Planning for our COVID Protocols
Sent on Wednesday, June 15. Edited on July 8, 2022 to reflect TAF’s most recent COVID requirements.
Hello TAF Family,
As summer approaches and we look forward to bringing TAFers back together, our country is still affected by COVID-19. The purpose of this email is to present TAF’s 2022 COVID Plan with the goal of zero COVID spread during TAF 2022. As your TAF president and a licensed pediatrician, I would like to share some perspectives with regards to this year’s TAF COVID protocols, to help you plan for and meet our basic attendance prerequisites. TAF continues to follow current Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommendations and guidelines. Keep in mind that this is NOT medical advice, and you should follow recommendations and instructions from your physician for your specific health needs.
Our staff has been working diligently to plan for a safe and COVID-free week for TAFers and reduce chances of COVID exposure. Last summer, we were able to conduct TAF 2021 with no reported cases of COVID with our protocols, especially in the beginning of the deadly Delta wave. While this year’s Omicron subvariants appear to be more mild symptomatically, with vaccinations and boosters still preventing major hospitalization and death, the studies and reports show that Omicron is more transmissible. Anecdotally, you may even have heard about vaccinated friends or family members who tested positive with a breakthrough case despite taking precautions. In light of the current state of the pandemic, our TAF COVID Registration Requirements remain largely the same as last year, detailed here on our website.
However, there is a potential scenario that may affect some TAF registrants:
Due to the transmissibility of Omicron, it is highly likely that a number of our TAFers have had COVID or may potentially test positive for COVID prior to TAF. Some may be asymptomatic or minimally symptomatic (runny nose, scratchy throat, or even thought it might just be allergies), and may have not been tested or confirmed.
Update to reflect current requirements (July 8, 2022):
The issue: Under TAF’s 2022 COVID Policy, ALL in-person attendees are required to submit TWO COVID tests prior to TAF.
- The first test, either a PCR/NAAT test OR a home antigen test, will be done 72 hours prior to the first day of your arrival.
- The second test, a home antigen test, will be done within 24 hours of your arrival to TAF.
Under TAF’s 2022 COVID Policy, ALL in-person attendees, including the Weekend program, are required to submit a negative PCR or NAAT test (not an at-home antigen test) showing no active COVID 72-hours/3 days before arriving at the Manchester campus. As these PCR or NAAT tests are much more sensitive, some individuals may still test positive up to three months after a previous COVID infection or positive test even though they no longer have active virus and are not contagious. For those reasons, under CDC guidelines, they are advised not to take a PCR or NAAT test for 90 days post COVID infection.
The result: There may be some TAF registrants who test positive by PCR or NAAT within our required 3 day window prior to the start of TAF because this is their first COVID test or they have become reinfected after a previous infection within this 90 days before TAF. Regardless of symptoms and level of immunity, they would then be considered a positive case at the time of testing and assumed to be currently contagious and will not be allowed to attend TAF 2022 since the CDC recommends a quarantine period of 5-10 days after a positive test result.
To avoid this scenario, my recommendations for you to consider are:
- If you believe you have symptoms of COVID between now and mid-July:
- Be sure to do a COVID test of any type. Consider that it may be optimal to do a test about 1-2 days after your symptoms begin to appear.
- If you do a home antigen test and it is positive, be sure to talk to your doctor. They will request that you do a PCR test as confirmation and if it is confirmed positive, this triggers the quarantine period.
- If you believe you had COVID after April 20, but never tested:
- Consider doing a PCR or NAAT test between now and July 10 to see if you test positive. This will provide ample time for any quarantine period to be completed before the pre-TAF 3 day testing window. You would need to show your confirmed positive COVID PCR or NAAT test result and show a negative antigen test for no active infection plus be asymptomatic.
- If you have tested positive for COVID after April 20:
- You will need to provide proof of a positive PCR or NAAT test confirming COVID exposure and you would only need to show a negative antigen test showing no active infection plus be asymptomatic during the pre-TAF 3 day testing window.
- If you’ve never tested positive for COVID, even up through July 10:
- You could potentially consider screening for COVID by PCR or NAAT regardless to confirm you have not had COVID. You would still need to submit a negative PCR or NAAT test during the pre-TAF 3 day screening window.
I hope you find these explanations of potential scenarios useful in your planning. If you have any questions, you may contact myself or our Medical Director, Karena Woo. Again, we may not be able to give any official medical recommendations to you, but can at least help clarify our TAF 2022 COVID Policy.
We wish you a safe Spring and early Summer. It has been a trying time for our entire community, but we remain committed to serving you, our TAF family.
Ho Chie Tsai, MD
Karena Woo, RN