Staying Healthy Amidst Flu, RSV and COVID-19
November 18, 2022
Dear members of the SLU community,
As the Thanksgiving holiday approaches, I write to share some information that will help you protect your well-being this season, as well as the health of your friends and family.
Monitoring flu, RSV, and COVID-19 cases
We are seeing a high number of flu cases among our students on campus – many more than usual for this early in the flu season. According to the CDC, the U.S. is seeing a higher number of flu cases sooner than expected for this time of year, too.
St. Louis and the U.S. as a whole are also seeing a very high number of cases of Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV), a viral respiratory illness that generally causes mild disease in adults but can cause severe illness in very young children. St. Louis hospitals are experiencing a surge in admissions due to RSV, according to news reports.
We continue to monitor COVID-19 cases among our students and non-clinical employees on campus. Right now, we are seeing a plateau in cases that looks similar to what our region is experiencing. We anticipate an increase in COVID-19 cases as the fall semester ends, just as we have seen the past two years. As always, you can monitor SLU campus trends on our COVID-19 dashboard.
How you can protect your health & your loved ones
Thanksgiving is a time when we gather with friends and family. Some of our friends and loved ones are more susceptible to severe illness related to RSV, influenza, and/or COVID-19. Protect yourself and them by:
Getting vaccinated for flu and COVID-19. There is no vaccine for RSV, but you can protect high-risk individuals by following the other guidelines below.
- Performing hand hygiene frequently
- Staying home if you feel sick and avoid interacting with very young children, older individuals, or those with underlying health conditions that put them at risk for more severe disease
- Sneezing or coughing into a tissue, your sleeve, or the crook of your elbow. Immediately throw away a used tissue and then wash your hands.
- Cleaning and disinfecting surfaces frequently
What to do if you have symptoms
The symptoms for COVID-19, flu, and RSV are very similar. The best way to know which you have is by getting tested. Local health departments are now offering free drive-thru testing for RSV, flu, and COVID-19 using a single nasal swab. Appointments are not required. Testing is available from 8 a.m. - 4 p.m. on Tuesdays at the John C. Murphy Health Center and on Thursdays at the South County Health Center.
If you test positive over the Thanksgiving break, please stay home and do not return to campus. Please notify us for follow-up instructions.
- Students should contact Student Health (314-977-2323) and/or SLU’s Contact Tracing team at email@example.com to report a positive influenza and/or COVID-19 test.
- Employees who test positive for COVID-19 should report that to SLU’s Contact Tracing team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you have a fever (temperature over 1000F) but test negative, stay home. Do not come to work or class/campus until you have been fever-free for 24 hours without the need to take fever-reducing medication.
If you have flu or COVID-19-like symptoms other than a fever but test negative, you may come to campus for work or class, but you must wear a mask until your symptoms have resolved.
If you would like to obtain a free thermometer or mask(s), please email email@example.com or visit the COVID-19 response team in DuBourg Hall, Room 022, during our testing hours: Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday between 11 a.m. - 1 p.m. Note: there is no testing when the University is closed for Thanksgiving break (Thursday and Friday, November 24 and 25).
Stay safe and be well.
Terri Rebmann, Ph.D., RN, CIC, FAPIC
Special Assistant to the President
Director, Institute for Biosecurity
Professor, Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics
College for Public Health and Social Justice