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Butler County moves to high risk for COVID-19, meaning masks at Miami for now

Butler County’s risk level for COVID-19 has changed from low risk to high risk for the first time since February, according to the CDC. While Butler County is considered high risk, Miami University students, faculty and staff will be required to wear masks indoors on campus.

In an email sent July 22, the Miami University COVID Response Team notified the Miami community of the change. The email also included a reminder that when Butler County is high-risk, people on campus should wear a mask indoors, following CDC recommendations.

In March, Miami announced it would tie its mask requirement to the transmission risk level for Butler County. 

High risk status requires masks in all indoor spaces on campus. Medium risk requires masks inside classrooms and recommends them in other indoor locations. Low risk means masks are optional on campus.

Since the drop of Miami’s overall mask mandate, Butler County has consistently been considered low risk, meaning for most of the spring 2022 semester, Miami students didn’t have to wear masks. 

The change in risk level comes after a new variant of COVID-19, BA.5, has surfaced. BA.5 is an omicron subvariant, is highly transmissible and resistant to COVID-19 vaccines. Still, unvaccinated people are five times more likely to contract the virus and 7.5 times more likely to be hospitalized.

The email suggests taking precautions such as staying up to date with COVID-19 vaccines and getting tested if you experience symptoms.

Free, at-home antigen tests are available on campus at Armstrong Student Center, King Library and the Recreation Center. Free at-home tests are also available by mail from the federal government, and those covered by Miami’s student health plan or employee health plan can be reimbursed for over-the-counter diagnostic tests.

Miami’s COVID Management Team will host a webinar August 5 at noon to discuss COVID-19 plans and protocols for the fall semester. Registration information for the webinar will be available next week.


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