Dec. 10 - Masking continues, COVID-19 town hall
Whoooo goes there? An owl keeps watch over University Hills. Photo by Ian Parker
n this continuing series, UCI experts answer questions about COVID-19, vaccinations, variants or the future of work. Submit questions via email.
Today’s question is fielded by David Souleles, director of UCI’s COVID-19 Response Team:
Since we are all vaccinated, when can we take off our masks in class?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the California Department of Public Health have recommended, and the University of California has required, universal indoor masking regardless of vaccination status in communities with substantial to high levels of community transmission per CDC standards. As of Thursday (Dec. 9), Orange County is at a substantial level of community transmission per the CDC. UCI must also comply with Cal OSHA COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standards related to the use of face coverings in the workplace. With the emergence of the omicron variant, public health officials are reemphasizing the importance of indoor masking as a key COVID-19 prevention tool. When the community transmission level decreases, the campus will evaluate updating campus directives on face coverings, taking into consideration campus and community case rates and testing positivity rates, UC systemwide guidance and Cal OSHA COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standards.
UCI ANNOUNCEMENTS AND NEWS
Zoom gathering addresses COVID-19 and public health updates
Faculty and staff are invited to join a town hall on the latest updates on COVID-19 variants and managing the upcoming holidays on Thursday from 11 a.m. to noon. Steve A. N. Goldstein, vice chancellor of health affairs, moderates a panel that includes: Bernadette Boden-Albala, director and founding dean, Program in Public Health; Susan Huang, medical director of epidemiology and infection prevention, UCI Health; David Souleles, director, COVID-19 Response Team; Ramona Agrela, vice chancellor and chief human resources officer; and Michael Dennin, dean, Division of Undergraduate Education and vice provost for teaching and learning. Register to receive the Zoom link.
UCI and CHOC to inform the community on vaccine boosters
Expert perspectives from clinical pharmacists on the COVID-19 vaccine booster shots will be featured at a virtual community information session co-hosted by the UCI School of Pharmacy & Pharmaceutical Sciences and the Children’s Hospital of Orange County Pharmacy Department. Moderators are Alexandre Chan, professor of clinical pharmacy and founding chair of the Department of Clinical Pharmacy Practice, and Grace Magedman, CHOC’s executive director of pharmacy. Panelists are: Lee Nguyen, associate clinical professor of health sciences; Shawn Griffin and Keri Hurley-Kim, assistant clinical professors of health sciences; and M. Tuan Tran, CHOC infectious diseases pharmacist. You must register for the Zoom presentation that will be held on Friday, Dec. 17, noon.
Criminologists examine how Irvine defies expectations by keeping crime levels low
For 16 straight years, Irvine has been named the safest city of its size in the U.S. With the city’s 50th anniversary coming up on Dec. 28, the co-directors of UCI’s Irvine Laboratory for the Study of Space and Crime, John Hipp and Charis Kubrin, decided to learn why that is – despite the municipality’s evolving demographics. The result: a comprehensive, 57-page report titled “Irvine at 50: A Tale of Continuity and Change.”
Cheryl Wisseh, health sciences assistant clinical professor of clinical pharmacy practice. School of Pharmacy & Pharmaceutical Sciences / UCI
UCI-led study offers framework for including racism’s health effects in pharmacy curricula
Cheryl Wisseh, assistant clinical professor of clinical pharmacy practice, is co-lead author of a recent study offering a framework for educators of future pharmacists who will practice in increasingly diverse communities. “Students must be able to define, name and address racism in all its forms; understand how it influences the distribution of social determinants of health; and how it ultimately leads to racial disparities in health and healthcare,” says Wisseh, whose study is published online in the American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education.
UC NEWS AND GENERAL NEWS
Friday fun fact
Advancing academic preparation: UC manages more than 5,700 programs to improve the academic skills of K-12 and community college students across California.
UC travelers can apply for United Airlines MileagePlus status extension
When United Airlines extended the status of select MileagePlus members through the end of January 2023, preferred partner UC Travel approached the airline on behalf of UC travelers who did not receive extensions. United has agreed to reconsider extensions for those who submit additional details by the end of business on Dec. 22 using this form. Please note:
- The form should be filled out with all necessary information, including a brief explanation as to why you want an extension.
- This is reconsideration of extending an existing status and not an upgrade of any kind.
- Only those with Premier Silver, Gold, Platinum and 1K status will be considered for extensions.
- It is the discretion of United Airlines to extend the status of Mileage Plus members.
- United will process extensions by the end of January 2022, and extensions will be valid through January 2023.
Pandemic may end next year, but COVID-19 will remain among us
Experts say by the end of next year, the pandemic could be over, but that doesn’t mean the coronavirus will disappear. Bill Gates laid out one seemingly likely scenario in a blog post: “At some point next year, COVID-19 will become an endemic disease in most places.”
Poop sleuths hunt for early signs of omicron in sewage
Scientists have detected traces of omicron in wastewater in Houston, Boulder, Colo., and two Northern California cities. It's a signal that indicates the coronavirus variant is present in those cities, and it highlights the useful data produced by wastewater surveillance research as omicron looms.
Landed home down payment info session
Tuesday, 3 p.m. (sponsored by HR Wellness)
Visit today.uci.edu to see and submit event listings. Events of general interest will be shared in UCI Digest two days before they occur.
UCI IN THE NEWS
Positive COVID-19 Self-Test? An Epidemiologist Shares 3 Things To Do ASAP
Well + Good, Dec. 9
Cited: Karen Edwards, professor and chair of the department of epidemiology and biostatistics
The future of COVID-19 is likely to mirror the flu, expert says
KCBS Radio (audio), Dec. 9
Cited: Andrew Noymer, associate professor of population health & disease prevention
To See Proteins Change in Quadrillionths of a Second, Use AI
Wired, Dec. 10
Cited: Shaul Mukamel, Distinguished Professor of chemistry
Anteaters! Don’t forget the little things. Everything will be okay!
Alltruism (“all true”) is a project supported by the Barnes & Noble Scholarship that aims to create connections through community, compassion and the creative arts. The initiative was part of The Alltruism Project, and more letters can be found on Instagram.
#UCIconnected spotlights student, alumni, faculty and staff photos, essays, shoutouts, hobbies, artwork, unusual office decorations, activities and more. Send submissions via email or post on social media with the #UCIconnected hashtag.
COVID-19 NOTIFICATION AND RESOURCES
Ten new campus cases
One employee and nine students tested positive for COVID-19 on Thursday. For more information, visit the UCI COVID-19 dashboard.
Remember to upload your vaccine record
Potential workplace exposure
UCI provides this notification of a potential workplace COVID-19 exposure. Employees and subcontractors who were in these locations on the dates listed may have been exposed to the coronavirus. You may be entitled to various benefits under applicable federal and state laws and University-specific policies and agreements. The full notification is available on the UCI Forward site. If you have been identified as a close contact to a COVID-19 case, the UCI Contact Tracing Program will contact you and provide additional direction.
For COVID-19 questions
UCI Forward - information on campus status and operational updates
UCI Health COVID-19 Updates - important information related to UCI Health
UCI Coronavirus Response Center - available at firstname.lastname@example.org or via phone at (949) 824-9918
Contact Tracing and Vaccine Navigation Services - assistance with vaccines and vaccine uploads; available at email@example.com or via phone at (949) 824-2300
Program in Public Health chatline - answers to questions about COVID-19
For questions specific to your personal health situation, please contact your doctor or healthcare provider.