COVID-19: Health Advisory 11/6

From Sarah Van Orman, MD, MMM, FACHA, Chief Health Officer for USC Student Health, Division Chief for College Health, Keck School of Medicine of USC

This past week, we have seen an increase in the number of cases of COVID-19 in both student and employee populations; currently there are 29 active patient cases, up from a low of 8 average weekly cases two weeks ago. In addition to the cases where there was a clear exposure (a total of 15 minutes or longer, within 6 ft., over a 24-hour period) to someone positive with COVID-19, there has also been an increase in positivity in the surveillance testing of individuals without known exposures.

In many cases, the transmission has been through close contact with just a small number of people—small gatherings with family and friends, study groups, and travel.

We urge the community to continue to stay vigilant in safety and hygiene practices—as hard as this has been, we have made a great deal of progress in curbing the transmission rate that was peaking in the summer. We can continue to make progress, but only if we keep our guard up as we head into the winter months.

Please maintain a safe distance when seeing others—gathering indoors while eating and drinking is the greatest risk. Even well-intended activities like study groups can lead to an exposure among friends and colleagues. Complete a flu immunization, to protect yourself and others in the community.

Please also follow the precautions for hand hygiene, face coverings, and physical distancing to keep yourselves and others safe.

If you do test positive and have been in the campus vicinity, contact the COVID-19 response center at 213-740-6291 or covid19@usc.edu.