Research Lab Policies in Response to Delta Variant

Aug 2, 2021, 12:18 PM by Melodi Moore

Due to the increased number of COVID-19 Delta variant cases in our region additional safety measures are being re-instated for all UTMB research labs.  These practices are based on the principles stated at the original return of lab personnel in April 2020.

Principles

  1. The privacy and personal health information of individuals working in the research enterprise must be protected.

     

  2. Systems, policies, and practice must generally align with accepted methods of controlling the spread of infectious diseases.

     

  3. Policies and systems must be fair and evenly applied to each division, and department, and each type of research.

     

  4. Recognize substantive differences in laboratory and clinical research operations by department, in terms of location, laboratory personnel density, and operational procedures, and permit sufficient flexibility for each department or division to optimize for each situation.

     

  5. The research enterprise at UTMB is a critical mission for the institution, and must be allowed to continue expeditiously, consistent with the above principles.

 

Lab Recommendations 

With these principles in mind, research labs should look at returning to COVID-19 safety protocols.  These include, but are not limited to the following: 

  • Face masks or face coverings are highly recommended to be worn in labs and public settings such as break rooms and general lab areas when working within 3’ of others.

     

    • NOTE: Individuals should wear a mask if they’ve been exposed to COVID but are on-site because they are not showing symptoms and are awaiting test results. See this page for more information.

       

  • Physical distancing in all labs.

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  • Rotating teams of personnel into shifts when possible, thereby limiting personnel density.

     

  • Employees with fever, cough or other symptoms should stay home until tested – even if vaccinated.

 

Clinical research will continue at current standards. 

Due to increased hospitalizations, we are requesting the following precautions be followed on the ITS – Clinical Research Center effective immediately: 

  • Subjects will need COVID Testing for the following:
    • Admissions (overnight stay)
    • Undergoing invasive procedures such as central lines 
    • Any procedure or potential exposure in which puts personnel close to face of subject for more than 10 minutes 
  • Masks are required for all staff and subjects at all times

Please read updated visitor policies below.  The CRC will be following Clinic guidelines for all outpatient visits and Adult Medical/Surgical guidelines for inpatient admissions.  Subjects requiring special assistance will be approved on a case-by-case basis.   Please contact Lamonne Crutcher at lmcrutch@utmb.edu with any questions or concerns.