S.F. schools report highest number of COVID cases since winter omicron surge

San Francisco public school students and staff reported 320 COVID-19 cases last week, including 303 exposure cases where those infected were on a school site within 48 hours of showing symptoms or testing positive for the coronavirus. That is the highest figure since late January, at the tail end of the winter omicron surge. That also marks a 15% increase in cases at schools from the previous week. Infections on campus have been on the rise since the San Francisco Unified School District lifted its mask mandate a month ago. They also reflect a substantial increase in community spread, with San Francisco reporting one of the highest case rates in the nation. The city’s coronavirus positive test rate reached 11% on Monday — more than twice California’s overall rate of 4.4%

As new infections surge, USPS offers another round of free coronavirus tests

Residential households in the U.S. are now eligible for another order of free at-home tests on USPS.com. Each order now includes eight rapid antigen coronavirus tests, which are supposed to arrive in two separate packages of four tests in each package. Each package will ship free with its own tracking number.

A booster shot for children ages 5 to 11 may get approval this week

The Food and Drug Administration is expected to authorize a booster shot of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for children 5 to 11 as early as Tuesday, according to multiple people familiar with the plan who spoke to the New York Times. An advisory committee of vaccine experts is scheduled to meet with officials from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Thursday, according to the report. That will likely be followed by an independent recommendation from Dr. Rochelle P. Walensky, the director of the agency. In a clinical trial conducted by Pfizer, an additional vaccine dose of the Pfizer vaccine for 5 to 11-year-olds showed a sixfold increase in antibody levels against the wild strain of the coronavirus one month after receiving the booster, compared with one month after receiving a second dose. They would become the youngest age group eligible for booster doses.

FDA approves the first at-home test for detecting coronavirus, flu and RSV

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Monday authorized the first non-prescription multi-analyte coronavirus test kit. The Labcorp Seasonal Respiratory Virus RT-PCR DTC Test, which is available for use without a prescription, allows an individual to self-collect a nasal swab sample at home to identify and differentiate multiple respiratory viruses at the same time, detecting influenza A and B, commonly known as the flu, respiratory syncytial virus, commonly known as RSV, along with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. Results for the samples, which must be submitted to Labcorp for testing, are delivered through an online portal, with follow-up from a health care provider for positive or invalid test results. “While the FDA has now authorized many COVID-19 tests without a prescription, this is the first test authorized for flu and RSV, along with COVID-19, where an individual can self-identify their need for a test, order it, collect their sample and send it to the lab for testing, without consulting a health care professional,” said Dr. Jeff Shuren, director of FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health. “The rapid advances being made in consumer access to diagnostic tests, including the ability to collect your sample at home for flu and RSV without a prescription, brings us one step closer to tests for these viruses that could be performed entirely at home.”

Children’s COVID cases skyrocket amid nationwide BA.2 surge

Reported COVID-19 cases among children numbered 93,511 in the U.S. last week, up from 62,467 cases recorded in the previous week. Children represented over 18% of cases nationally, according to data published Monday by the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Children’s Hospital Association. Nationwide, cases have climbed by about 60% over the past two weeks following public health officials lifting most virus mitigation measures as the highly-infectious omicron subvariant BA.2 and its BA.2.12.1 sublineage, became dominant. Pediatric COVID cases dropped to their lowest point this year in the first week of April, with 25,915 cases reported, but have increased by more than 260% since then.

Coachella and Stagecoach festivals lead to a jump in COVID cases, hospitalizations

Following the Coachella Valley Music and Arts and Stagecoach country music festivals, which took place over three consecutive weekends in April, Riverside County is reporting a substantial jump in coronavirus infections. COVID-19 cases have increased 736% in the region around the Empire Polo Club in Indio, the venue where the festivals were held, since May 1, according to the Desert Sun. Hospitalizations are also on the rise, according to the report. There were 62 patients hospitalized with COVID-19 in the region as of Friday, up 12 from Tuesday. Health officials are urging residents to resume indoor masking and stay up to date on their vaccinations through the current wave. “Since increases are being seen in many areas of the country as well as across the county, these increases may be attributed to waning immunity, spread of more contagious variants, and potentially decreased use of mitigation measures, such as masking,” Riverside County Deputy Public Health Officer Dr. Jennifer Chevinsky said.

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