New Normal Team Update

The COVID-19 situation in Northeast Florida has changed significantly in the last month, with the area now having some of the highest numbers of new daily cases in the country, over 100 new cases per 100,000 population per day. Some models predict the peak will be in October 2021. A county is at an extremely high risk for unvaccinated people if it reported an average daily rate of more than 45 cases per 100,000 people over the past two weeks. Over 15% of tests done are positive. If more than 10% are positive, the actual number of cases in the community may be much higher than reported.

COVID-19 infections are mainly spread person to person by droplet and aerosol particles. Some argue that vaccinations, masks, and social distancing (or any limitation on personal activity) are unnecessary, and they act accordingly. That approach does not seem to have worked out too well. Most authorities (health, government, and political groups) now recommend that immunization provides the best protection from infection. COVID-19 vaccines are highly effective at reducing disease, hospitalization, and death.

However, no vaccine is 100% effective. In view of the increased risk of exposure, the CDC is now recommending that all persons (vaccinated and unvaccinated) in high-risk areas consider wearing a mask and practicing social distancing both indoors and outdoors.

Other recommendations also advise restricted activities:

Additional recommendations relate to quarantine and isolation. If you have not been vaccinated and are exposed to someone diagnosed with a COVID-19 infection, you should quarantine (stay at home even if you have no symptoms) for 14 days following your last exposure to the person who has COVID-19. The goal is to prevent the spread of infection since asymptomatic persons can spread disease. It is not known if vaccinated persons who have asymptomatic infections can spread disease.

Persons who have symptoms should isolate at home, separated from others who are not infected. The infected person can be around others 10 days after their symptoms first appeared (or 10 days after a positive test), if fever has resolved, and other symptoms are improving.

In view of the very high risk of infection. the New Normal Team recommends that all visitors to the UUCJ campus wear masks (indoors and outdoors). The sooner infections in Northeast Florida decrease, the sooner we all can get back together safely.

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