Continued COVID-19 diligence is critical as cold weather returns

As cooler weather moves more people indoors Alaska’s daily COVID-19 case numbers are rising to an all-time high. It’s important that we all remain diligent in reducing risk factors, stay home if sick, seek testing if exposed or possibly ill and strictly follow social distancing standards. We need to follow the advice of Alaska’s health experts and intentionally limit interactions outside our family or close living groups.

Do the 3 W's

The three W’s can help slow the spread of COVID-19. Wear a mask, watch your distance and wash your hands. Together we can help keep our community healthy. 

Avoid the 3 C's

Crowded places, close contact settings and confined/enclosed spaces are higher risk for the transmission of COVID-19. To help slow the spread and stay healthy, you should avoid gatherings of people outside your household, especially those held indoors. If you are around larger groups of people, make sure you stay at least 6 feet away from others, wear a mask and wash your hands or use hand sanitizer.

It is flu vaccine time!

This year, it’s more important than ever to get a flu shot. Seasonal flu vaccines reduce the number of people who get seriously ill from influenza. That means we can save hospital beds for our friends, neighbors and family members who need life-saving treatment for COVID-19. Flu shots (and other adult immunizations) are also a way for employees to receive a point through the wellness program.

Sign-up for flu shot clinics on your campus or through student health, local clinics, your doctor or via flu shot programs at local stores and pharmacies. 

Get Tested!

Alaska communities have administered more than half a million tests across the state. If you have symptoms, are at the end of your quarantine, or are  >5 days after an exposure - get tested, it helps protect those you love, and your community. 

If you need a COVID-19 test, Premera is waiving cost shares such as deductibles and coinsurance. The university benefits plan also includes access to Teledoc, which is a lower-cost alternative to an office visit.

Learn more, including where to find testing locations:

What happens if you do test positive?

If you test positive, you need to report your illness according to your university’s procedures. 

You also will get a call from a public health professional offering support. They will work with you to help figure out who you had close contact with while infected so they know, can quarantine and slow the spread.

  • If you test positive - make a list of everyone you have been within 6 feet of for a collective total of 15 minutes or more  for 2 days before your symptoms started or the day you got tested
  • Let your close contacts know, so they can start a 14-day quarantine and not accidentally spread it to others. The sooner this happens, the better we slow the spread.
  • Answer the phone so you can talk with health experts about your questions and work with them to let your contacts know.  Containing the infection is critical to preventing wider spread in the community. 

Be mindful of holiday plans

A pandemic is not the time for going to parties or social events, even extended family gatherings. Traveling for Thanksgiving could potentially impact your work or school duties, due to mandates for testing and the potential need to quarantine. Instead, consider creative ways to meet virtually and minimize contact outside your immediate household to protect the health and safety of yourself and the entire community.

Stay safe at home or on campus

Facilities and residence life staff across the UA System are working diligently to protect the health and safety of students, staff and faculty with increased cleaning, restricted access to facilities, and additional safety measures. The widespread encouragement of work-from-home arrangements adds additional protection for many employees. No matter if you’re working in your office or from home, pay extra attention to keeping surfaces clean and being diligent in washing your hands, and wearing a mask around others. Thank you for helping us all stay safe.