Friday Nurse Notes - 12.02.22

December 2, 2022

Good morning Pitzer Community,

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving. In the wintertime, there tends to be an increase in respiratory illnesses such as RSV, influenza, and covid-19. As a reminder, influenza and covid-19 cannot be distinguished between by symptoms alone, and testing is required. As the weather gets cooler, and folks gather for the holidays, people tend to spend more time indoors and in close quarters. Wearing a mask indoors may be necessary in certain situations.

Wintertime Tips:

  • Test yourself for covid-19 before and after attending events! PCRs can detect the virus earlier than antigen tests.
  • Stay up to date with your vaccines! The bivalent booster shot helps prevent severe illness and protects against the Omicron variant. The flu shot helps to prevent severe illness against influenza and can helps to reduce the spread.
  • Practice safety measures: Keep your hands clean by regularly washing them with soap and water or alcohol-based hand rub.
  • Stay away from others if you feel sick. This will help to make sure you don’t pass viruses onto others, and it will help to reduce pressure on health services. This simple step saves lives. 

The Pitzer COVID Dashboard reports weekly cases on campus pending results from the lab.

Thank you for your continued efforts! As always, if you have any question, comments, or concerns, please feel free to reach out.

Best Regards,

Nurse Zephyr

Friday Nurse Notes - 11.11.22

November 11, 2022

Good afternoon Pitzer Community, 

I hope everyone had a wonderful rainy week! This week’s email will provide resources for folks wanting to receive the bivalent booster shot, as well as some health safety reminders for upcoming holidays. 

As we gather for the holidays, please remember to be mindful of others and consider testing for Covid-19 before attending gatherings. Additionally, as students, staff and faculty return to campus life after trips and gatherings, consider testing for Covid-19 with a PCR test prior. Pitzer College may require a negative PCR test prior to return to campus; information will be sent out well before these requirements go into effect. 

Prevention is key! The updated (bivalent) boosters are called “bivalent” because they protect against both the original virus that causes COVID-19 and the Omicron variant BA.4 and BA.5.

Students:

Student Health Services is providing COVID-19 bivalent booster shots at their upcoming clinics! These clinics will be held on November 10, 11, and 17 in the Tranquada Building’s 2nd floor conference room. View available appointments and reserve your booster shot today by visiting myturn.ca.gov. You may also scan the QR code on the graphic below to sign up. 

Staff/Faculty: 

The on-campus clinic is providing COVID-19 bivalent booster shots by appointment only for staff, faculty, and their family members. You can make an appointment here! The clinic is open Monday/Wednesdays from 9am-1pm, and Tuesday/Thursday 9am-12pm, 1pm-3pm. You can always reach out to Nurse Zephyr to report symptoms and/or medical questions and needs. 

The Pitzer COVID Dashboard reports weekly cases on campus pending results from the lab.

Thank you for your continued efforts! As always, if you have any question, comments, or concerns, please feel free to reach out.

Best Regards, 

Nurse Zephyr 

Friday Nurse Notes - 11.04.22

November 4, 2022

To Pitzer Staff:

Good afternoon Pitzer Community,

I hope everyone is enjoying the cooler weather and had a wonderful Halloween! Today I am going to talk about the emergence of a new subvariant of Omicron in the New York metropolitan area, and what that means for us.

Omicron Variant      

  • There is a new subvariant of Omicron, BQ.1, emerging in the New York metropolitan area
  • This is making up 11-12% of Covid cases in that area, with BA.5 making up 65%.
  • With the data we have, there is no significant clinical differences in the variants other than increased infection rate

What Does This Mean for Us?

  • As winter approaches, it’s hard to predict whether there will be a new wave of COVID-19 cases in California; however, we should still think about protective measures we can take
  • As we gather for indoor winter activities and holidays, consider testing yourself for covid before attending and staying home if you are sick
  • Take protective measures such as receiving the updated booster if you are eligible; the updated booster offers protection against the omicron variant of covid

The Pitzer COVID Dashboard reports weekly cases on campus pending results from the lab.

