A quality home is the foundation
of society & community

A quality home is the foundation of society & community

Slide Slide Slide “Safety begins with team work” Slide “A healthy outside starts from the inside.”

“This page is dedicated to our Residents, the Community and the RHA Team.
The Rockford Housing Authority believes that an informed person
has power to
make knowledgeable decisions.”

Laura Snyder,
RHA Chief Executive Officer

COVID-19 Update

COVID-19 has caused a public health crisis unlike any other in recent memory, but three years into the pandemic, there are signs that governments and public health authorities are ready to start putting the urgency of the threat in the past. On May 5, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared that COVID-19 is no longer a “public health emergency of international concern,” and is now “an established and ongoing health issue.” The WHO based its decision on decreasing deaths and hospitalizations from COVID-19 globally, as well as growing immunity against SARS-CoV-2 from both vaccines and infections.

In the U.S., President Joe Biden moved to end the country’s public health and national emergencies on May 11, which means that a number of measures to help curb the spread of disease will end.

These decisions do not mean that the COVID-19 pandemic is over, but that it is moving into a more manageable phase. In the U.S., it will mean an end to things like free tests and vaccines, which were provided by the federal government (and will continue to be until they run out). To get and pay for these, people will now use insurance coverage or, for those who are uninsured, public health services.

The way that the U.S. tracks and monitors COVID-19 will also change. Here’s how COVID-19 data changed:

Color-coded maps will go away

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will stop tracking COVID-19 community levels: a tally of PCR-confirmed cases, down to the county level, that states were required to report to the CDC. That aggregated information allowed the agency to provide people with an easy-to-understand, color-based metric for determining if cases are low (green), moderate (yellow), or high (red) where they live. This system helped individuals, as well as organizations like schools and hospitals make decisions about whether to recommend behavior changes like mask-wearing.

After May 11, states and jurisdictions will no longer be required to report cases to the CDC, so the data the agency will receive won’t allow them to accurately capture the burden of COVID-19 cases in any given county.

Hospitalization data will replace it

The CDC will now rely on hospital admissions data, which hospitals will continue to report to the CDC. Hospitalizations are “the main driver of community levels of COVID-19,” said Dr. Brendan Jackson, lead of the CDC’s COVID-19 response, during a briefing. In a May 5 report, CDC scientists conducted analyses comparing hospital admission data and its correlation to community levels of infections and found a 99% concordance between the two. “We will still be able to tell that it’s snowing, even though we are no longer counting every snowflake,” said Dr. Nirav Shah, CDC’s principal deputy director.  But instead of reporting admissions daily, as hospitals do now, they will do so weekly.

Other systems, such as wastewater surveillance, will help to provide a window into how cases of COVID-19 might be ebbing and flowing in different communities. The CDC’s National Wastewater Surveillance System, which launched in 2020, involves collecting wastewater and analyzing it for the presence of SARS-CoV-2 in hundreds of sites covering 140 million people (about 40% of the U.S. population). “Wastewater allows us to get insights into not just COVID-19, but other infectious diseases as well,” said Shah. “It is one of those early sentinel markers that we use to understand where things are going, and we intend to continue the investment CDC made in this system.”

PCR lab tests will no longer be tracked

We’ll also no longer have insight into “percent positivity,” or the percent of COVID-19 tests that are positive in a given area. That’s because in order to calculate that measure, CDC needs to have data from all lab test results, including negative ones, to determine what percent of the total are positive. Most labs will no longer be required to report negative test results.

The CDC will now rely on labs voluntarily reporting data

Although the CDC has agreements with some labs to continue reporting negative results, the agency is moving to include COVID-19 in its National Respiratory and Enteric Virus Surveillance System, a network of 450 labs around the country that test and voluntarily report results for respiratory diseases. The network does not include all labs testing for COVID-19, but it’s a representative sample that will continue to give CDC a heads up on when, and where, more COVID-19 cases might be emerging.

