Face Masks and Distancing Are Critical and an Absolute Requirement on the Lundquist Campus

Continuing research on the COVID-19 pandemic has revealed that the primary means of transmission of the virus is via respiratory droplets produced when an infected person speaks, coughs, or sneezes and that the best method for preventing such transmission is through the use of face masks and social distancing.  Of course, good hand hygiene is also a given.  Our policy of requiring the wearing of face masks on campus at all times must be vigorously followed for everyone’s protection and will be enforced.  This includes time when you are on campus whether inside or outside a building.  Individuals that have private offices may remove masks while in the office by themselves but must keep the office door closed and possibly locked to prevent others from walking into the office.  Communication between individuals, even casually, should not occur in offices or other closed spaces.  Communication should be accomplished by using the phone or other type of electronic means to minimize the potential for virus transmission.

COVID-19 Testing

Testing for the presence of COVID-19 is now available to asymptomatic individuals.  There are many sites to choose from.  One site is located on the campus in N-26 and is operated by OptumServe.  They provide a nasal swab.  You can make an appointment by clicking on the following link and following the instructions.  Please note that this is a COVID-19 diagnostic test, not an antibody test.

Updated CDC Guidelines on Dealing with Infected Coworkers

The CDC has provided updated guidelines to employers regarding how to handle employees reporting symptoms, employees testing positive and when employees can be returned to work.  The following is a summary of the key aspects of these guidelines.

  1. Employees who have symptoms should notify their supervisor and stay home.  This has been our procedure since the advent of this pandemic and has not changed.  
    • Symptoms include:
      • Cough, and;
      • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
    • Or at least two of these symptoms:
      • Fever
      • Chills
      • Repeated shaking with chills
      • Muscle pain
      • Headache
      • Sore throat
      • New loss of taste or smell
  2. If an employee is suspected or confirmed to have COVID-19 infection:
    1. If it has been less than 7 days since the sick employee has been at the facility, close off any areas used for prolonged periods by the sick person
    2. If possible, wait 24 hours before cleaning and disinfecting.  Follow CDC cleaning and disinfecting recommendations.
    3. Using contact tracing, determine which employees may have been exposed to the virus
    4. Inform employees of their possible exposure to COVID-19
    5. Employees who have had “close contact” with someone who is infected (defined as being within 6 feet of a person with COVID-19 for a prolonged period of time) should be sent home for a 14 day isolation. A prolonged period of time is defined as 15 minutes or longer.
    6. Other employees who did not have “close contact” with someone who is infected and who are not experiencing symptoms should self-monitor for the development of symptoms, following instructions given to them by The Institute
  3. Employees who have been in isolation may discontinue isolation and return to work under the following conditions:
    1. At least 3 days (72 hours) have passed since recovery (defined as resolution of fever without fever reducing medications and improvement in respiratory symptoms (e.g. cough, shortness of breath), and:
    2. At least 10 days have passed since the symptoms first appeared
    3. The CDC also provides for testing as an additional strategy for return to work, obtaining a negative result from a least two consecutive respiratory specimens collected at least 24 hours apart (totals of two negative specimens)

Transition to Key Cards

We will be transitioning away from the use of keys and instead will be providing occupants of the following buildings with key cards/proximity cards for use with card readers to gain access to buildings and office and lab areas.  If you are an occupant of Martin, CDCRC, or MRL, please contact Kevin Hamilton in General Services to make arrangements to obtain a key card if you don’t have one and to return your metal key(s) even if you already have a key card.

Resumption of Operations

The Lundquist Institute Task Force is continuing to work on the development of specific procedures to be used for a phased reopening of operations.  Critical to the success of these efforts will be our adherence to the procedures and policies which have been designed to minimize virus transmission on campus.  We will notify you as The Lundquist Institute plans are being instituted.