Vol 4, Issue 3



August 29, 2022

Happy Monday! We think you’ll like the changes we’ve made to the L2R WEBSITE.  Check out the new look, navigation, and resources. Also included in this edition:

New year. New website.

COVID-19 rapid antigen tests laid out in pattern on light blue background.

We’ve heard your feedback and made some exciting changes to learntoreturn.org!

New navigation. You are super busy (and about to get busier). Find what you need in just a couple of clicks with our streamlined navigation. Guidance, resources, the testing menu, and the latest news on school-based testing are at your fingertips.

New resources. The L2R toolbox is loaded with new and updated resources to help you and your team onboard any of the tests on our menu. From Learning Network videos, PCR starter packs, and rapid antigen toolkits, we have a range of useful materials. 

New menu. Our vendors have been vetted by DOH and offer tests for individual or pooled PCR, rapid antigen point-of-care, and rapid antigen at-home testing. Make sure you place your orders ASAP to have inventory ready for the start of school!

New look. Vibrant colors and smiling faces. With school-based testing and other safety measures in place, we look forward to a happy and healthy school year.

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    A new booster in time for fall?

    A booster that will specifically protect against omicron subvariants BA.5 and BA.4 could be arriving soon for people ages 12 and older in time to help combat outbreaks this fall and winter. The omicron subvariant BA.5 remains the dominant strain in the US, but new deaths and hospitalizations are slowly declining.

    Here’s what to know:

    • Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna have asked the FDA to approve updated COVID-19 vaccines that target omicron subvariants BA.4 and BA.5. BA.4 and BA.5 are highly transmissible versions of the original omicron variant, and BA.5 makes up almost 90% of all new infections in the US, according to CDC estimates.
    • The original COVID-19 vaccines provide less protection against infection from these subvariants. Omicron-specific boosters are being developed to combat future outbreaks that are likely to occur this fall and winter. (It should be noted that the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines that are currently available do provide protection against severe disease and death but are less effective against infection from BA.4 and BA.5).
    • Reports suggest that FDA authorization could come as soon as Labor Day for these new boosters. 
    • These boosters will only be available to those who have completed a primary series of COVID-19 vaccination. Anyone who wants to be eligible for these boosters when they are available should start their primary series of vaccinations now if they have not yet completed a primary series.
    • The Washington State Department of Health (DOH) recommends that everyone who is eligible for a COVID-19 booster get one as soon as possible and not wait for new boosters to come available. Delaying your booster shots leaves you vulnerable to COVID-19. Learn more about COVID-19 boosters.

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    Don’t miss your chance to get trained by Atlas, CIC Health and Curative!

      Our testing vendors are holding three training sessions this week for incoming and returning testing staff. Get your team members together for virtual training on PCR testing directly from these vendors. 

      During these sessions, you will learn how to: 

      • Order supplies 
      • Collect samples
      • Ship samples to labs 
      • Use the online portals 
      • Collect or bypass insurance 
      • Collect consent

      Chose your sessions:

        Training with Atlas Genomics

        Monday, August 29th (TODAY!)

        from 1-2pm PT

          Training with CIC Health

          Tuesday, August 30th

          from 1-2pm PT

            Training with Curative

            Wednesday, August 31st 

            from 1-2pm PT

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            Vaccine and Case Rates for Washington State

              There has been little to no change across these age groups (or less than a 1% change) since earlier this year. The only exception is new boosters for ages 5-11 which became available for this age group since our last report. 

              Here are the figures from DOH as of August 22nd:

                Ages 16-17:

                • 68.2% initiated vaccination
                • 62.6% fully vaccinated 
                • 43.5% received a booster 

                  Ages 12-15:

                  • 58.9% initiated vaccination 
                  • 54.0% fully vaccinated
                  • 38.9% received a booster 

                    Ages 5-11:

                    • 37.2% initiated vaccination
                    • 32.9% fully vaccinated
                    • 27.5% received a booster

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                    COVID-19 NEWS

                    World reaches ‘tragic milestone’ of one million COVID-19 deaths so far in 2022

                    UN News Agency – 25 August 2022. “We cannot say we are learning to live with COVID-19 when one million people have died with COVID-19 this year alone, when we are two-and-a-half years into the pandemic and have all the tools necessary to prevent these deaths,” World Health Organization (WHO) chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, speaking during his regular briefing from Geneva.

                    A Simple Rule for Planning Your Fall Booster Shot

                    The Atlantic – 27 August 2022. Everyone will probably gain something from the updated vaccines. Here’s how to make the most of it.

                    COVID-19 complacency: ‘A hard shift for the immunocompromised’

                    Fred Hutch News Service – 25 August 2022. Even with vaccines and antivirals, cancer patients and many others are still vulnerable to infection; some safety tips for this evolving pandemic

                    COVID Has Set Back Childhood Immunizations Worldwide

                    Scientific American – 25 August 2022. This decline in all countries, particularly poorer nations, is pretty grim news, especially considering that in the decades preceding the pandemic, there was huge progress in reducing the number of children at risk from infectious disease.

                    Overlapping emergencies strain the nation’s public health workforce and threaten critical vaccination campaigns

                    CNN – 22 August 2022. After almost three years of contending with vaccine hesitancy, politics and a global pandemic, the nation’s public health workers are frayed and leaving their posts. More than 1 in 4 health department leaders quit their jobs during the pandemic, some after harassment and death threats.

                    Seattle kids fall behind on vaccines required for school

                    Axios Seattle – 18 August 2022. In 2021, 13% fewer vaccines were administered to King County children between 4 and 6 years old, compared to the pre-pandemic average from 2015 to 2019, according to the county health department.

                    Public Health Agencies Adapt Covid Lessons to Curb Overdoses, STDs, and Gun Violence

                    KHN – 17 August 2022. For example, in Atlanta, the county health department planned to mail out at-home kits to test for diseases, a program modeled on the distribution of covid rapid tests. In Houston, health officials announced this month they’ll begin monitoring the city’s wastewater for monkeypox, a tactic broadly used to gauge how far and fast covid spread. And in Chicago, government agencies have tweaked covid collaborations to tag-team a rise in gun violence.

                    Gavi is ‘very concerned’ with routine vaccination rates

                    Devex – 29 July 2022. Basic vaccine coverage dropped by one percentage point to 77% in the 57 countries which followed a four percentage point fall during the first year of the pandemic. And the number of zero dose children — those who have not received a single dose of any vaccine in their lives — rose by 570,000 to reach 12.5 million. This is the second year in a row this number has risen.

                    A Specialist In Viral Infections Explains Why We Need Updated Covid-19 Vaccines

                    Forbes – 24 August 2022. As more infections occur, RNA viruses (like Covid-19 and influenza) have increased opportunities to replicate – or make copies – of their genome.

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