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COCC updates fall COVID-19 vaccination requirements: Required for some, urged for all

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A mandatory weekly check-up is also planned for this fall for some not fully vaccinated students

BEND, Oregon (KTVZ) – Central Oregon Community College announced its updated COVID-19 vaccination and testing guidelines for the 2021-22 academic year on Wednesday.

Since January, the COCC has been urging students and staff to get the COVID-19 vaccination as soon as possible. The college said it took this position due to the availability and prioritization of COVID-19 vaccinations during the first few months of the year.

As access to vaccines expanded and the data continued to confirm the vaccines’ safety and effectiveness, COCC President Dr. Laurie Chesley for updates to the college’s vaccination policy. The following updates were developed and recommended by the college’s COVID-19 Vaccination and Testing Subcommittees and published last week by Dr. Chesley accepts.

COVID-19 VACCINATION POLICY

From the autumn semester, COCC requires a COVID-19 vaccination for the following population groups:

  • All students of the Wickiup dormitory.
  • All students and members of the clinical faculty in instances where teaching and successful completion of the program is dependent on attending clinical lessons in clinics on campus or off campus and / or close contact with patients and / or clients. These programs include, but are not limited to: Dental Assistance, Early Childhood Education, Paramedic, Massage Therapy, Medical Assistance, Nursing, Nursing Assistant, Paramedic, Pharmacist, and Veterinary Technician. Other academic programs may be required to attend and the college will update this list as necessary.

Oregon state law allows individuals to apply for an exemption.

COCC will continue to strongly recommend all other COCC students and staff to fully vaccinate against COVID-19 for the academic year 2021-22. COCC is committed to providing incentives to those who are fully vaccinated and will publish more information on those incentives in the coming weeks.

In the coming weeks, COCC will continue to communicate with students and staff how to confirm their COVID-19 vaccination status and apply for an exemption under Oregon state law.

“This approach gives students plenty of time to get fully vaccinated before September 20, the first day of our fall semester,” said Alicia Moore, vice president of student affairs. “We are also committed to providing our community with access to the COVID-19 vaccines.”

At its most recent pop-up vaccination clinic on campus on June 8, COCC nursing students, in collaboration with Deschutes County Health and Oregon State University-Cascades, administered 264 doses of the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine. The college is working with Central Oregon County health officials and community organizations to offer pop-up vaccination clinics to students, staff, and their families throughout the summer.

COVID-19 TEST POLICY

Beginning in the fall semester, the college will conduct the required weekly COVID-19 screening tests for unvaccinated or incompletely vaccinated students who live in the Wickiup Residence Hall or who attend close-contact sporting events. The college will also conduct just-in-time screening tests before any official COCC vehicles / vans are used, including but not limited to field trips, field labs, outside student club meetings, and staff group travel.

According to the latest guidelines of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, fully vaccinated, asymptomatic persons who can provide proof of vaccination status (vaccination card or photo of the front and back of the ID card) are excluded from the systemic screenings and just-in exams of the Colleges excluding time test strategies.

COCC is also working with Oregon State University and the City of Bend to conduct wastewater prevalence tests at the Wickiup Residence Hall and Mazama Fitness and Fitness Center. COCC will continue to host free COVID-19 drive-thru testing clinics on its campus, including June 29th at COCC Redmond and July 1st at COCC Bend. More will be announced in summer and autumn.

“Although the COVID-19 vaccinations are our most effective protection against the coronavirus, the college will continue to take a multi-faceted approach to the health and safety of our communities,” said Dr. Chesley. “These two guidelines are designed to work together to end the pandemic in central Oregon and help COCC students feel safe returning to campus this fall.”

The college’s COVID-19 vaccination and testing guidelines are subject to change according to evolving federal and state guidelines. COCC will also review the guidelines before each academic semester and whenever the relevant guidelines are changed.

Registration for the autumn semester of the COCC is now possible. Sunday, September 12th, is the application deadline for admission and the fall semester begins on Monday, September 20th.

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Pandemic

Anchorage’s busiest COVID-19 testing site, at Loussac Library, closes with no notice as city switches contractor

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Anchorage’s busiest COVID-19 testing site at the Loussac Library was abruptly closed Wednesday and replaced in a new location operated by a different company on a nearby vacant lot belonging to the Anchorage Neighborhood Health Center.

The sudden shutdown came as city health officials announced changes in the way the community is handling COVID-19 testing.

Long-time test entrepreneur Visit Healthcare is being replaced by Capstone Family Medicine, a Wasilla-based company that operates medical clinics but also operates numerous COVID-19 test sites across the state, including at airports and in local communities.