Thank you for your continued efforts, and for being mindful of other. As always, if you have any questions, comments, or concerns please feel free to reach out to me!

Best Regards, 

Nurse Zephyr

Friday Nurse Notes - 10.28.22

October 28, 2022

To Pitzer Staff:

Good afternoon Pitzer Community,

Covid-19 cases remain low on Pitzer campus; however, the holiday season is coming up, with a projected increase in positive Covid-19 cases nationwide. This week I will talk about some simple ways we can stay protected.

Updated Booster’s and Flu Shots:

  • The updated booster, also called the Bivalent booster, provides increased protection against the original strain of Covid, as well as the Omicron variant.
  • It is possible to get covid and the flu at the same time! The CDC recommends receiving the updated booster and the flu shot.
  • Students may receive the updated boosters and the flu shot through SHS, and Staff/Faculty may receive the updated booster and the flu shot at the campus clinic.

Gatherings for the Holidays:

  • As we gather for Halloween and future holidays, consider testing yourself for Covid-19 before gathering.
  • PCR tests provide the most accurate results for screening purposes, as they will test positive with a lower viral load. However, if you have tested positive within in the last 90 days, you may test with an at home test (antigen) before gathering.

The Pitzer COVID Dashboard reports weekly cases on campus pending results from the lab.

I hope everyone has a wonderful Halloween weekend! As always, if you have any questions, comments, or concerns please feel free to reach out to me.

Best Regards,

Nurse Zephyr

Friday Nurse Notes - 10.14.22

October 14, 2022

To Pitzer Staff:

Good afternoon Pitzer Community,

This week’s email provides a couple Covid-19 reminders and information about flu season. Covid-19 cases on campus continue to be low.

A couple Covid-19 reminders:

  • The Covid-19 testing vending machines are for students only.
  • Staff/faculty that would like a test can get tested through the on campus Covid Clinic.
  • The best way to protect yourself and others from severe illness from COVID-19 is to stay up to date on your COVID-19 vaccinations.

The Flu:

  • Flu season is here! Symptoms of the flu and COVID-19 are similar, including fever, cough, fatigue, and body aches. The best way to know if you have COVID-19 or the flu is to get tested.
  • Like every year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that everyone age 6 months and older get their flu shot.
  • Students may receive the Flu shot through SHS. Staff/Faculty may receive the Flu shot thorough the on-campus clinic.

The Pitzer COVID Dashboard reports weekly cases on campus pending results from the lab.

Thank you for your continued efforts! As always, if you have any question, comments, or concerns, please feel free to reach out.

Best Regards,

Nurse Zephyr

Friday Nurse Notes - 10.07.22

October 7, 2022

To Pitzer Staff:

Good afternoon Pitzer Community,

Covid-19 cases are decreasing on campus! Please continue to test yourselves as needed, as surveillance testing can help everyone on campus better understand our community Covid levels. This week, I will touch briefly on social and personal Covid accountability.

  • Wearing a well fitted mask is recommended indoors. This recommendation means something different to everyone. Individualized care and social accountability are pertinent to help maintain the health and well-being of Pitzer’s Community.
  • This means that everyone’s social comfort level is different regarding social gatherings, masks, and Covid protocols.  Social awareness is useful to determining what safety measures should be personally followed. For example, if you are going to large social gathering indoors, it would be helpful to test yourself before the gathering and/or wear a mask. If you going to see an individual that is high risk, it would be helpful to test yourself beforehand and/or wear a mask.
  • You always have the right to mask up. N95 and KN95 offer the most protection. When wearing a mask or respirator (for example, N95), it is most important to choose one that you can wear correctly, that fits closely to your face over your mouth and nose, that provides good protection, and that is comfortable for you. It is important that as a community, we are mindful of others health and safety and respect other choices.

