BY SARAH HAN, A&E EDITOR | @sarahyhan
Cal Poly Pomona’s two confirmed COVID-19 cases rank the university sixth in the lowest case counts within the California State University (CSU) system. According to the New York Times database that tracks COVID-19 cases in more than 1,500 colleges and universities countrywide, CPP has reported fewer cases than 16 other CSU campuses.
Four campuses — Bakersfield, Fullerton, Sonoma and Stanislaus — had the lowest case counts with zero confirmed cases. Meanwhile, CSU Long Beach had the greatest case count with 66 confirmed. CSU Los Angeles followed with 65 confirmed cases.
To comply with local health protocols and prevent the spread of the virus, CPP is requiring all students, faculty and staff who will physically be on campus to complete a virtual training module. They will also be required to complete a health screening any time they plan to visit the campus.
“Anybody that will be on campus at any point during the fall semester will receive training,” said Frances Teves, assistant vice president at the Office of Government and External and lead of the Safer Return Task Force.
“We have a very limited number of students that’ll be on campus, either living or with an in-person learning component. We want to ensure that those students have the information needed to help take care of themselves and ensure their own safety and the safety of others,” Teves added.
Seeing a decline in COVID-19 cases and hospitalization rates in California, select counties can expect to reopen some businesses in the upcoming weeks, Gov. Gavin Newsom said on Aug. 24.
Hospitalizations in the state declined by 20% over the past two weeks and patients in intensive care units went down by 19%, Newsom said in his news briefing. The state is reporting more than 100,000 daily COVID-19 tests, although the recent wildfires have made accessing testing locations more difficult. According to the governor, the infection rate also fell to 5.6% over the past week — successfully falling below the 8% target.
Newsom stated is in a “very difficult period, where we’re battling this pandemic as we’re battling these wildfires,” he plans to move forward and allow counties off the state’s watch list to begin reopening selected businesses.
Five counties — Orange, Calaveras, Sierra, Napa and Mono — have been removed from the watch list this week, according to Newsom. Los Angeles County, accounting for about 34% of all cases in California, remains on the monitoring list.
Counties off the list must wait two weeks until they can reopen schools for in-person learning. There are six criteria that place counties on the watch list — including not having enough daily testing, seeing a 10% or greater increase in hospitalizations and having few medical pieces of equipment available.
In efforts to increase its testing capacity, California signed a contract worth up to $1.4 billion with PerkinElmer of Massachusetts, a diagnostics firm that will provide cheaper testing while reporting test results within a day or two. The partnership will allow for an additional 150,000 tests per day, which would double the state’s current testing capacity, Newsom said in a news conference on Aug. 26.
“This provides us the ability to have much more stability and the ability to provide more reliability to people that are at risk, essential workers, to address the issue of the supply chain constraints that we think will only grow into the flu season,” Newsom said.
Newsom also unveiled an updated reopening plan on Aug. 28 that would allow some counties to resume business operations based on their COVID-19 testing rates and prevalence. While the four-tier blueprint — which goes into effect Aug. 31— can allow flexibility in some counties, other counties with higher risk may be required to institute new safety measures.
However, beginning Aug. 31, , including indoor services while following social distancing protocols and wearing face masks. Retail stores will also be permitted to open with the maximum capacity at 25%.
Counties will need to wait at least three weeks before moving into a less restrictive tier. If the counties remain eligible to move onto the next tier for at least two weeks, it will be allowed to progress after the three-week period, state health officials said.
Los Angeles County now has 239,756 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 5,759 deaths as of Aug. 30, according to the Public Health Office for LA County.
Following the state’s updated framework for economic recovery, LA County — being the most impacted county in the state — has been placed in Tier 1. This tier, the state’s most restrictive, indicates high risk with widespread community transmission. Although California’s revised reopening plan permits the reopening of hair salons and indoor malls, the county’s health department plans to keep its current restrictions in place until it has more time to review the state guidance, according to an Aug. 28 press release.
On Aug. 28, the LA County Department of Public Health (LACDPH) also reported three additional cases of multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C), which brings the total cases to 28 children countywide.
According to research from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, MIS-C is “a rare but severe condition that has been reported approximately two to four weeks after the onset of COVID-19 in children and adolescents.” Symptoms may include getting inflamed heart, lungs, skin, eyes or gastrointestinal organs.
“COVID-19 spreads among children the same way it spread among adults — exposure to symptomatic or asymptomatic people infected with the virus,” LACDPH Director Barbara Ferrer stated in the press release. “As we look at ways to safely offer opportunities for children to be supported in their learning, we must do so taking every precaution to limit the exposures and spread of COVID-19.”
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