“Capstone is now in charge of the testing as it is the more efficient and cost-effective option,” Anchorage Department of Health spokesman Robert McNeily said in an email on Wednesday afternoon.

The tests remain free, city officials said.

“The tests are not going away,” said Joe Gerace, director of the Anchorage Department of Health, during a meeting on Wednesday, pointing out that the city is adding a testing site in West Anchorage. “… there are no costs yet.”

A primary reason for the move is that Capstone can charge health insurance for testing, which Visit Healthcare doesn’t, according to Anchorage Congregation member Kameron Perez-Verdia, co-chair of the Health Policy Committee, who spoke with Gerace after the To meet.

“Visit isn’t really geared towards doing the same type of billing as Capstone, and that’s the main problem,” said Perez-Verdia. “You want to switch to an organization that can bill insurance companies.”

People without insurance will continue to be offered free tests, he said.

“They are still being tested, but now they also have the option to charge this,” said Perez-Verdia.

A spokesman for the mayor’s office confirmed that free tests are still available and that the city has switched providers to settle the insurance.

Visit Healthcare learned Tuesday that the Loussac site will be closing the next day, according to Chris Koone, the company’s operations manager. Local officials told him traffic problems and lack of funding went into the decision, Koone said.

The Loussac site, which ran 5,600 tests last month, is more than twice as busy as any other urban test site, he said.

It wasn’t immediately clear why the transition was so abrupt.

According to McNeily, Capstone now “technically” operates seven test locations in the city. The company already operates state test sites at Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport and the University of Alaska Anchorage.

Four sites currently operated by Visit Healthcare will be “phased out” for five Capstone sites, he said: an Eagle River site that was converted last week; the new Loussac replacement in 4810 C St .; a popular website for the Changepoint Church; a test site in the Muldoon area; and a new location in Alaska Park near the airport.

The sites will be in the hands of Capstone by mid-December, McNeily said.

A Capstone representative didn’t respond to questions on Wednesday.

The test change was announced on the same day that the Omicron variant of the coronavirus was first discovered in the United States. There’s no sign of Omicron arriving in Alaska, where the number of daily new cases and hospital admissions are declining after rising so much in the fall that the state released crisis standards for care in early October to ease the pressure to reduce overwhelmed hospitals.

[Impossible choices inside Alaska’s inundated hospitals]

Now two out of three hospitals in Anchorage – Providence Alaska Medical Center and Alaska Regional Hospital – are out of crisis mode.

In an interview on Wednesday, McNeily, spokesman for the city’s health department, said the community might consider reducing test levels if COVID-19 transmission rates continue to drop. The virus is now reproducing below one, meaning less than one person is infected at a time.

That trend could change, he continued, “but the rate has continued to fall in recent weeks. AHD continues to be cautiously optimistic about the future, as the local hospitals are outside the standards of crisis care. “

In general, health professionals say wide access to testing is important regardless of hospital admissions, which are delayed markers of the presence of the virus. Tests track the spread of the virus – particularly with the possibility of a new variant floating around – but also prompt early treatment, which will help slow new cases that could eventually lead to hospitalizations.

In addition to the urban locations, free trials are also available at the Walgreens Pharmacy locations in Anchorage.

Tests for people without symptoms are also possible at Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport, although this location was moved behind security as of Wednesday, only for passengers with tickets and staff with ID.

Gerace also announced on Wednesday that the municipality is moving from an urban funding model to a federal model.

Local officials say they want to contain the cost of the testing program. At Visit Healthcare, each test costs about $ 100. The tests are reimbursed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, but the city will have to pay for up to a year, Gerace said.

The city cited brief funding in October as a reason to cut free testing during the summer and fall of the COVID-19 surge. The convention later approved a $ 2.65 million motion from the Bronson administration that fully restored test levels by November.

Meg Zaletel, member of the Anchorage Congregation, vice chair of the health policy committee, said the health department’s announcement came as a surprise and she is still trying to get more information.

“I don’t know much yet. The (health) description was not very informative, ”said Zaletel on Wednesday morning. “They had a preview to find a more cost-effective model for treatment. I don’t know what they switched to, but the fact that they made a change to try to cut costs is not surprising. “

It wasn’t immediately clear why the city switched testing in Midtown from the well-known, popular Loussac Library website to an empty lot on C Street.

Corey Allen Young, mayor’s spokesman, said the decision to move the site between Capstone and the city was made for “better access.”

