April 14, 2022
- Spring quarter cases tick up, but we are well below January surge levels.
- BA.2 more transmissible than prior variants, but county hospitalization rates remain low.
- Face coverings indoors, regardless of vaccination status, remain highly recommended.
- If you have symptoms, please stay home.
- COVID-19 testing remains available on campus.
- CDPH removes recommendation for quarantine for the general public.
Dear UCI community,
As we are well into Spring Quarter, I want to provide an update on COVID-19 case activity and ongoing campus response and surveillance efforts.
We continue to carefully monitor case counts and positivity rates for the campus and in the county. While both metrics have increased since returning from spring break, our campus case count remains manageable, and it’s important to note that we remain in a much better position than where we were in January during the Omicron surge. Additionally, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention COVID-19 community levels are a tool to help communities decide what prevention steps to take based on the latest data. Levels can be low, medium, or high and are determined by looking at hospital beds being used, hospital admissions, and the total number of new COVID-19 cases in an area. Orange County remains at a low level.
It’s encouraging to see so many continue to wear face coverings on campus. Although they are no longer required indoors, face coverings remain highly recommended regardless of vaccination status.
The BA.2 variant is driving the current wave of coronavirus across the world, as well as the current uptick in cases at UCI. Though we are seeing higher case counts, we are not in a surge situation as we have been with Delta and Omicron. While BA.2 is more transmissible than previous variants, evidence indicates it is resulting in fewer hospitalizations to date. At UCI Health and across the county, we are not seeing an increase in hospitalizations, which is an important metric for understanding and responding to COVID-19.
We appreciate everyone’s efforts to slow the spread as we returned to in-person instruction. While some state and federal guidelines have been relaxed, UCI continues to employ a robust monitoring system including the daily symptom checker, free campus testing, and wastewater monitoring. Our community’s outstanding levels of compliance with the UC COVID-19 vaccination policy, which includes staying up to date with boosters, also adds a level of protection.
California Department of Public Health policies continue to evolve. CDPH updated its Isolation and Quarantine Guidance, and no longer recommends quarantine for individuals who are exposed to COVID-19 and have no symptoms. This departs from the previous recommendation for a minimum five-day quarantine after exposure, regardless of symptoms for those not up to date with their vaccines. The updated guidance continues to recommend those exposed to COVID-19 test and mask for 10 days after exposure. The latest guidance is available on the UCI Forward site, including the change in quarantine recommendations. As always, if you receive a call or email from Contact Tracing and Vaccine Navigation Services, please take the call or review the email. Testing continues to be available at both the Student Center and Plaza Verde (Mondays through Fridays, 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.).
If you have symptoms, stay home and get tested. If you have not been vaccinated or boosted consider doing so now. Contact Tracing and Vaccine Navigation Services continues to offer robust support, including to those needing assistance with scheduling or uploading proof of booster doses, and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (949) 824-2300. As always, visit the UCI Forward site for the most up-to-date information.
David M. Souleles
Director, COVID-19 Response Team