IPE recommendations for holiday travel/gatherings and testing

November 17, 2021  //  FOUND IN: Updates & Resources

With the upcoming holiday season and rise in COVID-19 and flu cases, here is some guidance from Infection Prevention & Epidemiology related to preventing the spread of COVID-19 and other respiratory viruses during holiday travel and gatherings. 

In-person, unmasked holiday gatherings for units/departments continue to be discouraged. Food can be provided to health care workers or brought in to share but should be either individually wrapped or served in a manner to avoid potential cross-contamination. Hand hygiene should be performed prior to serving or distributing food. Food should be consumed in designated areas while appropriately distanced from others (6 feet). Congregating and removing masks within 6 feet of others poses a significant exposure risk.

Vaccination is key to preventing the spread of COVID-19 and influenza. If you haven’t already been vaccinated, it’s not too late.

For those traveling this holiday season, the CDC recommends people be fully vaccinated prior to travel.  If you plan to travel domestically, please follow the guidance below. If you plan to travel internationally, please check the CDC’s COVID-19 Travel Recommendations by Destination for vaccination and testing requirements prior to planning travel. 

Occupational Health Services does not provide COVID-19 testing for personal travel. There are multiple other options to get tested for COVID-19 prior to and following your return to Michigan. 

  • U-M is partnering with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services to provide free, pop-up, rapid antigen testing on campus Nov. 18-20 to the university community and family members in anticipation of holiday travel. Registering in advance using the online portal here is recommended. Please note that antigen testing does not meet CDC requirements that call for PCR testing for international travel, though our Community Sampling and Tracking Program does offer PCR tests. 
  • Community Sampling and Tracking Program (CSTP): There are multiple CSTP locations with one located in the Michigan Medicine Towsley Lobby. Please note the Towsley location will have different holiday hours during Thanksgiving week (the week of Nov. 25). Those hours are as follows:
    • Monday, Nov. 22: 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.
    • Tuesday, Nov. 23: 7 a.m. – 7 p.m.
    • Wednesday, Nov. 24: 7 a.m. – 5 p.m.
    • Thursday, Nov. 25: Closed
    • Friday, Nov. 26: 7 a.m. – 5 p.m.
    • Saturday, Nov. 27: 7 a.m. – 3 p.m.
    • Monday, Nov. 28: 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.
  • The CSTP site at Rachel Upjohn has the following holiday hours:
    • Wednesday, Nov. 24: 7:30 a.m. – 4 p.m.
    • Thursday, Nov. 25-Monday, Nov. 29: Closed

Other options include visiting your local pharmacy that offers COVID-19 testing (e.g., CVS, Walgreens, etc.) or purchasing COVID-19 at-home test kits from local and online retailers (e.g., CVS, Walgreens, Target, Amazon, etc.).