Novel coronavirus information

July 2, 2020

Keep yourself and your community safe this holiday weekend and beyond

This message is being sent to all students, staff, faculty and other academic personnel across the University of Washington on behalf of UW Medicine and the Advisory Committee on Communicable Diseases.

To the University of Washington community:

After experiencing a downward trend in new diagnoses and hospital admissions for COVID-19 in western Washington, the numbers are starting to increase again, especially for people in the 20- to 40-year-old age range. Most concerning is the significant increase in new diagnoses in King County over the last week.

As a University of Washington community, we need to continue to do the all of the things that we know work to prevent new exposures and stop further spread of the disease. As we enter the July 4th holiday, we want to remind all faculty, staff and students of the simple steps that are proven deterrents to spreading the disease.

  • Physical distancing. Please avoid parties or gatherings that exceed Phase 2 guidance (no more than 5 people from outside your household, preferably outdoors). Avoid parks, beaches and similar places where lots of people congregate.
  • Wear a mask. The science supporting mask use is getting better and better. If you are, or think you will be, within 6 feet of anyone outside your home, wear a mask. Masks keep you safe AND they keep those around you safe. You can be infected and have no symptoms and can spread the infection without knowing it. Wearing a mask helps prevent transmission and can save lives.
  • Don’t eat or drink at work or at school within 6 feet of another person. We are seeing more exposures between people who are taking breaks and lunches together while not wearing masks.
  • Wash your hands frequently throughout the day.
  • Spread the word (not the disease). It is reasonable that everyone in our community takes the steps needed to keep themselves and others safe. This doesn’t mean confronting people without masks in the grocery store. Instead, let’s be a role model for our communities and make sure that our extended families and friends are physical distancing, wearing masks and washing their hands.

We can’t stress enough the importance of having the entire University of Washington community support these important safety efforts. With the rising COVID-19 rates here and across the country, we are seeing the unfortunate effects of what happens when communities disregard these safety measures. We must all continue to keep flattening the curve.

Please stay safe over the holiday weekend and throughout the summer.

Thank you.

John Lynch, M.D., M.P.H.
Medical Director, Infection Prevention & Control
Associate Medical Director, Harborview Medical Center
Division of Allergy & Infectious Diseases, UW School of Medicine

Geoffrey S. Gottlieb, M.D. Ph.D.
Interim Chair, UW Advisory Council on Communicable Diseases
Medical Director, UW Environmental Health & Safety Department
Professor of Medicine – Infectious Diseases
Adjunct Professor of Global Health
Center for Emerging & Re-emerging Infectious Diseases