We hope you are enjoying a restorative Winter Break. As we prepare for the new year and the 2022 Spring semester, we are sharing some specific details regarding health and safety campus protocols around COVID-19. The University is requiring booster doses for all students, faculty, and staff. The recent emergence of the Omicron variant further emphasizes the importance of vaccination, boosters, and prevention efforts needed to protect against COVID-19. See previous important messages regarding test positivity in the surge operations message of Dec 23, 2021 and the Spring semester update of Dec. 24, 2021. Pre-travel: Students are required to test for COVID-19 prior to leaving their Winter Break location, it is recommended that you test 48 hours prior to leaving. Upload your results into MySHR. If you test positive, you should remain in your current location and isolate for ten (10) days; complete the contact tracing form in MySHR.
COVID-19 Surge Operations Update
Los Angeles County is experiencing a growing surge of COVID-19 cases, which we are also seeing in the USC population. Current USC test positivity rates are at 10%.
To adjust to the expected volume of positive cases over the next weeks during this surge, contact tracing is now largely automated through a MySHR secure message form.
Clarification for Spring semester planning
12/20—We are providing a clarification to Friday’s (12/17) health advisory on the Omicron variant. (https://we-are.usc.edu). We are closely monitoring changing conditions and preparing to adapt as needed. We have no plans to go online at this moment or having a remote Spring semester. We are planning to continue in-person instruction for Spring 2022. As part of these plans, like many…
Health Advisory — Omicron Variant
As we wrap up our Fall semester, we are sharing an update about the university’s plans for the Spring, in light of the increased spread of the Omicron variant of the COVID-19 virus. We are closely monitoring rising cases on campus and in the community, as well as at institutions of higher education nationally. This…
Winter Break Testing Schedule; Other Announcements
Winter Break schedule begins this weekend, with a closure of Saturday testing beginning DEC 18. Pardee Marks & Bookstore locations are closed this week, please see the attached schedule. Due to unexpected equipment maintenance, lab resulting times for SALIVA sample testing for COVID-19 is currently delayed; results are expected to return within 48-72 hours for this week. New appointments online for saliva drop-off are closed over the next three days; patients are directed to make appointments for NASAL SWAB.
Dec 6, 2021—A recent Los Angeles County Department of Public Health announcement identified the Omicron variant in a college student returning from recent domestic air travel. USC can confirm the individual is a USC student who is currently isolating and doing well. The case was detected as part of USC’s routine surveillance testing program; all…
Health and Campus Access Advisory
As you may have read, the omicron variant of COVID-19 is bringing uncertainty to the course of the pandemic. The CA Department of Public Health has produced an Omicron variant fact sheet about what we know at present, and how we can respond.
One way we can ensure high levels of immunity in our population is to receive a COVID-19 booster; or receive the vaccine if you have not yet done so.
If you have received a J&J vaccine more than 2 months ago, or Pfizer/Moderna vaccine more than 6 months ago, we strongly recommended receiving a COVID-19 booster to ensure continuity of your immune response. Both USC Pharmacies (please complete the pre-screening form) and the CA MyTurn website are available for finding an appointment.
Upload any updated vaccine information, including new booster records into MySHR (a photo of the paper card, or a digital card downloadable from the CA vaccine record system, https://myvaccinerecord.cdph.ca.gov.) This information will help us keep accurate records of immunity levels in our community.
CA Dept of Public Health releases Fact Sheet on the Omicron Variant
Nov. 28, 2021—Information from CA DPH—
We are still learning about the new variant, including how it spreads and infects individuals as well as how it responds to vaccines. Here is what we know:
There are currently no cases in the United States; however, based on other variants, it is only a matter of time before Omicron is detected in the United States. New variants will continue to evolve as long as there are large proportions of unvaccinated people. Additional information is available on the CADPH website.
Health Advisory: Pre-Holiday Gatherings
Getting a booster shot for COVID-19 is strongly recommended. With the combination of colder weather keeping people indoors, the waning of vaccine and natural immunity, and more mingling among non-household members, California public health officials are urging residents to get vaccinated and boosted as soon as possible to help prevent a possible winter surge in COVID-19 cases. Test before travel, and after you return. If you have symptoms, do not travel. See the CDC Safer Travel Guide for additional travel tips.
Health Advisory — Prevention of Respiratory Illness
Current CDC data on COVID-19 has demonstrated that individuals who are unvaccinated have a six-times greater risk of illness than vaccinated counterparts; and have a 11-times greater risk of death. Within the USC community, unvaccinated individuals have a 2-4 times greater risk of infection. Unfortunately, since late October, positivity rates have increased each week in both LA County and in the campus populations.
Last week, (week 10 since move-in) there were 69 positive cases, (0.21% positivity rate among students, 0.62% among faculty and staff).