COVID-19 symptomatic cases at class and work

Since the beginning of April, UIC contact tracing has interviewed more COVID-positive individuals who attended work while experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 than in the past two months combined. Additionally, these individuals reported attending work with symptoms for an average of 8.4 days, which is more than a two-fold increase compared to monthly reports extending back to November 2020. 

This is an extremely concerning trend, and also one which is preventable.

If you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, no matter how mild, please stay home, begin isolating, and report your symptoms using the COVID-19 reporting decision tool. You will receive prompt guidance on next steps, including the type of testing you should receive (note: individuals with symptoms should not use campus saliva testing, but should get diagnostic testing. On campus this is available at Student Health Services and University Health Services).

Additionally, a critical piece of UIC’s COVID-19 mitigation strategy is the dual badge, which displays the:

  1. Healthcheck, a daily attestation of not having had recent COVID-19 symptoms, exposures, or positive test.
  2. Daily Pass which shows if an individual is due for a campus saliva test.

Compliance with these badges acts to protect the campus community by catching asymptomatic cases through surveillance testing, and by directing symptomatic and exposed individuals to the correct public health guidance.

However, if individuals do not complete the Healthcheck prior to coming to campus, or if their supervisor/instructor doesn’t check their dual badge for compliance, symptomatic individuals may come to work and infect others.  As such, it is important that supervisors and instructors are checking badges for all employees and students every day they come to campus. Instructions for how to check badges can be found online.

Additionally, if you are a supervisor or instructor and you notice an employee is ill, or if they tell you they are experiencing symptoms, please instruct them to go home, begin isolating, and report their symptoms using the COVID-19 reporting decision tool. They should not return-to-work until they have been cleared by UIC contact tracing. If you have more questions about this, you should reach out to your UIC Human Resources representative for more information on how to navigate this situation.

Finally, it is important that campus members monitor their saliva test results so that they can isolate as quickly as possible if they test positive. Individuals should make sure to stay home or go home if they receive a positive result, and answer the phone when UIC contact tracing calls with guidance. Instructions to access your test results can be found here. You should receive your test result within 24-48 hours of submitting your specimen.

By following the simple steps above, we can work to keep COVID-19 out of our campus community!

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