July 31, 2020
I hope this message finds you healthy and well.
I want to respond to concerns about Florida being a national hotspot for positive cases by sharing information on the testing and tracing efforts that are key to helping us to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 on our campus.
I am in regular communication with local and state health officials, and I share their guidance and the latest epidemiological data with university leadership.
Together, we are making decisions that best support both our students’ academic success and our campus community’s well-being as we prepare for the return to UCF.
Reporting Positive Cases
Earlier this month, we added a section to the coronavirus website that lists positive case statistics. We believe this is an important way to keep our community informed and vigilant.
A recent national news article brought to light how universities across the country are tracking and reporting positive cases of COVID-19. Please note that universities count and report cases in different ways, making comparisons difficult. A majority of the cases UCF listed had no contact with our campuses.
At UCF, it is simple: If you are a student or employee who has tested positive, we want to know, no matter your location. The number of all cases involving students, faculty and staff that we are aware of will be transparently shared on the coronavirus website, in a manner that is in accordance with patient and student privacy laws.
Many of UCF’s reported cases of COVID-19 are a result of the university’s contact tracing efforts, and we are expanding the team to accommodate the increased demand as more return to UCF.
How Contact Tracing Works
We have been active in asking our students and faculty and staff members to report any positive cases of COVID-19 to us, regardless of whether they have stepped foot on any of UCF’s campuses.
The UCF COVID Line, 407-823-2509, was established to give you one place to report positive tests, ask questions about symptoms, and request a telehealth visit to be screened for possible testing.
When UCF becomes aware of a case, our contact tracers, with support from the Florida Department of Health in Orange County, work to identify others who have potentially been exposed so that they can take appropriate precautions. For on-campus cases, UCF Environmental Health & Safety evaluates the need for the cleaning and disinfecting.
We appreciate those of you who have come forward and reported that you have tested positive for COVID-19. It is a brave acknowledgement that you care about your own health and the well-being of those around you, and you have my best wishes for good health and healing.
Self-Checking for COVID-19
The COVID-Self Checker is another tool we are using to screen for symptoms and prevent spread.
Employees must continue to fill out the COVID Self-Checker each day before arriving on campus to screen for symptoms. The self-checker is available via the UCF Mobile app or online. Student and visitor/vendor versions of the COVID Self-Checker will roll out in mid-August.
The importance of monitoring your own symptoms and taking precautions – wearing a face covering, washing your hands and practicing physical distancing – cannot be understated.
COVID-19 remains dynamic, and we know these steps are critical in stopping the pandemic’s spread, no matter where you are.
Armor Up, Knights!
Dr. Michael Deichen, MD, MPH
Associate Vice President of UCF Student Health Services