See below the isolation summary as of Friday 10/07/2022

Day ofStudents TestedStudent PositivesFaculty & Staff TestedFaculty & Staff Positives
10/05/202262050
10/04/202227170
10/03/202236050

The COVID Dashboard will be updated pending results from the lab.

Thank you for your continued efforts! As always, if you have any question, comments, or concerns, please feel free to reach out.

Best Regards,

Nurse Zephyr

Friday Nurse Notes - 09.30.22

September 30, 2022

To: Pitzer Staff

Good afternoon Pitzer Community,

This week’s email will highlight the current Covid-19 status, and what we can do as a community to help decrease transmission.

Covid-19 infections and reinfections will continue to impact campus life. However, individuals can successfully assess their situation, navigate the school year, and remain in good health with a better understanding of the disease, prevention strategies and treatments available. Omicron BA.4 and BA.5 are currently the most dominant strains of Covid-19.  These new variants, while more infectious, cause less severe disease.  Most of the rise of BA.4 and BA.5 is due to its increased ability to infect individuals previously immune to other variants of Covid-19.

What can we do to help reduce transmission?

  • The first steps in prevention and protection against Covid-19 are vaccinations and wearing a mask in high-risk scenarios, such as indoor events with a high volume of people.  N-95 masks filter up to 95% of the particles in the air and reduce your odds of testing positive by 83%.

  • Staying up to date on your vaccinations helps protect everyone in the community. In heavily vaccinated populations, like Pitzer, breakthrough infections are less likely to occur. People who are vaccinated are 24% less likely to infect close contacts, and those that are vaccinated and previously infected were 41% less likely to pass on the virus.

  • Screen yourself for symptoms daily. People with COVID-19 have had a wide range of symptoms reported – ranging from mild symptoms to severe illness. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. Anyone can have mild to severe symptoms.

  • Know when to test for COVID-19. If you are experiencing symptoms, get tested right away. If you were exposed to COVID-19 and do not have symptoms, wait at least 5 full days after your exposure before testing. If you test too early, you may be more likely to get an inaccurate result.

The Pitzer COVID Dashboard reports weekly cases on campus pending results from the lab.

As always, if you have any questions, comments, or concerns, please reach out to me!

Best Regards,

Nurse Zephyr

Updated Boosters Now Available in Clinic - 09.28.22

September 28, 2022

To: Pitzer Staff

  • The updated Moderna vaccine (bivalent booster) is available in the clinic starting on October 3rd

  • Please make an appointment here! Appointments will be Monday/Wednesday 9am-12:45pm and Tuesday/Thursday 9am-11am, 1pm-2:45pm
  • Family of staff/faculty are welcome!
  • Please bring your vaccine card with you

What is the updated booster and who is it for?

  • The updated booster/bivalent booster offers protection against the original Covid-19 strain and Omicron, BA.5 the current predominant variant
  • The Moderna Covid-19 Bivalent Vaccine is a single booster dose available to individuals 18 years of age and older.
  • You should wait 2 months after your completion of the Covid-19 primary vaccination series or after your most recent booster dose to receive the updated booster
  • If you have recently tested positive for Covid-19, it is recommended to wait 3 months to get the updated booster

I recommend that everyone eligible receive the updated booster! It offers updated protection and can help prevent severe illness. If you have any questions, concerns or want to chat about vaccinations, please reach out to me!

Images reads, COVID-19 vaccines and another layer of protection. Learn how you can get a COVID-19 vaccine to keep you and your family safe. www.cdc.gov

Zephyr Dowd-Lukesh, RN, BSN (She, Her, Hers)  

Friday Nurse Notes - 09.16.22

September 16, 2022

Good afternoon Pitzer Community,

Welcome to new and returning community members! I would like to talk briefly about a couple points regrading COVID-19 and the updated booster, as our knowledge of the disease continues to change and evolve.

