Vol 3, Issue 818 APRIL 2022
The latest updates on COVID-19, testing, and vaccines curated for L2R school districts.
Spring break news
Swab and Jab
SPRING BREAK NEWSLETTER
Here’s what you might have missed over Spring Break
Saliva tests are here!
The SalivaDirectTM assay from Atlas Genomics is the non-invasive test option that provides quick and accurate PCR testing for COVID-19. Learn more.
Testing strategies & supplies
Diagnostic testing and outbreak readiness are key components to an ongoing testing strategy during periods of low testing demand. Read on.
Spanish Vaccine FAQs
Our Preguntas Frecuentes Sobre La Vacunación (“Vaccine FAQs”) provide up-to-date facts and figures about eligibility, safety, and efficacy of vaccines for school-aged children.
Authorized use of expired iHealth & other rapid tests
DOH has approved the use of all rapid antigen tests, including iHealth, after expiration if the built-in quality controls (QC) are intact and correct results are obtained from QC tests. Learn more.
The BA.2 Subvariant
The omicron subvariant, BA.2, is driving upticks in over half the country with more significant increases in the Northeast.
Here’s what to know:
- As of April 9th, according to the CDC, BA.2 accounts for over 85% of all new COVID-19 cases in the United States (up from 54.9% on March 26th).
- BA.2 is driving upticks in new COVID-19 cases in over half of all states, including Washington, with larger increases in the Northeast of the country.
- As of April 2nd, the Washington State Department of Health (DOH) estimates that BA.2 makes up 61.9% of all cases in the state.
- Cases have started to increase in Washington over the past week, but hospitalizations continue to decline:
- As of April 15th, according to DOH, there are 70 cases per 100,000 population in Washington state, a 60% increase since late March.
- Hospitalization rates have continued to decline, down by 1% since late March (4% of hospital beds are currently occupied by COVID-19 patients).
- You can monitor your area’s case rate and hospitalization rate on the DOH COVID-19 Data Dashboard.
COVID-19 cases among children & youth in Washington state
Cases among children and youth increased over the previous two-week reporting period, but there were no changes in the hospitalization rate. Here are the key findings from the DOH report on cases among those ages 0-19 from March 20, 2022 to April 03, 2022:
- There were a total of 1,520 cases reported for this period (80.6 cases per 100,000).
- The total number of cases (1,520) increased by almost 20% compared with the previous two-week reporting period (1,275).
- The highest case rates were in Educational Service District (ESD) 121.
- The highest case rates were among 4 to 10-year-olds (87.7 cases per 100,000).
Vax stats in the K-12 population
Vaccination rates in school-aged children have stalled over the past month with the lowest rates among children ages 5 to 11. Since late March, there has been less than a one percent increase in vaccination rates for all K-12 age groups in each category monitored by DOH (e.g., initiated vaccination, fully vaccinated, received a booster).
Here are the figures from DOH as of April 12th.
- Ages 16-17
- 67.5% initiated vaccination (less than 1% increase since late March)
- 62.0% fully vaccinated (less than 1% increase since late March)
- 43.1% received a booster (no change since late March)
- Ages 12-15:
- 59.6% initiated vaccination (no change since late March)
- 54.7% fully vaccinated (no change since late March)
- 39.2% received a booster (less than 1% increase since late March)
- Ages 5-11:
- 36.5% initiated vaccination (less than 1% increase since late March)
- 32.1% fully vaccinated (less than 1% increase since late March)
Our best defense against future surges is for each of us to get vaccinated and boosted! The higher the vaccination rate in our community, the better we protect ourselves and each other against transmission and severe disease.
It’s never been easier to host a vaccination event! Our DOH-approved vendors provide everything you need from vaccine procurement and administration, vaccine education, clinical monitoring, and onsite interpretation services.
Reach out to your L2R Program Manager today to schedule your events before the end of the school year!
Testing this summer and beyond
Monday, April 25th from 1-2pm PDT
How do we promote safe learning environments for our school community with so many unknowns ahead?
A crucial aspect of ongoing safety measures is maintaining a responsive COVID-19 testing strategy throughout the summer and next school year.
Join us on April 25th for a virtual workshop that will help you and your team document protocols, systems, lessons learned, and best practices from your existing COVID-19 testing program. Attendees will receive a guide that outlines how best to collect and organize this information so that anyone involved in their school’s COVID-19 testing program can easily reference it in the future.
In early May, L2R will offer “office hours” with Health Commons staff during which participants can receive feedback, ask questions, and work to troubleshoot any challenges they may have faced in their data collection and documentation process.
Whether you are continuing testing over the summer or reactivating programs in the fall, this workshop will give you the tools you need to maintain testing as a key component of your safety strategy.
Testing for end-of-year events
As students return from Spring Break and prepare for end-of-year events (such as prom, graduation, etc.), promoting at-home testing is a simple strategy that can help limit transmission.
Here are some ideas to consider:
- Distribute take-home rapid antigen tests to families before upcoming events.
- Remind families to test within 24 hours of the event and provide guidance on isolation requirements when testing positive.
- Encourage families to order take-home tests free-of-charge through the DOH Say Yes! COVID Test to have a supply of rapid antigen tests when needed.
- Families can now order up to ten tests per household! (That’s two kits with five tests per kit).
- Reach out to your ESD Coordinator for instructions on how to order take-home tests.
- Host an onsite testing event the day before a large activity.
Contact your L2R Program Manager to discuss options for testing before larger events.
The new White House COVID czar calls for calm as cases rise, driven by BA.2
NPR – April 12, 2022
“If you think about where we are, as a country, we are at a really good moment,” Jha said. “Infection numbers are relatively low. We have fewer people in the hospital right now than at any point in the pandemic.”
The CDC’s new Covid-19 guidelines are facing their first test
Vox – April 13, 2022
Case counts were determined by summing up the positive results of PCR tests conducted in a given time period…However, at-home tests became more widely available over the latter half of 2021; because reporting those tests’ results is not mandatory the way reporting PCR test results is, PCR results have become increasingly unrepresentative of the actual state of play.
Shanghai reports 1st deaths from current COVID-19 outbreak
NPR – April 18, 2022
All three who died were elderly, had underlying diseases such as diabetes and hypertension and had not been vaccinated against the coronavirus, city Health Commission inspector Wu Ganyu told journalists.
Rise in at-home testing means we could be undercounting Covid-19 cases even more than before
CNN – April 18, 2022
The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation estimates that only 7% of positive Covid-19 cases in the US are being detected, meaning case rates are actually 14.5 times higher than officially reported.
When Covid Enters the House, What Should We Do?
The New York Times – April 17, 2022
No matter what, once someone in the household has Covid, everyone — even the vaccinated who are still negative or asymptomatic — should wear a well-fitting, high-quality mask for 10 days in public in indoor or crowded outdoor situations.