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Public health concerns update

Posted by:
August 23, 2022

Dear PLU Community,

We are writing today to provide you with a follow up to the communication that you received on July 29, 2022. In that communication, we outlined fall protocols for both COVID-19 and MPX (previously referred to as Monkeypox). Now that more detailed information about risk mitigation for MPX has become available from the CDC, the Washington Department of Health (WADOH), and Tacoma–Pierce County Public Health (TPCPH), we are sharing that information, as well as updating you on the continued availability of masks and antigen-testing supplies on campus.

First, a reminder about antigen self test and mask pick-up points on campus. As long as we are able to maintain access to supplies, antigen tests will remain available at no cost at both Old Main Market and Campus Safety. You are also encouraged to order your three free tests at, and to keep your own readily available set of antigen tests. PCR tests (rapid PCRs will be available soon) continue to be available through the Curative kiosk in the Health Center parking lot and, for symptomatic students, both rapid antigen and PCR tests are available through the Health Center.

KN95 masks may be picked up at Old Main Market, Campus Safety, residence hall front desks, and The CAVE.

The CDC, WADOH, and TPCPH have continued to update the public about the MPX public-health emergency, and they also continue to emphasize that most people are at low risk for contracting the virus. Higher levels of risk are associated with some behaviors or environmental conditions; the following chart, provided by the Chicago Department of Health, offers a visual summary of risk for transmission based on activity.

Stop the Spread | Stop the Stigma | Know Your Risks

Activity Risk Raising for Monkeypox Transmission

Most Risky indicator in red for MonkeyPox Transmission

  • Direct contact with infectious rash, scabs, or body fluids
  • Sexual or intimate contact (please note that condoms do not protect against Monkeypox transmission)

More Risky indicator in orange for MonkeyPox Transmission

  • Kissing
  • Cuddling
  • Dancing at a crowded party inside with non-fully clothed people

Possible indicator in yellow for MonkeyPox Transmission

  • Sharing drinks
  • Sharing a bed, towels, or personal toiletry items
  • Dancing at a crowded party inside with fully clothed people

Unlikely indicator in green for MokeyPox Transmission

  • Dancing at a party outside with mostly clothed people
  • Coworker-to-Coworker transmission
  • Trying on clothing at a store
  • Touching a doorknob
  • Traveling in a airport or on a plane
  • In a swimming pool, hot tub, or body of water
  • In public restrooms or on public transit
  • At a grocery store or coffee shop or a gym (via equipment)

The CDC has also provided useful MPX guidance for young adults that is also applicable to our larger community.Our colleagues at the University of Massachusetts said it best when they shared the following: We recognize that there is risk for stigma or discrimination when communicating about a new disease outbreak. We all have a responsibility to reject any stigmatizing words or actions related to the MPV virus and instead, share accurate information so that people can make the best decisions for their health and the health of our community.  

If you are a student and suspect you have been exposed to MPX and/or are experiencing symptoms, please contact the Health Center;if you’re an employee and suspect exposure or feel symptoms, contact your health provider. In any case, If you are experiencing symptoms or waiting for test results, be sure to isolate yourself until cleared by your healthcare provider.

If you need to get tested or treated for MPX and don’t have direct access to a healthcare provider or insurance, or would like more anonymity, call the Tacoma–Pierce County Health Department at (253) 649-1412.

Further resources and information can be found on the “What about Monkeypox” button. This site will be updated regularly and as we receive news and guidance from our local and state public-health partners.

In community,

Elizabeth Hopper
Director of the Health Center

Dr. Joanna Royce-Davis
Vice President for Student Life

Teri Phillips
Vice President and Chief Operating Officer