Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, the university has made a conscious decision to provide periodic updates of the totals of COVID-19 cases, rather than issue notifications with each individual case. The totals as of today are 27 employees tested positive for the virus and 101 students positive or presumed positive since the pandemic began.
We plan to continue with this periodic approach but want to notify the community of a particular cluster of cases. In recent days, we have learned of a group of 11 custodial services employees who tested positive for COVID-19. All 11 are in self-isolation following public health protocols, as are people with whom they had close personal contact.
The university depends on our dedicated staff to keep operations running, especially during these challenging times. Our top priorities are their health and well-being and the overall safety of the community. To those ends, we are working closely with all university employees to reiterate the guidelines in place to help keep them safe during this complex and evolving pandemic.
Please make sure you have taken time to review preventive measures and encourage others to do the same. One of the most important steps is to notify your supervisor and UT’s Occupational Health Program (OHP) if you are tested for COVID-19, regardless of your test results, or are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms. The university relies on employees to let us know if they believe they may have COVID-19 and will follow privacy guidelines that allow us to keep campus safe while protecting individual privacy. In the present situation, an employee notification led to rigorous contract tracing by OHP, which allowed us to identify the larger group of positive cases.
When notified of an employee who has tested positive, OHP initiates contact tracing and gets in touch with anyone they identify as a close contact. If you are not a close contact, you have no special precautions to take at this time, though everyone should follow prevention precautions to keep themselves healthy. If you are concerned about your health or think you have been exposed to COVID-19, this flowchart helps you understand what actions to take.
You may be wondering about cleaning protocols for your building. Following public health guidelines, the university has facilities protocols to keep our buildings safe and clean. There are additional sanitation and disinfection guidelines for spaces occupied by anyone diagnosed as COVID positive. Mitigation efforts are tailored to individual situations and focus on personal offices or common rooms frequented by people who tested positive. When a situation warrants, the university will close all or part of a building for disinfection, notifying the occupants of that building in advance as appropriate.
If you or colleagues have specific questions, please contact the Occupational Health Program through the contact information on their web page at https://hr.utexas.edu/current/services/occupational-health-program.
We are committed to your health and well-being and grateful for all you do.