May 27, 2020

UF Health COVID-19 testing offered at no cost to participants

UF Health COVID TestingAs part of UF’s return-to-workplace initiative and UF Health’s efforts to test, screen and protect our community, all faculty and staff are being asked to participate in an in-person COVID-19 test. While UF Health will submit insurance claims to obtain payment for charges incurred as part of testing from third party payors or their agents, please be assured that UF Health will adjust any amounts insurance does not pay so there is no out-of-pocket cost to you.

If you see indications of billing on communications you receive from your insurer, please know that adjustments are forthcoming. If you still have questions, please contact UF Health Billing Services at (352) 265-7906 or (888) 766-8154.

Can I safely reuse a disposable mask?

Disposable MasksAccording to UF Health Chief Epidemiologist Nicole Iovine, non-washable masks can be safely re-used many times if properly cared for. To do so, check the mask each day. If it is visibly soiled or damaged, it should be discarded.

If the mask is reusable, it can be folded so that the part that touches your face is on the inside, and then placed inside a clean paper bag for three days. Don’t put it in a plastic bag, as it would stay damp.

The COVID virus cannot survive longer than three days on the mask, so you can safely re-use the mask on the fourth day. By rotating your masks in this way, you can be sure you have a supply of safe masks to wear.

Waiting with bated breath for a coronavirus breakthrough

Woman shopping with maskWhile the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend 6 feet of social distancing, it’s not like an invisible force field goes up at the 6-foot mark, stopping the virus in its tracks. How you breathe and where you breathe matters too.

“I give 26 hours of lecture just on respiration,” says University of Florida physiologist Paul Davenport, director of UF’s Center for Respiratory Research and Rehabilitation.

Learn more about the ways we breathe in this Explore article.

UF/IFAS prepares to return to full operations

UF/IFAS prepares employees in Gainesville and throughout the state for a return to full operations

UF/IFAS has already distributed approximately 25,000 masks, including about 1,000 cloth ones last week, to its first group of employees who are returning to the workplace as well as essential employees who have been working all along. An additional 100 one-gallon containers of hand sanitizer were also distributed.

Items were delivered to locations throughout the state as well as for those on UF’s main campus. Goldie King, executive assistant, and Kim Rollins, administrative support assistant, in the UF/IFAS Senior Vice President’s office worked with the UF/IFAS Dean for Research and UF/IFAS Human Resources, Diversity and Inclusion offices to determine the distribution assignments.

“It has been our pleasure to be of assistance to our administrators, faculty and staff during this crisis,” said King. “We are at 90 percent completion of the statewide dissemination of masks and sanitizers, based upon the allocation report prepared by Dr. Rob Gilbert. The distribution process has gone smoothly.”

King and Rollins were especially grateful to the faculty and staff who provided assistance with delivering appropriate allocations to the centers and units both on- and off-campus, including Randy Edwards of the School of Forest Resources, pictured above with King.

“A labor of love and sacrifice”
College of Medicine Class of 2020 joins front lines

Colleen CowderyShe hasn’t even begun her emergency medicine residency yet, but UF College of Medicine graduate Colleen Cowdery, M.D., has gained unforgettable, on-the-ground experience that makes her eager to join the front lines of health care providers in the fight against COVID-19.

Cowdery volunteered her time and expertise with COVID-19 testing efforts throughout the state — at The Villages® and in Jacksonville, Cedar Key and Gainesville. Her experiences at these testing sites strengthened her passion for disaster management and logistical organization, a drive that she will bring to her residency and future career.

“The first day of any testing site always brings some level of barely contained chaos. There are unique challenges you can’t predict until you’re on the ground. I love that,” said Cowdery. “I love arriving the day of and thinking, what’s going on and how can we address it? There are tons of puzzles to figure out.”

Cowdery is one of the 129 members of the College of Medicine’s Class of 2020 who graduated with an M.D. on May 16. Read more about the 61st annual UF College of Medicine commencement ceremony in this Doctor Gator story.