January 13, 2022: COVID Update

Dear Colleagues,

We wanted to take a moment to acknowledge again that these are trying times as we are, yet again, coping with the health of our patients, our families and ourselves. We hope that you take care of yourself, and remember the amazing resources offered by CopeColumbia.

While we know that rates remain extraordinarily high in NYC, the rapid rise of the 7-day percent positivity has stabilized. Based on what we are seeing locally as well as experience from outside of the United States, we are cautiously optimistic that we may indeed be at the peak, and we hope we will then see the decline in cases we saw after the last large wave in the Spring of 2021.

The good news is that the vaccine is highly protective against severe illness and hospitalization - while we know faculty and staff are vaccinated, please encourage your friends and family to get vaccinated/boosted. This includes children 5 and over. There have been over 8.4 million children reported with COVID-19 (and we know that is an undercount). However, only 25% of 5-11 year olds across the US have been vaccinated. Here in NYC, there are still 41.4% of children 5-17 who have not received any doses.

Flu vaccination is now required for all faculty and staff, in addition to the covid booster. Influenza activity is elevated in NYC, for both influenza A and influenza B. People can get their flu shot at WHS through 2/11/22, at a pharmacy or at their own doctor.

Reminders of deadline: Columbia University has mandated boosters for all faculty, staff and students effective January 31, 2022. Those who have had a previous infection still need to receive their booster by the deadline. People without a contraindication for vaccination can get vaccinated once they have recovered from their illness and have met the criteria for discontinuing isolation; those without symptoms can be vaccinated once they have met the criteria for discontinuing isolation. Information about how to upload booster status is forthcoming.

51 W. 51st Street Booster Schedule — January

Booster Session Opening Schedule through Connect
Friday, January 14, 9am–12pm 1/7 at 8am
Friday, January 14, 1pm–4pm Employee Walk-Ins
Tuesday, January 18, 1pm–4:30pm 1/14 at 8am
Wednesday, January 19, 1pm–4:30pm 1/14 at 8am
Friday, January 21, 9am–12pm 1/14 at 8am
Friday, January 21, 1pm–4pm Employee Walk-Ins
Tueday, January 25, 1pm–4:30pm 1/21 at 8am
Wednesday, January 26, 1pm–4:30pm 1/21 at 8am
Friday, January 28, 9am–12pm 1/21 at 8am
Friday, January 28,  1pm–4pm Employee Walk-Ins

ColumbiaDoctors primary care patients may also get a booster during a regular primary care visit. It is also fine to get a booster at a pharmacy or other vaccine site.

Governor Hochul has announced new testing sites at four MTA subway stations, including the 125th Street station (A, B, C, D lines). More information is available here.

Thank you and stay safe!  

Donna Lynne, DrPH  

Sr. Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, CUIMC

University COVID Director

Magda Sobieszczyk, MD, MPH

Chief of Infectious Diseases and Co-Chair of the CUIMC COVID-19 Vaccine Committee

Melissa Stockwell, MD, MPH

Chief of the Division of Child and Adolescent Health and Co-Chair of the CUIMC COVID-19 Vaccine Committee