our campus should wear their mask when indoors and when within six feet of others.
We are a health care institution and our patients are depending on us for care during this very challenging period. Therefore, we must endeavor to keep our entire campus population and environment as safe as possible during this time.
Thank you for your understanding and cooperation.
William L. Henrich, MD, MACP
President and Professor of Medicine