The week of Oct. 6, seven positive cases of COVID-19 were on campus, according to Kerri Case, UCC’s new pandemic coordinator.
Case traces student and staff exposure and works to help ensure that people take the right precautions to make sure they reduce exposure.
Students were sent out an email on Oct. 11 stating, “You are receiving this message because you have been in contact with a person who is COVID-19 positive, in HNSC 101 and CPR Lab 10/8/21. Please begin quarantine procedures immediately if you have not been vaccinated.” This email was immediately followed up with a correction, “The covid positive notification only affects those that were in building HNSC 101 AND CPR LAB 10/08/21”
Case says, “If a student is COVID-19 positive, they need to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call her at 541-440-7773. This email or phone notification to Case is important so she can trace exposures and notify people of their exposure: “People don’t know how far the fingers reach until you start tracing the cases and all the people that were in contact.”
The CDC website and UCC staff are saying that people who are exposed while vaccinated do not need to isolate. UCC unvaccinated students have asked if they are required to quarantine or isolate if they get notified but have already had COVID.
Case says, “If a person had COVID and is unvaccinated, they are still supposed to quarantine/ isolate after being exposed because the antibodies from COVID are not as strong as the antibodies in the vaccine.”
One of the difficulties for students who need to know if they have COVID is that free tests are no longer offered by pharmacies or by Cow Creek. Insurance is required. At Aviva Health clinic, a patient must pay a $60 fee to get tested. Case said that a primary care physician should not charge for a test, but a patient must ask them for a test and must have symptoms of COVID. Evergreen Family Medical Center reminds patients that it is the physician’s choice to test to see if a person has COVID.
UCC at this time is not requiring the COVID vaccine for all students, and as of right now there is no date for future vaccine requirements here, according to Case. However, nursing students and athletes are required to vaccinate or test regularly. Interestingly, Lane Community College in Eugene was requiring vaccines for fall term, and now they are holding classes remotely.
Like Lane, most Oregon universities are also requiring the vaccine for all students.
COVID-19 is not the only shot that schools have been requiring. Oregon requires a list of vaccines for children to attend elementary school, or even ride the bus, including diphtheria/tetanus/pertussis (DTaP), poliovaricella (chickenpox), MMR or measles, mumps, rubella, hepatitis B, hepatitis A. Grades seven to 12 also require these vaccinations including tdap. Oregon universities, as well as community colleges, require measles vaccination. The measles vaccination is required for students who are enrolled in allied health, education, early childhood education and intercollegiate sports.
Case recommends the vaccine. “COVID isn’t going to go away any time soon, and students should get vaccinated to help prevent them from having bad effects of COVID,” Case said. “This has been going on for two years, and it’s not going to end. I know people around here have different ideas, but no one is making money from this. This is worse than the flu, and the shot is no different from a flu shot.”
On Nov. 4, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. the Tiger Team from Douglas County Public Health Network will be offering all three vaccines, Moderna, Pfizer, and the Johnson and Johnson on campus on the south side of the library lawn. Shots should not be intermingled from different pharmaceutical companies.
At this time, UCC does not have a line drawn of how many cases are too many for the school to switch to being remote. In the meantime, masks are required on campus. If a student does not have a proper mask, a solid piece of material or a paper mask, Case has masks she can hand out, and they are also free in classrooms.
For information regarding exemptions on vaccine requirements for Oregon go to the Oregon Health Authority website.
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