In addition, the agency will also draw data from its National Syndromic Surveillance Program, which collects emergency-department data from 6,300 health facilities in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Guam. The network covers about 75% of all emergency visits in the U.S., and weekly assessments of how many people test positive for COVID-19 during visits can provide early hints about whether cases are creeping upward.

What will stay the same:

Vaccination data will still be tracked on the CDC’s COVID-19 Data Tracker. Nearly all of the 64 states and jurisdictions (such as the Marshall and Virgin Islands) that work with the CDC have signed data-use agreements in which they will continue to supply information on how many vaccinations they have administered.

The CDC will also continue to monitor for COVID-19 vaccine side effects through its VAERS system. The V-safe system, which was created specifically to monitor for COVID-19 vaccine side effects through a smartphone app, will no longer accept new reports, but CDC plans to launch a new version of V-safe later this year.

COVID-19 deaths will also continue to appear on the COVID-19 Data Tracker, but in a more accurate way, according to Jackson. Until now, deaths were recorded by the date on which they were reported, which allowed for some lag and inaccuracies in matching them up to spikes in cases. The CDC will shift to reporting deaths from COVID-19 based on death certificates, which record the date of death, a more timely metric.

The CDC will still conduct genomic sequencing of positive samples—both from people within the U.S. and from travelers who come from abroad and test positive—to monitor for new variants. Samples from the National Wastewater Surveillance System are also genetically sequenced, and together, these sources are early indicators of new variants that might be causing infections in the U.S.

The CDC plans to launch a new COVID-19 Data Tracker website incorporating these changes that will be updated weekly to keep the public informed about changing COVID-19 trends.

 

FDA recall on rapid COVID-19 tests

SD Biosensor, Inc. and Roche Diagnostics launched a voluntary recall on May 4, 2023, in conjunction with the FDA, which includes over half a million units distributed nationwide, according to the official recall listing. The manufacturer shared that they first discovered the potential contamination during what they say was a “routine quality assurance testing.”

While no illnesses or deaths have been reported so far, FDA officials note they are “currently reviewing” the scope of the recall and are “in the process of classifying the recall risk.”

The recall centers on potential bacterial contamination that likely affects the pre-filled, sealed and ready-to-use liquid solution used in conducting a rapid home COVID-19 test. Meaning, if following directions correctly, most users wouldn’t come into direct contact with the liquid given that it’s used to prepare a nasal sample for testing. “A user may inadvertently come in direct contact with contaminated liquid buffer during opening the tube or handling of the open tube or while performing the test,” FDA officials note.

If used incorrectly, though, signs of bacterial infection (including fever and red, irritated eyes) may appear after coming into contact with tainted test materials. And FDA officials advise Americans to flush with water and seek medical attention if liquid in the test tube comes into contact with the skin or your eyes.

A full list of FDA-recalled home Pilot COVID-19 At-Home tests

While only a single product is being recalled, there are more than 40 lot codes — currently included as part of the Pilot COVID-19 At-Home Test recall. These impacted lot codes, which are printed on the front panel of the box near its product barcode and manufacturing date, are shared in full within the FDA’s recall listing.

You may also manually check to see if your Pilot COVID-19 At-Home Test is included in current recalls with Roche Diagnostics’ interactive search tool on its recall website for impacted customers. Those who have potentially contaminated testing kits are being directed to throw the entire product into the trash directly; the liquid solution should remain unopened, so don’t pour it down a drain.

Those who have confirmed their Pilot COVID-19 At-Home Test contains an affected lot code can request a free replacement from Roche Diagnostics by filling out a mail-order request form, or by calling 1-866-987-6243 and selecting option 1. It’s unclear how long replacements will take to reach impacted customers at this time.

It’s important to note that not every single Pilot COVID-19 At-Home Test currently on the market is included in this recall, meaning you may have a Pilot product currently that is still safe to use.

For more information please visit: https://tinyurl.com/cyex4xwk

Frequently Asked Questions About Updated COVID-19 Vaccines

The COVID-19 vaccines continue to work very well at preventing severe illness, hospitalization, and death. The updated vaccines now available from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna help protect against the Omicron variant, which is causing most new COVID infections.

