Holiday reminders from UIC contact tracing
In the fall of 2020, the UIC COVID-19 Contact Tracing and Epidemiology Program observed a sharp surge in cases following Halloween weekend, when numerous gatherings across campus, both large and small, were attended by individuals who were infected with COVID-19. Characteristically, attendees met indoors, did not wear masks, did not practice social distancing and commonly shared beverages or food.
A similar rise in cases occurred in the fall of 2021, following Halloween weekend. This high level of disease persisted through November, and skyrocketed in December and January as UIC community members traveled to visit family members for the winter holidays and the omicron variant emerged.
As we near Halloween and prepare for a number of festivities, we would like to remind you of the following guidance to keep you, your friends and loved ones, and the UIC community safe:
- Get vaccinated if you are not already. If you have not yet received the updated COVID-19 booster, consider scheduling it now.
- Vaccination is best for protecting yourself and others from severe COVID-19 illness.
- Do not attend parties or gather with others if you have symptoms of COVID-19, no matter how mild.
- Consider getting tested before an event or social gathering.
- Testing is especially important when multiple households are gathering.
- Saliva testing is quick, convenient, and no appointment is required.
- While PCR tests are most reliable, COVID-19 self-tests are easy to use, produce rapid results and can be found in pharmacies or online.
- Repeat testing is recommended if attending a gathering.
- If you’re hosting a gathering, try and stay outdoors as much as possible. If indoors, opening windows increases a space’s ventilation and reduces the number of COVID-19 virus particles.
- Serve packaged or pre-portioned snacks and beverages. You should not share food or drinks with others.
- Practice good hand hygiene if you or your family is out trick-or-treating by bringing hand sanitizer. If you are passing out candy, make sure to wash your hands frequently.
UIC faculty and staff who would like to receive the COVID-19 bivalent booster from the University Health Service can schedule an appointment in Immuware.
UIC also has updated its COVID-19 dashboard, which shows the number of COVID-19 cases among UIC students and employees, as reported to UIC contact tracing.
To minimize the spread of COVID-19, the university has established isolation and post-exposure procedures for all members of the UIC community who have been exposed to or tested positive for COVID-19. Please review the updated isolation and exposure guidelines.