To All Members of the Campus Community:
Here are the main updates at-a-glance:
- This week, we were pleased to announce opportunities for students to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. We partnered with the state and private pharmacies to bring the one-and-done Johnson & Johnson/Janssen vaccine to our students. We continue to seek more supply for faculty and staff as well so please check our Maize and Blueprint site for updates.
- The number of new COVID-19 cases continues to rise at U-M, in Washtenaw County, in our hospitals and in the state. Social gatherings continue to be a significant factor in the spread of the virus in our community.
- On Monday, U-M began following state and county health guidance and adopted a standard 14-day quarantine period for all close contacts. This means students no longer are able to discontinue quarantine at day 10 following a negative test result.
Campus COVID-19 Update
The number of new COVID-19 cases continues to rise among U-M undergraduate students, graduate students and non-students. This trend of rising cases also continues throughout Washtenaw County and the state. Students represents 16 percent of the cases in the county.
We’re also seeing increased numbers of patients in our hospitals, as well as younger people who are very sick. It is imperative that we keep our guard up.
Social gatherings continue to be a significant factor in the spread of the virus. Anyone who tests positive needs to isolate immediately to minimize additional exposures. This is very important. If you feel ill with these symptoms, do not go to class or work and get tested as soon as possible. We are very concerned about how fast the virus is now spreading. Please help us by being safe.
On Monday, U-M began following state and county health guidance and adopted a standard 14-day quarantine period for all close contacts. This means students no longer are able to discontinue quarantine at day 10 following a negative test result.
Two of our Campus Response Metrics continue to be met: more than 70 new cases per million in Washtenaw County and five days of sustained increases in infections.
We know that variant strains are in our community, but we don’t know the full scope of their spread, as not all positive cases are sequenced, which is required to test for the variants. However, in those positive tests that are sequenced, we are seeing an increased proportion of the variant strains. All three of the current vaccines seem to be effective against the variants.
This week, we were pleased to announce opportunities for students to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. We partnered with the state and private pharmacies to bring the Johnson & Johnson/Janssen vaccine to our students. We’re updating the page as new clinics come online under these partnerships.
We sought out supply of this vaccine because it’s the best option for many students as the semester winds down, as only one shot is needed. It’s one and done. Other vaccines require a second dose in 3 or 4 weeks, which isn’t workable for students who are leaving the area.
I want to reiterate that the Johnson & Johnson/Janssen vaccine is highly effective at preventing severe illness from COVID-19. There is also accumulating evidence that vaccination may prevent infection and transmission of COVID-19 to others. It has already been administered to nearly 4 million people and is very safe. Michigan Medicine Assistant Professor Adam Lauring has shared his expertise on the effectiveness of the current vaccines in a post published last month.
We continue to seek more supply for students, faculty and staff so please check our Maize and Blueprint site for updates. Michigan Medicine has posted tools to help find vaccines in your area. University Human Resources has created a COVID-19 vaccine eligibility and availability page with resources to help everyone get an appointment through a clinic, pharmacy, health department or Michigan Medicine.
Campus COVID-19 Briefing
The video for this week’s Campus COVID-19 Briefing is available here. We will continue to schedule these biweekly on Fridays through at least May. At today’s briefing:
- Chief Health Officer Preeti Malani gave an update on campus conditions and important reminders and recommendations for our community.
- Rob Ernst, chair of the Campus Health Response Committee, discussed the university’s latest thinking around public health guidelines, vaccination tracking, and the end of the semester.
- Dana Habers, chief department administrator in Radiology and a co-lead of Michigan Medicine’s COVID-19 Vaccination and Therapeutics Task Force, discussed important vaccination opportunities for students.
- Vice President for Student Life Martino Harmon discussed housing for the fall and events to help students gather safely.
- Provost Susan M. Collins provided an update on course modalities.
During the semester, I will continue to provide weekly COVID-19 updates to help keep everyone informed and address concerns and respond to feedback and questions from our community. You may also read the University Record for the latest stories and the Campus Maize and Blueprint site for updates. Stay safe and be healthy.
Mark S. Schlissel, M.D., Ph.D.