“There is a kind of traffic jam at Loussac. I’ve seen it every time I’ve come to congregation meetings, ”said Young. The new location next to the Anchorage Neighborhood Health Center “just offers a little more space,” he said.

Young did not comment on why the website was moved without widespread public announcement, and referred the Daily News to the health department.

The change to a new location and provider was “really disruptive,” said Perez-Verdia.

“That’s one of the problems … from your point of view, this could be more efficient. And certainly being able to bill (insurance) is good in my opinion, ”he said. “But we have to be able to communicate this really well so that people know what’s going on and why.”

At least one Anchorage resident took to Twitter Wednesday to share their issues with the test transition.

Q / 🧵: Why did #ANCgov change the Covid testing system that worked well?

I got double vaccinated and got what felt like a cold – I need a Covid test to diagnose whether or not this is a breakthrough case so I can avoid exposing others.

– Jenny-Marie Stryker (@StrykerJenny) December 1, 2021

Jenny-Marie Stryker, who is fully vaccinated against COVID-19, decided to get tested after noticing a stuffy nose and headache. Stryker checked the city testing website and found that the Loussac was closed for testing. She drove to the University of Alaska test site in Anchorage, which was also closed.

At the construction site on C Street, it took 5 or 10 minutes for anyone to get out, just to tell her that a defective generator was delaying testing. The Stryker was eventually tested, even though it took nearly an hour.

“Long enough to write this Twitter thread,” she said.

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How quickly does protection wane after the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine?

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Share on PinterestA new study examines the waning protection of the Pfizer vaccine over 180 days. picture Alliance / Getty Images

  • The researchers looked at whether COVID-19 immunity decreased after receiving a second Pfizer BioNTech mRNA vaccine dose.
  • They found that the likelihood of SARS-CoV-2 infection increases the more time passes after the second dose of vaccine.
  • While their results may justify booster vaccines for immunocompromised individuals, they warn that further research is needed as they did not use blood tests to monitor participants’ immune responses over time.

Protection against COVID-19 consists either in contracting the SARS-CoV-2 virus and recovering or getting vaccinated.

Research has shown that those who have become infected with SARS-CoV-2 are 85% protected from symptomatic illness 6 months after infection.

As the authors of the most recent study explain, “vaccinations at different points in time have been reported to be 50–95% effective”.

Over time, the immune system’s response to SARS-CoV-2 decreases, which means those who have recovered from the virus or received a vaccination may be less protected over time.

In a recent study, researchers from Israel and the United States conducted a study to investigate whether infection protection deteriorated over time after a second dose of the Pfizer BioNTech mRNA vaccine.

They found that people were at increased risk of contracting SARS-CoV-2 90 days after a second dose of Pfizer. The results appear in the BMJ.

“Israel was one of the first countries to successfully run a popular vaccination campaign, so we were among the first to see the vaccine waning over time since the first two vaccinations,” said Dr. Ariel Israel, Ph.D., one of the study’s authors, told Medical News Today.

“Our study is an observational study designed to determine whether the protection provided by the Pfizer vaccine wears off over time by comparing the positive rate [reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) for SARS-CoV-2] in people who were vaccinated at different intervals before the test. “

“We have observed that after the excellent protection that the vaccine provides for the first 3 months, the rate of infection gradually increases,” said Dr. Israel.

The researchers collected medical records from Leumit Health Services, a major healthcare provider in Israel that serves 700,000 people across the country.

For their analysis, they used health records from people aged 18 and over who had a SARS-CoV-2 RT-PCR test between May 15, 2021 and September 17, 2021 after receiving two doses of the Pfizer vaccine had.

The team ran tests at least 3 weeks after the second vaccination. They divided participants into three age groups to reflect the different stages of vaccine introduction:

  • 60 years and older
  • 40–59 years
  • 18–39 years

They also divided the time between the second vaccination and the RT-PCR tests after the first 90 days into 30-day intervals, with the latter category being labeled 180 days or more since the second vaccination. In total, the researchers analyzed health records from 83,057 people.

Their analyzes took into account potentially confusing risk factors for SARS-CoV-2 infection such as age, gender, socio-economic status, and existing health conditions.

Of the researchers examined, 9.6% or 7,973 people had a positive test result. The mean time between the second dose of vaccine and an RT-PCR test was 164 days.

The team found that the likelihood of contracting SARS-CoV-2 increases the more time has passed since the second vaccine.

While 1.3% of the participants received a positive test result 21–89 days after the second vaccination, this was in 2.4% of the persons after 90–119 days and 4.6% after 120. the case149 days, 10.3% after 150179 days and 15.5% after 180 days.

