Managing an Evolving COVID-19 Pandemic
Dr. Emilio Carranco, Chief Medical Officer | June 6, 2022
Dear Faculty, Staff, and Students,
As the COVID-19 Pandemic enters the third year, its impact has changed in some important ways. With the development of safe and effective vaccines, the expanded availability of testing, and therapeutic agents that decrease the risk of severe illness both in and out of the hospital, we are seeing a different pattern of disease emerging. While Omicron subvariants continue to cause new infections, the incidence of severe illness appears lower and fewer hospitalizations are occurring than during previous waves of infection. This is most likely due to rising population immunity associated with vaccination and natural infection. However, COVID-19 will continue to circulate and require that we continue to assess risk and determine appropriate prevention measures.
Managing Population Risk
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has been managing the country’s response to COVID-19. As research has provided new information about COVID-19, the CDC has continued to adjust its guidance on prevention and treatment. Most recently, the CDC established the COVID-19 Community Levels to guide prevention measures. Texas State University will continue to monitor the COVID-19 situation on its campuses and use CDC guidance to manage its response to the Pandemic.
Testing for COVID-19
Testing for COVID-19 is recommended whenever symptoms develop, when notified of exposure to an infected person, after crowded indoor activities, and before gathering with vulnerable persons. Testing kiosks provided by Curative and MD Diagnostic will be available on the San Marcos Campus. Testing by MD Diagnostic will not be available on the Round Rock Campus this summer, but testing is available at the Curative Round Rock and Georgetown locations. Faculty, staff, and students who are symptomatic can make an appointment to be evaluated and tested at the Student Health Center on the San Marcos and Round Rock Campuses by calling 512-245-2161.
Reporting to Bobcat Trace
Reporting positive COVID-19 cases to Bobcat Trace will help Texas State monitor the incidence of infection on our campuses. Bobcat Trace will continue to generate automated e-mail notices with information about actions to take during isolation or quarantine.
New COVID-19 Information Center
A new COVID-19 Information Center webpage has been created to provide the campus community with updated information about COVID-19 community levels, positive cases, vaccines, testing, isolation/quarantine, and frequently asked questions. The COVID-19 Information Center will replace the Roadmap.
Using the COVID-19 Toolbox
While the university will continue to monitor the COVID-19 pandemic and provide guidance on prevention measures, it will be each person’s responsibility to assess their risk for infection and severe illness and take advantage of the available tools to reduce their risk and prevent infection:
- Vaccination and boosters remain the safest and most effective way to protect yourself against severe illness and hospitalization.
- Avoiding activities that increase risk of exposure will continue to be important for those at higher risk of severe illness.
- Wearing a face mask indoors when COVID-19 community levels are high is an easy way to add a layer of protection.
- Staying home when sick and testing for COVID-19 helps to prevent spread of infection to others.
- Following the CDC’s quarantine and isolation guidelines reduces the risk of infecting others.
- Contacting your doctor for COVID-19 treatment quickly if infected and at high risk for developing severe illness may keep you out of the hospital.
While the COVID-19 Pandemic may continue to provide challenges, we have the tools to reduce the risk and prevent severe illness. I encourage each of you to take advantage of these tools to stay healthy.
Dr. Emilio Carranco
Chief Medical Officer
Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs
Director, Student Health Center