June 10 - Updates on COVID-19
TODAY’S CAMPUS UPDATES
Workplace face covering guidelines: Q&A
Last night, Cal/OSHA reversed itself on whether vaccinated employees will have to wear masks when the state reopens next Tuesday. If the new policy (no masks for fully vaccinated workers) gets final approval later this month, it would not take effect until at least June 28. The upshot for now is that all employees must continue to wear face coverings and stay 6 feet apart after the state’s official June 15 reopening. David Souleles, director of UCI’s COVID response team, explains the latest developments and what they mean for campus workers.
Q: What is happening on June 15 in California?
A: The state is exiting the colored tier system we have been operating under since late August. This allows nearly all of the current restrictions, such as physical distancing, to go away. However, UCI’s situation is complicated by the fact that we are an employer, a public place, and that we have dining and housing. CDC guidance for masking, higher education and other categories applies to us. California Department of Public Health policies apply to us, as do those of the Orange County Health Care Agency and Cal/OSHA standards. Additionally, the University of California is currently considering policies regarding vaccinations and capacity.
Q: What does this mean for UCI?
A: I work with others at UCI to ensure we are in compliance with all of these. Many are changing right now and we are looking at all the changes to ensure we meet the standards for employees, students and visitors. They do not all align in terms of timing, but most are centered around requirements for people who are unvaccinated versus those who are fully vaccinated.
Q: Can we expect any changes at UCI?
A: The Cal/OSHA process has thrown us off because of the changes in direction as recently as last night. Leadership is evaluating the current and expected guidance from all sources and we expect to be able to message the campus community next week about what this all means for UCI. The goal at UCI is not only to be in compliance but to provide a safe and healthy environment for in-person operations in the fall.
A welcome milestone: No COVID patients at UCIMC
On Wednesday, for the first time in more than a year, UCI Health reported no in-house COVID patients for two consecutive shifts, a far cry from early January’s peak of 183 COVID cases.
The latest on UC’s mandatory vaccination plans
The public comment period is over and a final draft of the policy requiring all UC faculty, staff and students to be vaccinated against COVID-19 is expected to be issued by July 15. Under the policy, vaccinations must be completed two weeks before faculty, staff, students and others are expected to be on campus or at a location for the fall term. Details about narrow exceptions will be made available when the policy is issued, but those who are exempted must wear masks in all public settings and be tested at least weekly for the virus.
No new campus cases*
No student residents or on-campus employees tested positive for COVID-19 on Wednesday. For more information, visit the UCI COVID-19 dashboard.
UCI COVID-19 NEWS AND EVENTS
#IamUCI: Jenny Nguyen, B.S., pharmaceutical sciences
Jenny Nguyen chose UCI because of the uniqueness of its pharmaceutical sciences program. It bridged various sciences and had interesting topics, such as pharmacotherapy -- which taught her how a range of disorders, from neurological to psychological, could be successfully treated with medication. Her interest grew deeper during her four years as a member of the Pre-Pharmacy Society, where she learned about the field from practicing pharmacists who were often guest speakers during meetings, and where she became president her fourth year. As a peer academic advisor, she was able to interact with students and help with their problems, academic or otherwise. Her experiences gradually steered her in the direction of psychiatry pharmacy, which would enable her to work in an inpatient setting. Now she looks forward to applying her passion while obtaining a Doctor of Pharmacy degree at UCSD, where she will be starting this fall. She will bring with her the skills that she acquired while volunteering and working as a pharmacy technician at the UCI Health vaccine clinic since the beginning of the year. She has been helping draw up the life-saving vaccines that are being administered to residents, an experience she says has made her feel more confident in her choice to pursue pharmacy.
GENERAL COVID-19 NEWS
This section curates noteworthy coronavirus news, trends and opinions. No endorsement by UCI is implied. Note: Some news sites require subscriptions to read articles. The UCI Libraries offer free subscriptions to The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, OC Register and Washington Post for students, faculty and staff.
California’s reopening rules explained
With the state set to reopen its economy on Tuesday, wearing a mask will become optional in many public settings.
Study affirms vaccine effectiveness against variants
The data for all three vaccines is “very solid,” an immunologist said.
O.C.’s case numbers continue encouraging trends
On Wednesday, Orange County reported 26 new COVID-19 infections and logged two deaths as hospitalization rates continued to fall.
HOPE, INSPIRATION, LAUGHTER
50 hilarious dog photos
BoredPanda.com fetches dozens of amusing canine posts.
If you have a shoutout, or if you’d like to share what you’ve been up to during the pandemic, send photos and/or words about your COVID-19 vaccination, activities, workstation, volunteering, etc., to firstname.lastname@example.org or post on social media with the #UCIconnected hashtag.