1. COVID-19 Briefing, rising flu cases and federal vaccination mandates apply to bargained-for employees

    November 12, 2021

    To All Members of the Campus Community:

    While still higher than the previous baseline, COVID-19 cases in the student community have decreased compared to the previous week. A significant fraction of cases among students are related to indoor social gatherings over Halloween weekend.

    U-M Campus Response Metrics currently being met are the doubling of cases within 7 days, and the transmission level for Washtenaw County is high. Our wastewater monitoring indicates increased concentration of COVID-19 on campus but activity remains low.

    We appreciate those in the community who have raised concerns about our COVID-19 data dashboard. The dashboard team continues to investigate the timing related to data availability, which is affecting presentation of data on cases, positivity and tests.

    For influenza, the University Health Service is reporting an increase from 198 cases last week to 268 cases so far this week, with the majority of cases in individuals who have not been vaccinated for the flu.

    Please get a flu shot if you haven’t already. Students can schedule a flu vaccine appointment at UHS, and faculty and staff scheduling information is available here. There are many non-university options for flu shots as well. The Washtenaw County Health Department has answers to questions about the flu vaccine and a vaccine locator. Retail pharmacies also offer the flu shot. Wearing a mask indoors also protects against spread of the flu.

    Here are some additional updates at a glance:

    Campus COVID-19 Briefing: The video of this morning’s briefing is now available on my website, and it includes time stamps linking to the topics and questions we addressed, which included:

    • Discussion of the current status of COVID-19 and influenza in the community.
    • Plans for winter term, which will resemble our fall term.
    • Resources for students.
    • Domestic and international travel recommendations.

    Federal vaccination mandates: The new federal COVID-19 vaccination mandates apply to bargained-for University of Michigan employees on all three campuses and Michigan Medicine who are not currently covered by the university’s vaccination policy. More information is available in the University Record.

    COVID-19 testing available: Asymptomatic testing is available at multiple locations through our Community Sampling and Tracking Program. The U-M community is reminded that you may need (or wish) to get tested before or after traveling for the upcoming Thanksgiving break. And always get tested if you have symptoms.

    I will continue to provide COVID-19 updates when needed to help keep everyone informed, address concerns and respond to feedback and questions from our community. You also may read the University Record for the latest stories and the Campus Maize and Blueprint site for updates.

    Sincerely,

    Mark S. Schlissel, M.D., Ph.D.
    President