On Friday, April 29, Ulster County moved from “Low” to “Medium” on the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention’s (CDC) Community Levels measurement for the first time since the CDC launched this new tool in early 2022.
What does this mean for SUNY New Paltz students, faculty and staff? Read on for some info about the CDC Community Levels tool and reminders about what you can do to keep yourself and others safe as we enter the final weeks of the 2021-22 academic year.
What prevention steps should students, faculty and staff take right now?
The same things we’ve been doing throughout the pandemic! Here are a few reminders:
The CDC recommends wearing a mask indoors if you are at increased risk of complications from COVID-19.
Anyone experiencing COVID-19 symptoms should get a test. It’s good to have a home test available so that you’re able to test as soon as possible after developing symptoms, if necessary.
If you develop symptoms that might be COVID-19 related, stay home and get tested. If you test positive, you must isolate for five days from the start of symptoms, and then wear a mask for an additional five days after finishing your isolation when around other people.
If you are exposed to an individual who tested positive for COVID-19, you should wear a mask for 10 days after your last contact with that individual when you are around other people. Test ASAP if you develop symptoms or test five days after your last contact with the positive individual if you don’t develop symptoms.
If you are not fully vaccinated or fully vaccinated but booster eligible you must quarantine for five days after contact with a COVID-19 positive individual.
Work with your healthcare provider to have a plan in the event you test positive. Be advised that treatments are now available for those with COVID-19.
COVID-19 vaccination and boosters are strongly recommended for all who are eligible (and are required for all SUNY students taking in-person classes). The SUNY New Paltz community has an extremely high vaccination rate, which provides significant protection. Those who are looking for a vaccination/booster shot can search appointments at vaccines.gov. The CDC has approved a second booster shot for certain immunocompromised individuals and people over the age of 50 who received an initial booster dose at least 4 months ago.
What are the CDC Community Levels, and what do they measure?
The CDC created the Community Levels tool for a new phase of pandemic management: One in which most people are at least partially vaccinated, and the majority of new COVID-19 cases are relatively mild.
Rather than focusing solely on total cases or test positivity rates, the Community Levels are determined by looking at hospital beds being used and hospital admissions for COVID-19, while also considering the total number of new COVID-19 cases in an area.
Levels can be Low, Medium or High based on these three factors. The chart below shows the CDC’s approach to determining the levels.
As of May 3, 2022, the Community Level in Ulster County is Medium. (Use this link to check the up-to-date Community Levels by County). In areas where the Community Level is Medium, the CDC recommends that those who are at high risk for severe illness talk to their healthcare provider about wearing a mask and taking other precautions.