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A safety message from SBU's Health Center doctor

Nov 21, 2020 |

Dear Students:

I know this has been a challenging semester, but I want to thank you for the efforts you’ve made to keep our campus community safe.

As a physician I know how important adherence to safety protocols has been during the pandemic, and despite the few potholes we hit along the way, I think your overall commitment to being part of a community that cares about each other has been impressive.

It’s unfortunate that we came so close to the finish line before stumbling a bit down the stretch, but colleagues I know from other universities have marveled at what we’ve been able to accomplish here for the vast majority of the semester. Just a week ago, we had only three active cases.

But with COVID-19 cases spiking all across the country, I want to urge all of you: This is not the time to let your guard down. Please abide strictly by all CDC-recommended health and safety protocols when you return home. 

If there are high-risk family members at home, you should distance yourself from everyone in the household for two weeks. Even if your family is the picture of health, be vigilant. Wash your hands often. Wear your mask in public. Stay socially distant. And limit your holiday travels.

I know Thanksgiving is a time for celebrating family and all that we’re grateful for, maybe this year more than ever. But don’t be afraid to take your Thanksgiving dinner to your room if you think that’s the best way to keep any elderly relative or family member with a serious health condition safe. 

I caution you to not be falsely reassured by negative COVID-19 results. Testing has been very helpful to confirm a COVID-19 diagnosis, but it’s far from foolproof. It can take anywhere from five to 14 days after exposure to become contagious. Spread of the virus is most likely to occur in the two to four days prior to a person exhibiting any symptoms.

“Hill Street Blues” was one of the most honored TV shows of all-time. Sgt. Phil Esterhaus always concluded his roll call of police officers with the same indelible line: “Let’s be careful out there.”

To you and your families, please enjoy a happy — and safe — Thanksgiving, and best of luck the last two weeks of the semester. 

Dr. Marlene Wust-Smith
Medical Director
SBU Center for Student Wellness

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