12/31: Extended Safer at Home Order and Travel Quarantine, Los Angeles County

To: USC Faculty, Staff, Students, Parents

From: Sarah Van Orman, Chief Health Officer, USC Student Health, Division Chief for College Health, Keck School of Medicine of USC

Date: December 31, 2020

Subject: Extended Safer at Home Order and Travel Quarantine, Los Angeles County 

This week, Los Angeles County extended the existing “Safer at Home” order by the State Public Health Officer and issued a new quarantine requirement for anyone traveling outside of LA County. Anyone who has traveled outside of the Southern California Region (defined as the counties of Imperial, Inyo, Los Angeles, Mono, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara or Ventura) must quarantine for 10 days upon arrival. You may not come to work or attend in person class at USC during this period. 

Certain exemptions apply. You are exempt from this requirement if you are considered an essential worker and your travel is for work or school. Licensed healthcare providers and all persons commuting or traveling to work in a healthcare facility are also exempt. 

Los Angeles County, part of the Southern California Region, has averaged 13,819 newly diagnosed COVID-19 cases per day in the past week. Between November 13, 2020 – December 27, 2020, hospitalizations of confirmed COVID-19 patients have increased by 474% to 6,815 and there is no additional (0%) adult ICU bed capacity within the region. Rapidly increasing new cases and test positivity rates within the county, coupled with the lag between case identification and hospitalizations, indicate that these numbers, including adult ICU admissions in the region, are expected to increase. At USC, despite limited operations, we continue to see increases in test positivity among asymptomatic faculty, staff and students through routine testing. We identified 59 new cases last week alone. 

We ask each member of our community to take this moment to express the deepest care for one another by doing the following:

· Avoid non-essential travel. If you have traveled outside of Los Angeles County and the Southern California region you are directed to follow the County’s required 10-day quarantine period and may not come to work or attend class except as indicated above. 

· Do not attend gatherings with others outside of your household. Consider testing for COVID-19 if you have engaged in high risk activities. 

·  Ensure that all essential activities are moved to remote, virtual or outdoors (when in-person is necessary) in order to conduct these activities more safely when possible. 

·  Students living in off-campus residences near USC who have left the LA area for the holidays should strongly consider delaying their return for several weeks. 

·  For all employees, do not come to work if you are experiencing any symptoms of COVID-19 or have been exposed to someone with COVID-19. Even minor symptoms can be a sign of infection and a negative test does not exclude infection. 

Non-Keck Medicine Employees: Stay home for a full 10 days after any illness or exposure and contact USC Student Health at 213-740-9355 (WELL) to arrange for symptomatic area testing and clearance to return to work. The Pop Testing program is available to faculty, staff (non-Keck Medicine of USC), and students.

Keck Medicine: Faculty and staff working within any Keck Medicine of USC facility are under the protocols for health care infection control, assigned PPE, immunization requirements, and other controls that help maintain safe conditions for both employees and patients. Contact Keck Medicine of USC employees should contact Keck Employee Health at 323-442-5219 to arrange for testing and clearance to return to work. 

As a reminder, University compliance and accountability guidelines are clear that compliance with public health measures is mandatory. Unfortunately, instances of individuals who have not adhered to these safety measures have contributed to additional exposures on campus. To prevent widespread infections, all students, faculty and staff must play a role and take these measures seriously. 

Each of us can make a difference in turning the tide as we face a precarious time in our community. If you have questions regarding COVID-19 processes or to report a positive case, please contact the COVID-19 hotline, 213-740-6291, covid19@usc.edu. Thank you in advance for making decisions that help protect our community. Saving the lives of others is in all of our hands right now.

Stay safe and stay well.