7/8/22 | Bexar County COVID-19 community level at medium (yellow)

Dear UT Health San Antonio faculty, staff and learners:

Based on data reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as July 8 2022, Bexar County has been elevated to red status, or high level for COVID-19 with positivity rates at 30% of those tested in Bexar County.

Campus safety guidelines allow for the option to wear masks at any time. However, patient care areas will continue to require masks at all times while at work, including all break areas. Please maintain continued diligence to thoughtfully plan indoor meetings and food services. We also encourage continuing safety precautions with summer travel.

Our infectious diseases team continues to monitor the situation closely. We are extending the following actions out of an abundance of caution and to help keep our employees and learners safe:

  • Masks are optional to wear on campus except in patient care areas where masks are required. Social distancing should be observed whenever possible.
  • Schedule a vaccine or a booster. Boosters can further enhance or restore protection that might have decreased over time after your primary series vaccine. Locations include the Medical Arts and Research Center (MARC), or Wellness 360 located in the School of Nursing. Visit the CDC website to learn more about COVID-19 vaccine booster recommendations.
  • If you need a COVID-19 test, please visit our scheduling website or visit our COVID-19 website for more instructions on testing.
  • If you have tested positive for COVID-19, report the results to COVID-19@uthscsa.edu.
  • If you have tested positive for COVID-19, visit the CDC for quarantine and isolation recommendations, which include staying home for at least 5 full days (day 1 is the first day of symptoms or the date of the day of the positive viral test for asymptomatic persons). More severe disease may require more than 5 days. The Employee Illness Bank is still an option for those requiring time off due to illness, or you may be able to work from home as approved by your supervisor.
  • Mission-critical travel and campus visitors will continue to be allowed at the discretion of departmental leadership. International travel to countries designated as high risk by the U.S. State department as noted here require approval of the departmental leadership and the institutional International Oversight Committee. If international travel to a high-risk destination (Level 3 or 4) is necessary, a waiver request should be submitted to the International Oversight Committee a minimum of 30 days before the trip.
  • Thoughtfully plan in-person meetings and large events with respect to distancing and food offerings.
  • If you have questions, you may email COVID-19@uthscsa.edu.

For those employees who work in patient care settings, the following protocols were sent out last week from Chatchawin Assanasen, MD, interim chief medical officer for UT Health Physicians Ambulatory Services:

  • Mask requirements will continue to apply for all patients, faculty, trainees, students, staff and visitors to UT Health Physicians clinics.
  • Masks will now need to be worn within all clinical practice environments/buildings, as well the previously required spaces. This includes workrooms, shared offices and gathering areas within clinics when staff cannot maintain 6 feet of safe distancing.
  • All current COVID screening steps will remain in place and enforced by the clinic staff.
    • We have not reinstituted any new prescreening requirements at this time.
  • Patients with known positive COVID tests will be placed in a designated room immediately after arrival.
    • This guideline was put in place during the first year of the pandemic.
    • It is not necessary, however, to transport the patient through the back elevator.
  • Immunocompromised patients will be placed into an exam room as soon as possible.
  • Symptomatic UT Health Physicians team members should not come to work and should contact and be assessed by their manager.

The CDC now recommends COVID-19 vaccines for everyone 6 months and older and boosters for everyone 5 years and older, if eligible. UT Health Physicians is planning to offer vaccines for everyone 6 months and older. Vaccination scheduling has plenty of availability.

Thank you for continuing to provide a safe working environment for our team members, patients and families. Please continue to encourage vaccination, as well as first and second boosters for qualified individuals.

Sincerely,

Andrea Marks
Senior Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer

Article Categories: President Communications, Return to Campus Plan, Timely Updates