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COVID-19 Guidance for Patients, Employees and Students

September 1, 2023

To: All UMMC Faculty, Staff and Students
From: Dr. Alan Jones, Associate Vice Chancellor for Clinical Affairs
Subject: COVID-19 Guidance for Patients, Employees and Students

As cases of COVID-19 increase in the community, hospitalizations related to COVID-19 are also increasing. It is important that we follow recent recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for COVID-19 testing and isolation to mitigate spread of the disease.

COVID-19 Testing and Isolation Precautions Recommendations for Patients

Testing recommendations:

  • Closely monitor patients for any signs and symptoms that may indicate COVID-19 infection (CDC-created list of symptoms can be found here).
  • Immediately place the patient in contact and droplet isolation precautions and transfer to a negative pressure room.
  • Order and collect a SARS CoV-2 PCR test to confirm diagnosis. If positive, consult Infectious Diseases for patient evaluation and treatment eligibility.

Isolation precautions requirement:

  • Hospitalized patients - 10 days from symptom onset/positive test date for otherwise healthy patients who are fever free without medication and respiratory symptoms are improved. Immunocompromised and critically ill patients are required to stay in isolation for 20 days.
  • Outpatient clinics - Isolation is recommended for five days from symptom onset/positive test date. If fever free without medication and respiratory symptoms improve, isolation can end at day five. However, masking is strictly recommended around others for the next five days. If COVID-19 positive patients are not able to comply with strict masking for the next five days, it is safer to continue isolation until day 10. Isolation for immunocompromised patients remains the same (20 days).

COVID-19 Testing and Isolation Precautions Recommendations for Employees and Students

Testing recommendations:

  • If you are exposed to someone with COVID-19 infection, closely monitor for symptoms. If you are symptomatic, take a COVID-19 test at home or at a local clinic. UMMC Family Medicine clinics (Lakeland and Flowood locations) offer appointment-based testing. Established patients can schedule an appointment online through MyChart. New patients can call the clinic at 5-5700 or 4-6800. Employees can use the 4-CARE line as well for Quick Care appointments. Lab only visits are not offered for testing.

Isolation precautions requirement:

  • For a COVID-19 positive result, guidelines remain active that were put in place on May 11. You should isolate at home for five days. Following five days of isolation, you may return to work when symptoms are improved and you are fever free for 24 hours without use of medication. Mask use is required for the five days following isolation, until day 10 from the onset of symptoms.
  • For a COVID-19 negative result, return to work when fever free for 24 hours without use of medication and other symptoms are improved.

Even though most of us are vaccinated or might have had COVID-19 infection in the past, it’s still possible to be infected, re-infected or pass along an infection to others. Mask use, proper hand hygiene and social distancing remain very effective tools in curbing viral spread.

Wearing a well-fitting mask around others helps protect you and your patients. If you are immunocompromised, elderly or taking care of high-risk patient populations, we strongly encourage you to wear a mask.

As a reminder, while we recommend the COVID-19 vaccine and boosters, it remains optional for employees and students. Also, there have been no changes to our most recent UMMC mask-use guidance found here.

Thank you.