Sept. 29, 2022
TO: USC Students, Faculty, and University Staff
FR: Sarah Van Orman, MD, MMM, FACHA, Chief Health Officer, USC Student Health, Division Chief for College Health, Keck School of Medicine of USC
As we enter respiratory illness season, we strongly encourage all students, faculty, and staff to receive their flu vaccination, ideally before November 1, 2022. We also strongly encourage everyone to receive a bivalent COVID-19 booster, especially if you are at higher risk for severe disease because of age or underlying health conditions.
To accommodate students, faculty and staff who would like to receive the flu immunization and the COVID-19 bivalent booster at the same time, USC Student Health and the USC Pharmacies will be hosting a Fall Vax Event prevention clinic offering both vaccines at UPC. Students, faculty, and staff at HSC are encouraged to make appointments for vaccination through the USC Pharmacies or obtain vaccinations at the retailer most convenient to you at home.
Fall Vax Event: Flu, COVID-19 boosters
Engemann Student Health Center, 1st floor
October 10-21, 2022 (M-F, 9:30 AM – 4 PM)
Students are strongly encouraged to receive their flu vaccinations and boosters before travel, fall break (on Oct. 13-14) and key end-of-semester academic assignments.
Testing for COVID-19 is available through antigen kits (distributed at CSC desks in USC Housing, and at the Jefferson Lot/Pappas Quad testing sites). Antigen testing remains a convenient resource to confirm a COVID-19 infection if you are experiencing symptoms.
Jefferson Lot and Pappas Quad remain a resource for PCR testing for the campus communities, and all are encouraged to use this service as “Pre and Post” exposure testing.
- Test Pre and Post: travel, attending large gatherings, or other higher-risk potential exposures.
Due to decreased demand, the Jefferson Lot site has closed Saturday testing hours. Students—please use the antigen kits if you are symptomatic during testing site closures and follow these instructions.
REVISED GUIDANCE ON MASKING
As the COVID-19 case rate in Los Angeles County has dropped in community-level transmission, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health has revised guidelines on mask requirements and recommendations.
- Masks continue to be required in health care settings (including the Engemann and Eric Cohen student health centers, COVID-19 testing sites, the USC Herman Ostrow School of Dentistry, USC Pharmacies, and other patient care settings on campus). They are also required for individuals who have COVID-19 (through day 10) or have had close contact with someone who has COVID-19 (for 10 days following exposure).
- Masks are strongly recommended on all forms of public transit, including trains, buses, shuttle buses, and ride-shares. This change from required masking on USC shuttles goes into effect on Oct. 1, 2022.
- Masks are an individual preference in all other indoor public settings.
STAYING WELL: Best Practices
· Making a habit of handwashing (for 20 seconds) is one of the best ways to keep viruses at bay. If soap and water are not available, use hand sanitizer.
· If you are feeling sick, stay home from work/class/group meetings and other activities.
· Practicing good respiratory hygiene (“covering your cough/sneeze”) also reduces the spread of illness.
We thank you for all your attention to the prevention of respiratory illness during the high tide of the COVID-19 pandemic. It has made a difference and kept flu illness at historically low levels last year.
Be a flu season hero—we hope we can continue to count on you to keep flu and other illnesses low in our communities this fall and winter season.