Message from Dr. Ramirez to Purdue faculty and staff: Don’t let your mask down
Dear Purdue faculty and staff,
I write today to provide an update on the COVID-19 situation on our campus. We are seeing real signs of COVID fatigue. As with the state and country as a whole, cases associated with the university are up in recent weeks, and unlike earlier in the semester, these mostly are not connected to congregate living communities, rather to cases in the Greater Lafayette community.
Our COVID dashboard shows daily case numbers at or near triple digits — today you will see an additional 111 positive cases from Wednesday tests. Employee cases are rising, as are cases among our off-campus students. There is no evidence that these cases come from classrooms, labs or offices at Purdue. Contact tracing indicates that they come from people letting their guard — or masks — down and taking part in activities that were typically avoided earlier in the pandemic:
- Eating at restaurants
- Going to bars
- Sharing rides
- Attending parties or other indoor gatherings — even small indoor gatherings with family and friends.
Because of this increased community positivity rates, Tippecanoe County is now in Orange status according to the state, which can lead to additional restrictions being put on schools, workplaces, gatherings and more.
We have made it to November and only have a few weeks remaining to complete the on-campus portion of the fall semester. Each and every person associated with the Protect Purdue Health Center and the Protect Purdue team are grateful to each of you for continuing to protect yourselves, each other and our community. Now is not the time to relax. We must focus and continue the steps we undertook just a couple of months ago.
I urge you to fight the COVID fatigue and double down on the Protect Purdue Pledge, knowing that each and every action has a consequence. Even a quick trip for coffee where we get lax with our masks or social distancing, or a shared ride where we don’t mask up can unknowingly lead to spread of the virus. Further, staying vigilant now will help ensure that you keep your family and loved ones safe when you go home or if you visit others for Thanksgiving.
Remember: Each of you adopted the Protect Purdue Pledge at the beginning of the semester, which requires that we practice critical safety measures at all times, including while off-campus or off-the-clock: masking, social distancing, monitoring daily for symptoms and practicing good personal hygiene.
Purdue knows that small steps can lead to giant leaps. Please keep taking those small steps to Protect Purdue.
Thank you for all that you are doing.
Chief Medical Officer
Protect Purdue Health Center