Bivalent Vaccine

  • The bivalent vaccines, which we will also refer to as “updated boosters,” offer protection against the original strain of COVID-19, as well as the Omicron variant.

  • Individuals are eligible to receive the updated booster if it has been at least two months since they have completed primary vaccination or have received the most recent booster dose with any authorized or approved monovalent COVID-19 vaccine.

  • There will be a booster clinic today at Student Health Services from 1pm-4:30pm for students only. For staff and faculty, there will be a booster clinic in the Covid clinic as soon as the bivalent vaccine has been delivered.

COVID-19 Quick Facts

  • Immunity against COVID-19 after recovering from a diagnosis is brief. You can catch COVID-19 again within 3 weeks after recovery.

  • If you test positive for COVID-19 and are released from isolation on day 6 by a negative antigen test, you must continue to wear a mask whenever around others until after you complete your full 10-day isolation.

  • Symptoms of COVID-19 can include: fatigue, cough, fever, muscle aches, headache, sore throat, nausea or vomiting. These symptoms may feel as minor as a cold. Even if you have recently recovered from COVID-19, it is essential that you get tested and/or see a provider if you develop symptoms or have recurrent symptoms.

  • Masking indoors is not required generally but is recommended. Please pay attention to signs posted on Faculty members doors and on offices, as these spaces have the right to require masking in their space. N95’s, KN95’s and double surgical masks offer the best protection against the virus.

See below the isolation summary as of Friday 09/16/2022

Day ofStudents TestedStudent PositivesFaculty & Staff TestedFaculty & Staff Positives
09/14/202253450
09/13/202249070
09/12/2022891110

The COVID Dashboard will be updated pending results from the lab

Thank you for your continued efforts and welcome back! As always, if you have any question, comments, or concerns, please feel free to reach out.

Best,

Nurse Zephyr

Mindful Monday—Nurse Notes for Employees - 08.29.22

August 29, 2022

Good morning,

Thank you to everyone who has been in the clinic in the last few weeks—and to those new to Pitzer who I cannot wait to meet! As we start a new semester, I would like to remind everyone that testing is available to both vaccinated and unvaccinated employees and can be used anytime you would like or need a test.

The testing clinic is in West Hall living room Q222. Testing hours are 9 a.m.–1 p.m. Monday/Wednesday and 9 a.m.–12 p.m. and 13 p.m. Tuesday/Thursday.

Testing:

As campus life has increased the past week, COVID-19 testing is encouraged weekly. Testing is available on campus and is free to all Pitzer employees.  Appointments can be made through Healthy Pitzer, detailed instructions can be found below.

Daily Health Screening:

On the Healthy Pitzer website, you will also find the Daily Health Screening. This is a COVID-19 screening tool available for community members and guests. This tool is to be used whenever you develop symptoms or as needed.

COVID-19 Testing Instructions: 

How to make an appointment:

  • Routine Testing: Please make an appointment for testing through Healthy Pitzer. After logging in, you will see Appointments on the second tab. The first time that you log into Healthy Pitzer you will be required to sign Pitzer and HHB consent forms; these forms must be completed prior to testing. 
  • Please bring your phone to your appointment and be ready to log into Healthy Pitzer; we will use the barcode found in the top right corner of the homepage for testing. 
  • The test will be a self-administered nasal swab and the process only takes a few minutes. 
  • You will receive your test results directly via text message and/or email 24–48 hours after testing. 

If you have been exposed or have symptoms: 

  • If you have symptoms, please do not make an appointment with Healthy Pitzer and instead email [email protected] explaining your situation, and we will get you scheduled for diagnostic testing.  
  • This is important so that we can determine if you are safe to work on campus and so that we can test symptomatic individuals separately from others to reduce the risk of exposure. 

As always, please reach out to me if you have any questions or concerns. I hope everyone has a wonderful week!

Best,

Zephyr