Important COVID Updates and Reminders

January 30, 2023

To: University Community
From:  Michelle Rogers, Vice President for Administration and the COVID Task Force

I am writing today to provide a few COVID-related updates.

COVID-19 Testing Updates
We received notification from the California Department of Public Health that they are decommissioning all OptumServe testing sites in alignment with the end of the State of Emergency in February 2023. The OptumServe testing location at the University of Redlands is scheduled to close on Sunday, Feb. 5, 2023. Other free testing sites continue to close across the state, however, there is still a drive-thru testing site in Redlands located at 1269 Brookside Avenue.

We encourage you to purchase your own rapid/antigen tests, which can be found at most pharmacies and big-box stores (Walmart, Target) as well as online. You can also request four free tests from the government here.

The University has a limited supply of rapid tests available for employees and students who have been identified as a close contact while on one of our campuses. If you are symptomatic, please see a health care professional or other off-campus location for testing. For undergraduates who are symptomatic, please visit the Student Health Center.

  • Redlands students identified as a close contact can retrieve a single, take-home test per visit at the Student Health Center.
  • Redlands employees and students identified as a close contact can retrieve a single, take-home test per visit at the Office of Public Safety in Willis Center.
  • Marin employees and students identified as a close contact can retrieve a single, take-home test per visit from Mary Villarreal in Montgomery 316.

COVID-19 Cases
Over the past 10 days, we have experienced an increase in new cases of COVID-19 among our undergraduate population on the Redlands campus. Our reporting and isolation protocols continue to aid us in reducing transmissions. As we have seen over the course of the COVID pandemic, there is typically an increase in cases when a new variant emerges. According to the World Health Organization, COVID-19 variant XBB.1.5 (also known as ‘Kraken’) “is the most transmissible subvariant that has been detected yet” but there is no evidence to date that it causes more severe illness than other Omicron strains. Vaccines and boosters are still highly effective in preventing serious disease, hospitalizations, and deaths.

As a reminder, employee exposure notifications are housed online on the Exposure Notices webpage, located on the University’s COVID response website. Additionally, you can continue to view employee and student weekly and total case numbers, by visiting the COVID-19 Dashboard, which is updated weekly.

What Can You Do?

  • Stay home if you’re sick. Do not come to campus or leave your on-campus residence if you have even mild symptoms of COVID. If you have tested positive for COVID, do not come to campus (regardless of whether you are symptomatic), isolate, and complete a reporting form immediately.
  • Wear a mask around others if you are recovering from COVID, had a known exposure, or are experiencing any type of illness such as a cold or the flu.
  • Continue to make responsible decisions related to COVID-19 risk management and follow University COVID-19 protocols and the Centers for Disease and Prevention (CDC) prevention measures.

Remember, your actions also impact other members of our community.

Current State Conditions and University Actions

The statewide case rate for COVID-19 has been falling according to the information provided by the California Department of Public Health and there are currently no counties in the state classified in the high “community level” for COVID-19 danger as reported by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The University continues to monitor the state of virus spread and will modify our mitigation strategies when needed and consistent with the CDC, California, and local requirements. The COVID Task Force will be reviewing our current vaccination and COVID policies in the coming weeks to determine if updates are needed.