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Davis, California

Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Joint city, university led efforts provide COVID-19 resources for students

COVID-19 resources are offered as the city prepares to welcome new and returning students to Davis

COVID-19 testing positivity in Yolo County has peaked but is no longer rising; however, as students return to campus for fall quarter, it is important to be aware of the COVID-19 resources available to both students and community members. 

In recent weeks, the Delta variant has made up the vast majority of positive cases in Yolo County, making up 95% of positive samples at the UC Davis Genome Center from Aug. 15 to Aug. 21.

Yolo County Communications Coordinator Frank Scheneegas explained that the most important thing for Yolo County residents to do is to get vaccinated. 

“We are offering to take vaccine[s] directly to anyone in Yolo County as part of a call to order delivery program,” Scheneegas said via email. “Vaccines have been shown time and time again to be overwhelmingly safe and effective. On 8/30, 94% of COVID-19 positive patients in Yolo hospitals were unvaccinated.” 

In addition to the testing opportunities provided by Healthy Yolo Together, Schneegas recommended that residents contact their local pharmacies, which also provide testing options. 

Healthy Davis Together Medical Director Dr. Sheri Belafsky explained that the strategies employed by Health Davis Together have helped Davis maintain a low coronavirus transmission rate.

“As medical director, I plan and direct medical and health services for Healthy Davis Together, including COVID-19 testing, vaccine outreach and distribution and case investigation,” Belafsky said. “Healthy Yolo Together is a companion effort to Healthy Davis Together [that] expands COVID-19 testing and vaccine support services to more communities in Yolo County.” 

In addition to Healthy Davis Together’s testing and educational messaging programs, the campus Aggie Public Health Ambassador program is another critical resource, according to Belafsky. 

“Aggie Public Health Ambassadors or APHAs are trained UC Davis undergraduate and graduate students who model healthy behavior and encourage campus and community members to make healthy choices that reduce the transmission of SARS-CoV-2,” Belafsky said. “APHAs build community and ensure everyone who walks on campus feels a sense of belonging and that they are valued members of our broader community.” 

Belafsky explained that part of achieving Healthy Davis Together’s goal of welcoming back students is making sure that students reintegrate safely. 

“Students are an important part of what gives our community its identity so we are pleased to see them returning,” Belafsky said. “That said, I encourage all students to get vaccinated and remain vigilant. [Wear] masks, particularly indoors, [follow] guidance on gatherings and [continue] to test regularly. Even when vaccinated, these measures are critically important.”  

Like Schneegas, Belafsky stressed the importance of getting the vaccine and regular COVID-19 testing.

“One of the ways that Healthy Davis Together helps facilitate the safe integration of students into the community is widely available, free, saliva COVID-19 testing,” Belafsky said. “Because people continue to test positive for COVID-19 in Yolo County we encourage the community to get tested regularly.” 

Those who have not yet been vaccinated can schedule a vaccination appointment or access more public health information at the Healthy Davis Together website. Campus-specific information can be found at the UC Davis campus ready website

Fourth-year managerial economics major Fatima Alvarez explained that while she is nervous about COVID-19, she is also excited to return to in-person learning. 

“I am a little hesitant about the influx of students but I like that we are going [back] to campus,” Alvarez said. “I’m vaccinated — I saw that most students are going to be vaccinated, which is a good sign.”

Alvarez, who also works as an orientation leader, is excited for the in-person orientation but wary of possible COVID-19 outbreaks. She advised incoming students to be mindful of those around them and keep their masks on. 

“I’ve worked as an orientation leader for two years and this in-person orientation is a good thing, but we also went from having no one on campus to having 10,000 incoming students coming to campus [for orientation],” Alvarez said. “Be safe and be courteous — there’s other ways to have fun that don’t involve taking off your mask.” 

Written by: Yan Yan Hustis Hayes — city@theaggie.org


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