With the Omicron variant spreading at a fast rate, Saint Mary’s responds with new COVID-19 guidelines.
By Kamryn Sobel
As the Omicron variant finds itself with a rapid increase in infections, Saint Mary’s has received numerous questions regarding close contacts on campus, according to a recent email sent on January 11th to all students, staff, and faculty. The email consisted of informing the Saint Mary’s community of adopting Contra Costa County’s new COVID-19 isolation period guidelines for the general public.
According to the Contra Costa Department of Health, “Under the state guidance, anyone who tests positive for COVID-19, regardless of vaccination status, can end their isolation period after five days if they subsequently test negative and don’t have symptoms or their symptoms are improving. The test must be done on or after day 5 of isolation. Previously, the isolation period for positive cases was 10 days.”
Those who are up to date with their vaccinations and are asymptomatic, however, do not need to quarantine. On day 5 after being exposed to the virus, testing is required. It is also recommended to wear a well-fitted mask around others the following 10 days.
Per the Saint Mary’s COVID-19 News & Resource dashboard, “Saint Mary’s will continue to observe an indoor mask mandate throughout the Jan Term session. This mandate remains in line with the current Contra Costa County requirement for indoor masking, which requires all individuals, regardless of vaccination status, to wear a mask in public indoor spaces.” Students, staff, and faculty who are not up to date with their booster or are unvaccinated are to remain in quarantine for a five-day period, following a test on the 5th day. Those who decide not to test, yet are asymptomatic will be required to quarantine until day 11. If positive and symptomatic, 10 days of quarantine is mandatory.
Days after Saint Mary’s released the new information for the adopted guidelines, President Plumb shared that he had tested positive for COVID-19.
“I will be following campus and county guidelines for the required isolation period and look forward to returning to my regular activities when cleared,” Plumb said. “Please remain masked indoors on campus. I hope that each of you will pay close attention to the latest news and updates on our COVID-19 resource page, including updated close contact guidance, isolation period guidelines, and information on vaccinations.”
Students who are currently living on campus may contact the Health and Wellness Center at 925.631.4254 to receive a PCR test on day 5 after being exposed. Negative test results are also to be uploaded to the test portal before returning to campus.
Melanie Moyer '22,