Public health update: March 1, 2022 – Ohio University

The following message was shared with the OHIO community on March 1, 2022.
Dear OHIO community members,
This week marks big changes in Ohio University’s masking policies, based on new guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  
The new CDC guidance resulted in a relaxing of masking recommendations for most of the country. This is welcome news to many. On the other hand, the new CDC guidelines have left some people feeling like they must protect themselves while the rest of us get back to normal.
Some of you have shared with me that this new guidance makes you feel an increased burden to protect yourself from the virus. I want to acknowledge that it can be scary for someone with a serious health complication to navigate this changing environment. If you are at higher risk for serious illness, I encourage you to talk with your health care provider about how these new guidelines affect you. If you don’t have a health care provider, our COVID Campus Liaisons can make a recommendation. If you have household members or social contacts who are at higher risk, the new CDC guidance provides recommendations for protecting them. 
The primary measures of protection are the same for everyone, regardless of personal health risk: minimize potential for exposure by considering relative risk when attending events and gatherings, masking when in a high-risk environment, and avoiding crowds.
If you are at increased risk for severe disease due to a medical condition, consider testing regularly for COVID-19 so that you know as soon as possible if you are infected and you can discuss treatment options with a health care provider.  
Spring break testing available
As you prepare for Spring Break travel, please schedule an asymptomatic COVID-19 test (or pick up a test on regional campuses) so that you don’t unknowingly take the virus with you. Schedule a test for three to five days after your return so that you can confirm you did not bring the virus back to campus. Use prevention measures (masking, avoiding crowded places) while awaiting test results so that you don’t spread the virus. 
Help us get to low and lower
Two counties that host OHIO campuses remain at CDC’s high COVID-19 community level (Lawrence and Ross counties), five are at the medium level (Athens, Muskingum, Belmont, Cuyahoga and Franklin), and one is at the low level (Fairfield). We all look forward to “leveling down” and the reduced risks to all of us that will come with it. Please help us get there by continuing to use the prevention measures we have in the situations that call for them.  
Dr. Gillian Ice
Special Assistant to the President for Public Health Operations 
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