Coronavirus prevention measures for the upcoming fall semester of 2022 could include a mandate for an indoor mask if the current rate of infection is maintained in Los Angeles County, said Chief Health Officer Dr. Sarah Van Orman at a student briefing. media on Monday. Los Angeles County has confirmed more than 12,000 new cases of coronavirus over a three-day period between June 17 and June 20, signaling an increase in transmission in the region.
Between June 12 and June 18, 105 students tested positive, slightly reducing the degree of positivity to 11.4% from the previous week – between June 5 and June 11 – when the positivity rate was 11.49%. The staff positive rate decreased over the same period, falling from 5.35% to 4.7%, with 22 positive test results compared to the previous week’s 27.
Van Orman said he expects to see an increase in coronavirus cases after students return to campus – with USC Housing accommodation dates starting August 17 and fall 2022 classes starting August 22 – because the USC population consists of people coming from different areas.
“When people move, we see an increase [in cases]”Said Van Orman. “At the beginning of each autumn semester, during each spring semester, after the autumn holidays and after the spring holidays, we see a little prominence.”
Currently, the university has no plans to require surveillance tests for returning students and faculty, Van Orman said.
USC Student Health will continue to offer off-campus accommodation for coronavirus students living in USC Housing. The test sites will continue to operate on campus for the next term, Van Orman said. The university will decide on community safety measures to be implemented in the fall of 2022, in late July or early August, she said, and will make assessments based on Los Angeles County and the nation’s directive.
“COVID-19 is a very mobile situation,” said Van Orman. “We know there is some concern that Los Angeles as a community may return to indoor camouflage in late June or early July, and of course we will follow whatever the rest of the county does.
Restoring the Trojan daily inspection requirement will only happen in the event of a severe public health crisis, Van Orman said, and is not currently being seriously considered for the fall semester.
“We want to be prepared if the conditions require us to be stricter, but we think that is unlikely,” Van Orman said. “If [the Trojan Check requirement was to be reinstated]this would probably be for a short period of time, just to ensure that people have complied with their tests as they return. “
Through the Trojan Pandemic Research Initiative, more than 10,000 students, faculty and staff voluntarily shared their feedback on campus safety measures. Participants noted that the necessary completion of the Trojan Check, masking, and testing helped curb the spread of coronavirus on campus. Other data show that participants believe the requirements are “problematic”, Van Orman said.
One of the lessons the university has learned from tackling the coronavirus pandemic, Van Orman said, is deciding on the right implementation measures and when to implement them. People tend to stop complying with health mandates if they think the requirements are too excessive, Van Orman said. Mixed reviews of health measures, she said, must be balanced with making the right decision from a public health perspective.
“For example, when we stopped Trojan Check, he [was] “It’s a very mixed thing,” Van Orman said. “A lot of people say ‘Yes, finally,’ but we also hear from a lot of people who feel insecure and who really want all this to go on.”