These results resulted in a 2.37-fold higher chance of contracting the virus 90 days after the second vaccination and a 2.82-fold higher chance of 150 days or more.

They also found that two injections 21 days apart provided more protection than one and that age-related changes in the immune system affected the immune response to the vaccines.

Dr. Israel stated that the reasons for the deteriorating immune protection “are outside the scope of their study”. However, he suggested a few possible mechanisms:

“The most likely explanation is that antibodies, as well as cells of the immune system that produce antibodies or kill cells” [with the infection], have a finite lifespan, so their numbers gradually decrease after the first reaction caused by the vaccine.

“[Fewer] Antibodies in the blood and [fewer] Cells that can kill the virus mean that the virus is more likely to escape the immune system in the early stages of infection, so we are likely seeing an increased rate of positive PCR in people who have been vaccinated earlier, ”he added.

The researchers concluded that SARS-CoV-2 immunity wears off after a second Pfizer vaccine after the first 90 days and that a third vaccine or booster dose for immunocompromised individuals might be warranted.

They also note some limitations to their study. Because of the observational study design, they state that they may not have considered all of the contributing factors, which could have skewed their results.

For example, they find that they only included people who had chosen to request an RT-PCR test for SARS-CoV-2, and that some may have different thresholds for requesting a test.

They also found that people who were vaccinated earlier may have had different physical distancing habits than those who were vaccinated later, which could have significantly affected their level of risk.

In addition, the researchers note that blood tests were not done on RT-PCR tests, which means they cannot be sure whether the immunity had actually decreased.

“Given these results, Israel’s public health authorities have recommended booster vaccinations for all ages, and we saw a dramatic decrease in COVID-19 incidence immediately after the booster was introduced,” said Dr. Israel.

“It is too early to be able to say for sure how long the protection would last after the booster shot. We will continue to monitor the infection rate and will report our data if we see any reduction in protection from the booster, ”he concluded.

For live updates on the latest developments regarding the novel coronavirus and COVID-19, click here.

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Indiana’s secret weapon in the fight against COVID-19

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INDIANAPOLIS (WANE) – The Regenstrief Institute may be better known around the world than it is in its home state of Indiana, despite playing a key role in fighting COVID-19.

In fact, Regenstrief’s work helped the whole world.

The organization, based near the Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis, is affiliated with the IU Medical School. Their decade-old “LOINC” system (Logical Observation Identifiers, Names and Codes) enables researchers, hospitals, governments, insurance companies and smartphone users to exchange health data across systems. It brings together isolated health data in the same language.

In January 2020, Regenstrief worked with global partners to define codes that would enable the exchange of COVID-19 data worldwide.

“Without developing these codes,” said Dr. Peter Embí, President and CEO of Regenstrief, “we couldn’t have known so quickly what the results of the laboratory tests were, what they showed and how they flowed.”

At home, Regenstrief researchers teaching at Indiana University’s Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health followed the Indiana Department of Health’s call to conduct a nationwide COVID prevalence study in the early days of the pandemic.

“This nationwide prevalence study was instrumental in the decisions both the governor and local health authorities made,” said Brian Dixon, Ph.D. Dixon is both Associate Professor at the Fairbanks School of Public Health and Director of Public Health Informatics at Regenstrief.

“We didn’t understand how many people were infected at the time or how widespread the infection was across the state,” added Dixon. “That’s what this early study really gave us. It enabled us to study the spread of this disease in the population. “

Before the pandemic, Dixon was compiling numbers on obesity, diabetes, and chronic diseases. He was baffled when the COVID-19 numbers turned political.

“What surprised me the most was the people’s reaction, the rejection of the numbers and then the distrust in them,” he said. “Because we’ve worked so hard here to collect accurate data from as many places as possible, bring it all together, and create the state’s dashboard. Then a lot of people say, ‘Oh, they’re just making up numbers’ or ‘That’s not the truth’.

“Well, that’s as close to the truth as possible.”

When asked whether Regenstrief is Indiana’s secret weapon against COVID-19, Embí distracts.

“I wouldn’t say we were the only one. We contributed, but to be honest, it wouldn’t have been possible without a team effort. I think we were an important part of it. And I don’t mean to sound immodest, but I think we played a really, very important role and that has undoubtedly helped us stand out from the crowd. We are really proud to be welcomed by the Governor and Dr. Box to have been recognized for our contributions. But the truth is, in Indiana we have such an incredibly collaborative place where Hoosiers come together to help one another. This really is the secret sauce. That is really the secret weapon. “

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