COVID-19 update: Holiday travel and COVID-19 positivity rates

Campus fall scene in the walkway beside Hanes Art Center on the campus of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. November 16, 2021. (Jon Gardiner/UNC-Chapel Hill)

Dear Carolina Community,

Thank you for your continued support of your community. We are excited to be heading into the Thanksgiving holiday next week, and want to update the community on testing, hours of operation and recent numbers.

As the weather is turning colder and more activities are shifting indoors, it is a good time to remind everyone to adhere to the COVID-19 Community Standards. If you must eat indoors, please limit the time you are with others and only remove your mask while actively eating or drinking. Follow the CDC COVID-19 travel guidelines if you plan to leave campus or the community for the Thanksgiving holiday and check out these tips for navigating holiday gatherings during the pandemic. Following this guidance will help our community return to campus and safely end the semester.

Carolina Together Testing Program
While we are happy to report that the number of positive COVID-19 cases on the campus continues to be very low, we have seen an increase in the positivity rate between Nov. 8 and Nov. 14, going up to 0.66% from 0.31% in the previous week. This increase is not unexpected as compared to what we are seeing across the state and country, and we are continuing to monitor case counts.

Most of the positive student cases we have identified in our community experience relatively mild, cold-like symptoms. Campus Health has not received any reports of student hospitalizations due to COVID-19 this semester. We continue to recommend that vaccinated individuals test no more than one time each week.

All Carolina community members who have not attested to COVID-19 vaccination must participate in once weekly testing. We encourage all unvaccinated members of our community to get a COVID-19 vaccine and let us know. It is not too late!

Please note the Carolina Together Testing Program’s reduced holiday hours:
• Monday, Nov. 22: 9am-5pm
• Tuesday, Nov. 23: 7am-5pm
• Wednesday, Nov.24 – Sunday Nov. 28: Closed
• Monday, Nov. 29: Regular hours resume

Employee Vaccine Requirement
In accordance with President Biden’s Executive Order 14042 and guidance from the Safer Workforce Task Force, the deadline for employees of federal contractors to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 has been extended to Jan. 4, 2022. Learn more on the COVID-19 Vaccination page. While the COVID-19 booster is not a part of this requirement, we encourage everyone eligible to get a booster as soon as they can.

Get Your Flu Shot
Campus Health has administered nearly 7,000 flu vaccines this year. Being vaccinated against influenza will help reduce the overall burden of respiratory diseases and help conserve health care resources. Please bring your insurance card with you when you receive your vaccine on campus. If you do not obtain your flu vaccination on campus but obtain one through your primary care provider or at a community pharmacy or clinic, you can still self-report compliance.

As the Thanksgiving holiday approaches, the Carolina Together Testing Program team would like to extend its sincere gratitude to every member of the Carolina community working to keep our campus safe and healthy. Have a relaxing, joyful and safe holiday!

The Carolina Together Testing Program team