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.
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.
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).
9/28—As we enter the influenza season, the University has renewed the decision to require influenza vaccines for all USC students, faculty, and staff for the 2021-2022 influenza season. The deadline for completion is November 1, 2021. As a reminder, please continue to use recommended hygiene practices: wash your hands, follow masking guidelines, and if you are sick, please stay home.
Recently, the FDA and CDC have also made key announcements on COVID-19 booster shots for the Pfizer (Comirnaty) COVID-19 vaccine. Information for USC students in our campus communities about both these vaccines is outlined in this message..
As of this week, USC Student Health is re-introducing nasal swab as a method for collecting samples for COVID-19 testing. Nasal swab appointments are available through MySHR (Monday-Friday until 3:30 PM) at Jefferson Lot and Pardee Marks locations. Please refer to the Pop Testing Hours and Locations page for updated information.
Thank you to our community — 27,000 tests were administered this past week, and there was less than 0.5% positivity among students — much lower than in the general population (3.52% is the current positivity rate for Los Angeles County). Your participation in our vaccine program, reaching above 91% for fully vaccinated among students, faculty, and staff, has also made the opening of the fall semester safer for everyone.
Students are advised of an extension period for your COVID-19 surveillance test; and for completing the “Hygiene Health and Safety” learning module in Trojan Learn (https://trojanlearn.usc.edu).
If you are vaccinated and your Trojan Check is showing as “noncompliant” for either of these two reasons; you have until Friday, August 27 at 12 midnight to complete these requirements.
As you are preparing for the first week of the fall semester classes starting on August 23, please read the following reminders. FOR ALL STUDENTS: Your Trojan Check will require that you have completed a COVID-19 test within the past 7 days in order to enter campus.
Information about pre-arrival testing; post-arrival testing, Immuchella, and more for students coming to the USC campuses.
The university has launched a new version of our mandatory “Hygiene Health and Safety” training for students (HHS student edition, which includes information relevant to student employees) and for faculty and staff (HHS employee edition). Please take 10-15 minutes to complete this online module in Trojan Learn. Again, this is required for all students, faculty, and university staff. Beginning August 15, your Trojan Check compliance will require completion of this new course (even if you have previously taken an earlier version) in order to provide valid entry to campuses. Please complete this course before that date. Trojan Check is required every day you come to campus.
In alignment with the LA County Department of Public Health Public Health Officer Order announced today, USC is now requiring masking indoors for all individuals in campus facilities, including vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals, to protect yourself and others from transmission.