Weekly Address from Mary Faria: Summer Week 2

AOMA weekly updates (week of 7/27/20)


1. AOMA’s desire to combat racism –

· For many years, the master’s curriculum has had at least 72 hours of clinical time that can be done at a student’s discretion (called focus-choice) and has included tuina, medical qigong, the China Study Tour, additional internship, additional herbal clinical, and professional observation or externships. In the Fall students will be able to take a course in Race and Disparities in Healthcare as a substitute for either the herbal dispensary or 36 hours of “focus-choice.” This would not negatively impact accreditation or licensure.


2. Plans and issues related to COVID-19 crisis including clinic and campus re-openings

· Clinic re-opening plans went well. We appreciate everyone’s support and cooperation with the required COVID screening. On Wednesday, July 22, Janet Pichette, Chief Epidemiologist and Assistant Director of Austin Public Health joined our Daily Briefing and the following are questions she answered or information she shared with those in attendance:

- N95 masks: recommended when there is high risk for patient to produce aerosol by directly coughing, sneezing, etc. without a mask, for example a dentist working on an unmasked patient with open mouth or a provider working with a patient that has an endotracheal tube. For our purposes surgical mask with eye covering in form of googles, protective glasses or face shields is safe. The key is having good protective barriers from the patient.

- What about AC? The risk of AC has been debated and is not confirmed, it’s a balance, high temperatures cause other health issues and have to be considered so indoor with AC is preferable. AC filtration is important. AOMA’s infrared and added bipolar ionization is ideal. Vast majority of droplets are large and fall downward, there may be smaller droplets and thus it is so important to disinfect properly. Janet will send us what is recommended for disinfecting options to disinfecting wipes, she knows wipes are getting very hard to come by.

What we have set up for screening through hallway in Building B is ideal as there is safe distancing and a wide area, so no one has to touch a wall or other surfaces and direction is one way.

- How long is quarantine after showing of symptoms? - 14 days

- How long after testing? If tested positive individual would be isolated (no contact with anyone) 10 days, then 3 days fever free and symptoms improving. If the individual was in “close” contact with others the contacts must quarantine for 14 days.

If one tests positive and is asymptomatic clock starts on day of test, cannot return for 10 days

Janet has a calculator for return to work or school, minimum 10 days and at least 1-day fever free and resolution of your symptoms. We will get the calculator when it has final approval by Health Department leadership. Typically, resolution of respiratory symptoms is most important and would override other symptoms.

Olfactory symptomology is mostly loss of sense of taste and smell so metallic taste is not a common symptom, but Austin Public Health is seeing so many varied symptoms this complicates things

Student or employee with symptoms but negative test- we must assume they are infectious for something and send them home. Should not return until resolution of fever for 24 hours without taking any medications for fever and not showing any other symptoms

What to do when someone in a classroom with others is diagnosed with COVID? Do an assessment of the exposure risk. Distancing puts a classroom at medium risk, so we must monitor and consider 14-day quarantine for all who were in the classroom.

Test based strategy is NOT recommended, instead use with time-based strategy.

If test is used should be RNA PCR nasopharyngeal which is gold standard. Anyone with any symptomology needs to be sent home. Anyone with symptoms must not come to campus, stay home!

Janet commended us on the plans AOMA has put in place. Few organizations have tested their plans as we have done, and she held this out as best practice. Encouraged us to share with other schools.

WE All THANKED Janet and the Austin Public Health team for all they are doing for all of us. They are working tirelessly 80-100 hours a week to help get this COVID situation under control.

3. Key operational issues or updates

· We have found a good supplier for hand sanitizer, but disinfecting wipes are getting very difficult to find but we have a shipment arriving soon. We should have enough at both Clinics until the shipment arrives. Please note that we cannot use homemade disinfecting solutions, doing so is a liability for AOMA, but we appreciate students desire to help. Thanks to one student who has a source for face shields. Each clinic should be well stocked with masks, face shields and gloves.


4. Important announcements or answers to questions sent in by students, faculty or staff

· Classrooms and Clinics have been set up to maintain safety. Please help us by bringing your own water as no water dispensers are available during Phase I of campus re-opening. Also, we ask that everyone bring food that does not require refrigeration or microwaving. We’d like to reserve refrigerators for critical items like medication only. You might consider bringing a small cooler to keep in your care if you do want to bring food that needs to stay cool. All of our efforts are to minimize the need for frequent proper disinfecting of refrigerators and microwaves. We know this is not convenient but is best safe practice during Phase I of our campus re-opening. Thank you so much for your support and cooperation.

· Please remember restrooms that normally accommodate more than one person at a time are limited to use by one person at a time during Phase I of our re-opening. We ask everyone to wipe down surfaces after each restroom use.

Thank you so much for all efforts by everyone to keep us all safe during this public health crisis.


Take care, stay safe and stay healthy (mind, body and spirit).

With Love and Peace,

Mary

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