Weekly Briefing, February 18, 2021

The seven-day positivity rate is 0.2% for employees and 1.0% for students. Since Feb. 11, 335 university members have tested positive out of more than 39,000 tests; 296 tested positive the week before.

In response to a concerning rise in cases among students, the university has directed several populations of students to receive more frequent testing, including those living in some residence halls. While we hope additional action will not be needed, we are preparing to take steps if necessary — these may include limiting access to recreation facilities, quarantines in residence halls and other actions.

The majority of recent positive cases have been identified among both off- and on-campus students. Many positive individuals reported attending gatherings with or without wearing masks. This serves as a reminder that the close contact of indoor social gatherings easily spreads COVID-19. It remains critical to take precautions: limit trips out, avoid gathering in-person, practice physical distancing, wash hands frequently, stay home when sick, and wear a mask in public.

Building restrictions took effect on Feb. 10. All students and staff must now have a green Badger Badge to enter campus buildings, except to receive a test or to be vaccinated. Plan ahead to receive a test in time, allowing enough time to receive test results. All undergraduates living in central Madison must test regularly even if they do not need to enter campus buildings. Find more information on how to get tested and new testing requirements.

University Health Services continues to vaccinate eligible employees and students against COVID-19, including those who perform direct patient service duties and individuals over age 65. Eligible employees and students should respond to email messages to schedule an appointment for vaccination. Read more about future vaccine eligibility.

Chancellor Blank’s order that requires wearing masks indoors, as well as outdoors when physical distancing is not possible, remains in effect.

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