Lessons learned in contact tracing

Since the campus saliva testing began on Monday, Aug. 17, UIC has seen 44 individuals test positive out of the 10,505 tests performed, for a total positivity rate of 0.42%. Of the 44 individuals who tested positive, five (11%) were associated with small social gatherings where at least one other person also tested positive for COVID-19. Another seven UIC affiliates were exposed to these individuals through close contact at the off-campus social gatherings, and of the four who have already been tested, three tested positive. The other 39 COVID positive individuals (89%) could not be linked to another case at UIC. It is encouraging that there is currently no evidence of active person-to-person transmission among our UIC community, except for at these few off-campus social gatherings.

This reflects trends seen across Chicago and the rest of the United States. The transmission we observed at small social gathering emphasizes the need for mask-wearing and social distancing, even at small get-togethers. As such, we would like to remind UIC community members of the following public health practices which can help protect you, your friends, family, and others you choose to spend time with from becoming infected with COVID-19, especially as the weather starts to turn colder and we start to move indoors to spend time:

  • Wear a mask
  • Watch your distance
  • Wash your hands
  • Disinfect common surfaces
  • Avoiding sharing drinks and food
  • Avoid crowds

These practices should be applied even when you are gathering with people you know and trust. Remember, people infected with COVID-19 can actually pass the virus to others before they know they are infected, and even if they never feel sick. This is why it is important to practice the above prevention measures routinely.

For more information on how to prevent the transmission of COVID-19, and other COVID-19 related topics, please see UIC’s FAQ page.

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