Cases on Campus
There were 15 new cases of COVID-19 on the campus in the last week. Visit the COVID-19 dashboard for a breakdown of cases by students, employees and contractors.
None of those infected have needed to be hospitalized, according to Patricia Ruiz, director of the University Health Center, and there were no indications of clusters of cases or transmission in classrooms.
BA.2 on the Rise
Like all viruses, SARS-Co-V-2, the microorganism responsible for COVID-19, is good at mutating. Earlier this week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published data identifying a new version of the omicron variant, BA.2, as the cause of about one-third of all new cases in the U.S. in the prior week. It’s even more prevalent in our region, accounting for nearly half of the recent cases in New Jersey, New York, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.
The data available now suggests that BA.2 is more easily transmitted than omicron, but it is not clear whether it causes more severe symptoms, says Stephanie Silvera, professor of Public Health. Whether it will cause a spike in cases remains to be seen. “People are unmasking in a lot of spaces, which increases risk, but with high vaccination rates and nicer weather, people can open windows and spend more time outdoors, which decreases risk.
“My recommendation is to get vaccinated and boosted, keep your indoor spaces well ventilated, and keep wearing masks indoors in crowded settings, especially if you don’t know whether the people around you are vaccinated or may have COVID or be at greater risk for contracting it.”
Keep Wearing Those Masks
The administration is currently reviewing a recommendation from the Community Health Advisory Team about modifying our mask requirements. In the meantime our current mask policy remains in effect. Please wear a face covering consistently when indoors on the campus, and wear one outdoors when it’s not possible to practice social distancing. Thank you for helping keep our community safe!
Booster Clinic a Success
Forty-nine more Red Hawks are now better protected against COVID-19, thanks to the booster shot clinic put on by the Essex County Department of Health on Tuesday, March 22. The University is grateful to the county, which has been a tremendous partner in our efforts to protect the campus community. Kudos to our School of Nursing for supporting the effort.
Remember, if you need a COVID shot, Essex County will serve any student or employee at no cost. Just go to www.essexcovid.org to make an appointment at the former K-Mart in West Orange or their Newark site.
For More Information
Visit the University’s COVID-19 Information website to learn about our policies and procedures, get answers to frequently asked questions, and find links to information resources.
Thank you for reading the Weekly COVID Newsletter, a production of the Office of University Communications and Marketing. We would love to know how to better serve our readers. Please send any comments and suggestions to Vice President Joseph Brennan, email@example.com.