Vol 3, Issue 4

22 February 2022


The latest updates on COVID-19, testing, and vaccines curated for L2R school districts.

Omicron Updates

Vendor’s Corner

L2R Toolbox

DOH Guidance

Learning Network

news: omicron wave

Omicron updates

Outlook in the US & Washington

Sharp declines in COVID-19 infections around the country are prompting state leaders to lift mask mandates and other safety protocols.

Here’s what to know:

  • New COVID-19 infections have dropped by more than 75% percent nationwide since the peak of the omicron surge in mid-January.
  • Hospitalizations due to COVID-19 have declined by nearly 60% since peaks in mid-January
  • The number of new cases and hospitalizations continue to fall, but deaths due to COVID-19 remain higher than any other time during the pandemic except for peaks last winter
  • Over half of state mask mandates have been lifted over the past month.
  • Children under 5 were hospitalized at a rate 5 times greater during the omicron wave than during the peaks of delta
  • As of February 14, 80.5% of Washingtonians 5 and older have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine and 72.7% of people 5 and older are fully vaccinated.
  • Only 28% of Washington children ages 5 to 11 have received both doses of vaccine. A little over half of kids ages 12 to 15 have received both doses of vaccine.

Mask mandates ending in Washington state

On February 17, Governor Inslee announced that the indoor mask mandate for K-12 schools and child care facilities will end on March 21, 2022. Despite falling case rates, hospitals continue to be overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients due to the unprecedented spike in infections caused by omicron last month. Projections show that COVID-19 hospitalizations will fall below 5 patients per 100,000 by March 21, prompting the timeline for the expiration of the mask mandate. 

Join us for the Learning Network Virtual Event, “What’s Next for Washington Schools and COVID-19?” to hear from state leaders on how this affects testing strategies moving forward and how schools can play a crucial role in driving vaccination uptake in their communities.

COVID-19 cases among children & youth in Washington state

A new Spanish language edition of this weekly report is now available! Lea el informe aquí.

Cases and hospitalizations for this population continue to decline. Here are the key findings from the DOH report on cases among children and youth (ages 0-19) from January 23 to February 6, 2022.

  • There were a total of 37,213 cases reported for this period (1,973.6 cases per 100,000). 
  • The total number of cases (37,213) decreased by 37% compared with the period January 16 to January 30, 2022 (59,551). 
  • The highest case rates were in Educational Service District (ESD) 171.
  • The highest case rates were among 4 to 10-year-olds (2,264.1 cases per 100,000).
  • There were 149 hospitalizations for this reporting period (7.9 hospitalizations per 100,000). This is down from 217 hospitalizations over the previous reporting period.

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Vendor’s Corner!

School-Based Vaccinations

Now is the time to help drive vaccination uptake in your community!

We may be on the down slope of an unprecedented surge, but COVID-19 isn’t going anywhere. The best way to combat future outbreaks, sickness, and lost learning days is to increase vaccination rates in your school community.

Vaccines are safe and protect all ages from severe disease caused by COVID-19. 

In Washington state, only 28% of children ages 5 to 11 have received both doses of vaccine, and a little over half of kids ages 12-15 have completed a full series. Only 6% of young people ages 12 to 17 have received a booster (children under 12 are not yet eligible for a booster). 

Schools can play a crucial role in driving vaccination uptake in the community, providing equal access for families, and safeguarding in-person learning and extracurriculars for students and staff. 

School leaders! It’s never been easier to host a vaccination event. Learn to Return will connect you with a DOH-approved vendor that has deep experience in school-based mobile vaccine events. 

Our vendors provide:

      • Online registration and parental consent forms in English and Spanish
      • Management of logistics including ordering of vaccines, storage, and handling
      • Specialized onsite staff for vaccination administration, support, and clinical monitoring 
      • Reporting to the Washington State Immunization Information System (WA IIS)

Let L2R guide your partnership with a DOH-approved mobile vaccine vendor and your local health jurisdiction to design, promote, and host successful vaccination events for your district!

Reach out to your L2R Program Manager today to schedule an event. 

Ages 5 and up are eligible for COVID-19 vaccines! Learn more at our Vaccine FAQs page.

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BD Veritor Visual Workflows

The BD Veritor for Limited Analyzer Settings SOPs provide detailed instructions for maximizing your supply of BD Veritor rapid antigen tests. Now our design team has put together simplified, visual tools that capture the information featured in the SOPs.

These resources feature visual representations of recommended workflows for using BD Veritor in high-, medium-, and low-volume testing scenarios.

Click the images above or visit the L2R Toolbox to download these resources and share with your teams to help further streamline your processes for rapid antigen testing with BD Veritor.

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Are You Testing Too Much?

Make sure your testing protocols are aligned with the guidance. 

Unless otherwise instructed by your local health jurisdiction, schools do not need to confirm a positive antigen test with a confirmatory PCR test. According to DOH guidance, a confirmatory PCR test or repeat antigen test is only necessary when “a person with COVID-19 symptoms tests negative for SARS-CoV-2 with an antigen test.” 

Help reduce over-testing and conserve resources by making sure you are not confirming for a positive rapid antigen test. 

Reach out to your L2R Program Manager with questions.

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What’s next for WA schools and COVID-19?

Case rates and hospitalizations are declining around the country as the latest and most aggressive COVID-19 surge is seeming to wane. States are lifting mask mandates and easing safety restrictions in response to trends that suggest the worst may actually be behind us.

How do we continue to provide safe learning environments for students, stop break-outs before they begin, and rebuild confidence in the community around safe sporting events, performing arts, and other extracurriculars? How do we adapt our testing protocols to align with updated guidance, and what role should schools play in driving vaccine demand? 

Join us for an important virtual event to discuss evolving testing strategies, updated DOH guidance, and how schools can play a crucial role in driving vaccination uptake in the community.

Michaela Miller

Deputy Superintendent, Washington Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction

Lacy Fehrenbach

Deputy Secretary for Prevention, Safety, and Health, Washington State Department of Health 

Sarah Sutton

Director of School Programs, Health Commons Project

We want to hear from you!

What topics do you most want to explore during this forum? What are your top questions and concerns for the rest of the school year and the 2022-2023 school year?

Complete this brief form to help guide the agenda for the upcoming event.

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covid-19 News

The coronavirus is here to stay — here’s what that means

Nature – February 16, 2022

Influenza and the four human coronaviruses that cause common colds are also endemic: but a combination of annual vaccines and acquired immunity means that societies tolerate the seasonal deaths and illnesses they bring without requiring lockdowns, masks and social distancing.


States Ease Mask Mandates, but Should You Still Wear a Mask?

The Wall Street Journal – February 14, 2022

There are several factors to weigh when making decisions about masking, doctors say. Among them are your own health, the vulnerability of people in your household, local case rates and your vaccination status. Doctors say it can make sense to take precautions even as governments pull back.

CDC expected to update mask guidance as early as next week

NBC News – February 15, 2022

New York and a number of other states led by Democratic governors — among the last to keep mask rules in place — have dropped their mask mandates for private businesses over the last few weeks as the omicron-fueled surge has abated.

Hints of a long COVID wave as Omicron fades

The Harvard Gazette – February 14, 2022

Those who care for long COVID patients say mild initial illness may offer little protection because the majority of cases [of long COVID] appear to stem from infections that didn’t require hospitalization.


See How Vaccinations Are Going in Your County and State

The New York Times – Updated frequently

As of February 15, 28% percent of the US population who have been fully vaccinated have received a booster shot.

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Word Search with Swab and Jab! 

You can find and download more Swab and Jab activity pages on the L2R Toolbox!