COVID-19 infection prevention: hone your strategy and be consistent

Published: January 14, 2022 Author: Staff reports

While the OHIO community experiences a sharp increase in COVID-19 cases on its campuses, consistently using all available public health safety measures is critical.

Gillian Ice, special assistant to the president for public health operations, explains that individuals must not rely too much on any one prevention strategy.

“I get a lot of questions about why we are masking if so many people also are testing weekly, about why vaccinated individuals need to continue testing, and so forth,” Ice said. “None of us should rely on any single prevention measure. It is by layering them – consistently – that we are best protected from infection and transmission.”

Ice offers the following tips for protecting yourself from infection by layering protective measures: 

  1. Vaccine + booster dose: Start with this highly protective layer that keeps people out of hospitals and alive. Get vaccinated or boosted.
  2. Testing: Regularly test so that you can identify an asymptomatic infection and isolate before you spread it. Testing regularly – at least once a week, vaccinated or not -- is key. "It is critical that individuals understand that a negative test indicates only that an individual is negative at the time of the test,” Ice said. “That individual could be positive later that day, or the next day. This is why using the other layers, in addition to continuing to test, is so important.”  Get tested.
  3. Mask indoors: Use a quality mask so that in case you are unknowingly infected, you are not spreading it to others. It will protect you, too. OHIO mask policy and where to get a mask.
  4. Avoid large gatherings: Keep your social gatherings small and limit interactions with individuals from outside your household or core group of friends. Review these tips for gathering safely if you must attend or host an event.
  5. Stay home if you don’t feel well. COVID-related absences are legitimate University absences.

Using the example of a pile of Swiss cheese slices, each with several holes, Ice explains that each prevention measure is not 100 percent effective: “But if you layer enough slices on top of each other, you get a solid block of cheese.”