Vol 4, Issue 1 | THE SUMMER EDITION
July 12, 2022
Happy summer! We hope you are taking some well-deserved time off to rest and relax. Just checking in to give you a few news updates and some tips for preparing for the start of the school year.
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A new dominant variant
A highly contagious omicron subvariant has become the dominant strain in the US, and case rates may be higher than they seem.
Here’s what to know:
- According to CDC estimates, the highly infectious omicron subvariant BA.5 now makes-up almost 54% of all new infections in the US.
- Together, omicron subvariants BA.4 and BA.5 make-up over 70% of all new cases.
- Both BA.4 and BA.5 have adapted to evade some of the antibodies produced after coronavirus vaccinations and infections but seem to have similar severity to the original omicron variant.
- BA.2.12.1, the dominant variant throughout most of May and June, still makes-up around 25% of new cases.
- On June 30th, the FDA called for vaccine providers to create boosters that specifically target BA.4 and BA.5 by fall 2022 in anticipation of a winter COVID-19 surge.
- A reduction in state reporting on testing, closure of many PCR testing sites, and an increase of in-home rapid antigen testing is likely keeping reported cases much lower than they actually are.
- New COVID-19 deaths remain low (less than 400 a day), despite some small spikes due to reporting delays. Deaths reached 2,600 per day during the peak of the omicron surge last winter.
- As of July 5th, there are 249 cases per 100,000 population in Washington state. New cases have increased steadily since the low point in mid-March (~40 cases per 100k), but remain far below winter peaks (~2,000 per 100k).
- Hospitalization rates in Washington have also climbed steadily since a low-point in mid-April. As of July 5th, 11% of hospital beds are occupied by COVID-19 patients (up from 2% in April).
- You can monitor your area’s case rate and hospital capacity on the DOH COVID-19 Data Dashboard.
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Back-to-school vaccination events
Schools can help drive vaccination uptake in the community, providing equal access for families and safeguarding in-person learning and extracurriculars for students and staff.
It’s never been easier to host a vaccination event. Learn to Return can connect you with a DOH-approved vendor with deep experience in school-based mobile vaccine events.
For your school-based vaccination event, our vendors provide:
- Online registration and parental consent forms in English and Spanish
- In-person translation and interpretation services for onsite vaccination events
- 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!
It only takes about two weeks to organize your event with L2R, but don’t wait too long! Get the ball rolling now before back-to-school activities start to ramp-up.
Reach out to us today to schedule an event.
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Have you seen the new DOH order form?
There are a couple of important points to keep in mind when ordering testing supplies for the upcoming school year. First, DOH will now ship supplies to one address per school district to help streamline the distribution process. Schools will need to coordinate with their district offices for pick-up.
Second, the DOH ordering form has been updated and you need to make sure that your district is represented in the new form.
ACTION ITEM: Take a few minutes today to confirm that your district is included in the updated DOH ordering form so you can make seamless orders for testing supplies in preparation for the upcoming school year.
Here’s how to do it:
- Review the updated DOH order form.
- Make sure your school district is included in the drop down list under ESD/School Selection.
- If it isn’t, complete the delivery information form to provide district and shipping information.
- Your district will be included in the order form 7 to 10 days after submitting the delivery information.
- Mark your calendar for your next order to make sure you are stocked for the first day of school.
- We recommend ordering enough supplies for at least 30 days of inventory each time you place an order.
Remember that all rapid antigen tests can be used post-expiration IF the built-in quality controls (QC) are intact and correct results are obtained from QC tests.
If you have any questions about the updated ordering process or how to calculate the right inventory, don’t hesitate to reach out to us at [email protected].
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The New York Times – July 5, 2022. BA.4 and BA.5 are able to evade some of the antibodies produced after coronavirus vaccinations and infections, including infections caused by some other versions of Omicron. But researchers in South Africa recently reported that a spring surge driven by BA.4 and BA.5 did not appear to cause significantly more severe disease than the nation’s first Omicron wave.
CNN – July 5, 2022. The findings come as a fresh wave of coronavirus variants, notably Omicron’s BA.5, have become dominant in the United States and Europe, causing cases and hospitalizations to rise once again.
NBC News – July 6, 2022. But experts stressed that there may not be a dramatic difference in protection between additional boosts of the current vaccines and omicron-specific shots. Current vaccines still work well to prevent severe illness and death.
Jama Internal Medicine – July 6, 2022. In 2020, heart disease and cancer were the leading causes of death in the US, accounting for 1.29 million deaths, followed by COVID-19, accounting for 350 000 deaths.
American Medical Association – July 7, 2022. The decision by the CDC to recommend the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines for children between 6 months and 5 years of age followed a rigorous and transparent review process, just as it did with each COVID-19 vaccine formulation authorized by the Food and Drug Administration. You can feel confident that no shortcuts were taken to develop and review these vaccines.
Pew Research Center – July 7, 2022. Fewer than half say the country has given the right amount of priority to the needs of K-12 students, public health, quality of life
NPR – May 17, 2022. 8-minute listen.
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