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  • Tammy Silver

COVID-19 Update 8-05-2020

Public Health Update from Pasadena City College Student Health Services

COVID-19 Update 8-05-2020

Below are the most recent Coronavirus updates.

Faster, Cheaper Testing

We know that PCR testing has been the diagnostic test of choice and we know that nasopharyngeal specimens have been the specimen of choice. We know that the limit of detection (which translates to sensitivity) of PCR tests can vary a lot. We have known for months that people do not like the collection process for nasopharyngeal specimens. We continue to be painfully aware of the challenge of keeping up with the supply of swabs, reagents and PPE for collecting and running these tests and the overall cost of PCR testing. And everybody knows that days spent waiting for results invariably results in increased transmission unless people are willing and able to fully isolate.

      Columbia University is working on a saliva-based test that can produce results in 30 minutes that has a sensitivity and specificity comparable to good PCR tests using a modification of the loop-mediated isothermal amplification process (LAMP) that doesn’t require special equipment. A test like this could be inexpensive enough to do every day to identify people (many of them asymptomatic) who need to isolate. Let’s hope it moves from pre-print to reality soon.

Children and COVID

      There is some preliminary evidence that children under 5 may have up to 100 times the viral load of adults. It was only a small study and detecting virus by PCR is not the same as proving that it can infect others (something this study was not designed to address) but along with the South Korea study documenting transmission in children, it will move the needle of opinion about COVID and children.

      In the category of better to learn from the experience of others, an overnight summer camp in Georgia opened up on 6/21/2020 with 363 campers and 261 staff. Everybody had a negative coronavirus test no more than 12 days before arriving at camp and there was enhanced cleaning, physical distancing outside of cabins, staggered use of communal spaces and staff were required to wear cloth face coverings when with campers. The campers were not required to wear masks (this was Georgia), windows and doors were not opened in buildings to increase ventilation and, as usual, the camp experience included a lot of loud singing and cheering. One teen staffer left sick on 6/23/2020 and had a positive COVID test on 6/24/2020, some campers were sent home sick by 6/24/2020 and the camp was closed on 6/27/2020. Results of COVID testing were available for only 344 out of the total of 624 campers and staff but 76% of those tests were positive.

A Peek at Colleges and Universities

The New York Times has launched an attempt to gather outbreak information from colleges and universities, something that has not been presented as separate data on county/state/federal dashboards. They have started small (public 4-year plus private 4-year schools either in Division 1 sports or a member of the Association of American Universities). They hope to expand the data base over time and include other 4-year and 2-year colleges. The data shows 6,600 COVID cases linked to U.S. colleges (before fall classes). Perhaps most disturbing is how many of the colleges contacted so far said that they were either not tracking COVID cases or declined to share aggregate, anonymized data. You can see a list of the schools that provided case information that plan to have fall classes “primarily or fully in-person” includes 7 colleges reporting 50 cases or more.

Basic Preventive Measures We All Still Need




Quick Links to Resources

  • If you have had close contact with a suspected/confirmed case of COVID-19 or are having symptoms of COVID-19

  • Check with your healthcare provider about testing

  • If you don’t have insurance, use this interactive map to find drive-up and walk-up testing sites, all by appointment -

  • If you are looking for a test because you had close contact with a suspected/confirmed case or because you have symptoms, you need to quarantine/isolate. L.A. County updated their isolation instructions on 7/27/2020 – use the link to get up-to-date instructions:

  • Short URL for home quarantine instructions webpage with multiple languages:

  • Short URL for home isolation instructions webpage with multiple languages:

Director of Health and Wellness: Quinn Tang, DHSc., PA-C

Clinic Physician: Ann Walker, MD

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