Every vaccinated person 5 or older should get an updated vaccine.

It’s especially important for the following people to get an updated vaccine because they are at increased risk for severe illness from COVID:

No matter which COVID vaccine you got (Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, Novavax, Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen) for your primary vaccination series or how many boosters you’ve already gotten, you should get your updated COVID vaccine 2 months after your last dose.

If you recently had COVID, you should wait 3 months from when you got sick to get your updated vaccine.

Yes. Just like other vaccinations, your arm might feel sore after you get your shot. You might also experience flu-like symptoms, such as fever, headaches, body aches, and tiredness.

These are normal signs that your immune system is responding to the vaccine. Although these side effects may be unpleasant, you’re not actually sick. And they last a few days at most.

Serious side effects from any vaccine, including the COVID-19 vaccines, are very rare.

Vaccines are available from pharmacies, doctors’ offices, community health centers, and many more locations. Most people live within 5 miles of a vaccination site.

You have 3 ways to find free vaccines near you:

  • Go to vaccines.gov
  • Text your ZIP code to 438829
  • Call 1-800-232-0233

Remember to bring your CDC COVID-19 Vaccination Record card when you go for your updated vaccine.

You’re best protected when you’re up to date with your COVID vaccines. That means you’ve gotten all recommended doses for people your age.

To maximize protection from highly contagious variants and prevent possibly spreading COVID to others, both vaccinated and unvaccinated people should wear a mask inside public places when the COVID risk to your community is high.

Vaccinated and unvaccinated people must also follow federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial laws, rules, and regulations. That includes safety precautions for:

  • Public transportation
  • Airports and airplanes
  • Local businesses

Workplaces

For more information about COVID-19, including the safety and effectiveness of the vaccines, see our Facts About COVID-19 and the Vaccines.

Downloadable COVID-19 PDFS

What are the most common symptoms of COVID-19?

Fatigue may be more closely associated with Omicron infections currently, but it’s still a hallmark clue for any COVID-19 infection — and should be discussed with your healthcare provider since it may be mistaken for a common cold or occasions like suffering through a hangover.

CDC officers have told Americans that more data are needed to know if “Omicron infections… cause more severe illness or death than infection with other variants.” The most common symptoms for COVID-19 infections, including those caused by Omicron, as listed by CDC officials are below:

Any of these symptoms — in any order — may appear within two to 14 days after being exposed to SARS-CoV-2. They may be all equally severe or present different severities depending on the symptom.

The best way to protect yourself against COVID-19 (including an Omicron-induced infection!) and severe symptoms or death remains receiving a full vaccination. Those who have been vaccinated earlier in 2021 are likely now qualified to receive a booster dose now, which is proving to be a crucial defense, according to early research. Additional doses of the COVID-19 vaccine is reported to provide enough antibodies to block even Omicron variants, according to a Washington Post report on data released by Pfizer and BioNTech.

What You Need to Know

  • COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective.
  • For the best protection, everyone 5 years and older is recommended to stay up to date with their COVID-19 vaccines.
  • Search vaccines.gov, text your zip code to 438829, or call 1-800-232-0233 to find COVID-19 vaccine locations near you.

Please contact your state health department for more information your for COVID-19 vaccination.

For COVID-19 Vaccination Updates visit: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/faq.html

For more FAQs visit this link: https://getvaccineanswers.org/

For All Information & Concerns

For Administrative needs, you may phone 815-489-8500.

You can also reach out via the RHA WEBSITE.

For any questions or concerns regarding the above practices, please call your program manager or Director.

For Emergency Service

In case of criminal or life-threatening emergency Please Dial 911

If you have any information or concerns to share with
security please call:

Confidential Hotline: 815-489-8549

Rockford Non-Emergency: 815-966-2900

VIEW ARCHIVED COVID-19 RESOURCES

MARCH 2020- MAY 2023