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Entering September always brings to mind the feeling of a fresh start, of new beginnings. At the same time, I know many of you are facing new challenges with back-to-school this fall and the various forms returning to classes is taking. Amidst the juggle of this new season, the good news is we are continuing to see COVID-19 trends moving in the right direction across our state.

Along with current COVID-19 data, today’s message provides an overview of our updated employee policy on returning to work after infection or testing, information on priority testing access for you and your families, and prevention education resources.

Updates for today

  • UW Medicine COVID-19 Activity Summary
  • Local/National/Global Epidemiology
  • Employee Return-to-Work Policy Update
  • COVID-19 Testing Access for Employees and Family Members
  • COVID-19 Prevention Education


UW Medicine COVID-19 Activity Summary
UW Medicine COVID-19 Daily Census Trend

Local/National/Global Epidemiology

King County: Public Health – Seattle & King County is reporting 19,915 total cases and 730 deaths as of Sept. 3. Approximately 5.3% of all tests performed are positive and the number of new positive tests is currently at 77/14 days/100,000 people. As of Sept. 2, the effective reproductive (Re) number was estimated to be 1.04, which indicates that the epidemic is getting slightly better.

Washington: The Department of Health reports 75,856 cases and 1,945 deaths as of Sept. 3. Of the 1,518,089 people who have been tested, 5% have been positive as of Sept. 2.

United States: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports 6,087,403 COVID-19 cases and 185,092 deaths as of Sept. 3.

Global: The WHO COVID-19 Dashboard reports 26,171,112 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 865,154 deaths as of Sept. 4.

Employee Return-to-Work Policy Update

UW Medicine has revised the COVID-19 employee return-to-work policy to remain consistent with recent Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines. The goal of updating our guidelines is to keep our patients, staff, trainees, students and faculty as safe as possible. The updated policy applies only to employees of the UW Medicine health system, clinical personnel and medical students. It does not apply to School of Medicine employees.

Please take note of the following key updates:

  • If you have COVID-like symptoms* and do not get a COVID-19 test, you should stay home from work for at least 10 days and must use your own personal or sick time for your absence.
  • If you have been working, have symptoms and test positive for COVID-19, you should stay home from work for at least 10 days and will receive administrative leave time.
  • If you test negative for COVID-19 and are asymptomatic, you may return to work when you are feeling better and at least 24 hours after your last fever and must use your own personal or sick time for your absence.

* COVID-19-like symptoms: fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, diarrhea.

For more information, please refer to the policy and FAQ.

COVID-19 Testing Access for Employees and Family Members

As a reminder, UW Medicine provides COVID-19 testing for all employees. We now offer new priority access to scheduling for family members living in the same household. To get an appointment, employees or family members should do the following:

Employee Household Members: Call the priority testing number to get an appointment through our Contact Center: 206.520.5050.

Employees: Fill out our UW Medicine COVID-19 Testing Survey. After you complete the survey, you can schedule your appointment through Calendly.

COVID-19 Prevention Education

At UW Medicine, we are taking precautions to continue keeping our environments safe. It’s important that everyone is familiar with how COVID-19 is transmitted, your safety expectations at work, and what you as an employee should be doing to protect yourself, co-workers, patients and visitors.

Please take the time to review the new COVID-19 Training Module materials to ensure you have the most up-to-date information on prevention education. For additional information on COVID-19 patient care training, please contact your manager.

As we see the seasons shift, that means the onset of colder temps and a gradual transition to spending more time indoors with others. With these changes, awareness, physical distancing and other safe pandemic practices are more important than ever to maintain the great progress we’ve already made in keeping our community healthy. The more that we look out for each other, the safer we all are.

Thanks, as always, for all that you do.


John Lynch, MD, MPH
Medical Director, Infection Prevention & Control
Associate Medical Director, Harborview Medical Center
Division of Allergy & Infectious Diseases, UW School of Medicine