Follow-up to University message on Omicron
As indicated in an earlier message from the University, Penn Medicine is monitoring closely the new Omicron coronavirus variant. At present, and as our colleague - COVID expert and co-director of the Penn Center for Research on Coronavirus and Other Emerging Pathogens - Dr. Susan Weiss explains, it is too soon to know the potential impact of this variant. As part of the necessary efforts to collect more Omicron data, the Philadelphia Department of Public Health is working with the lab of Dr. Rick Bushman (co-director of the Coronavirus Center and Chair of Microbiology) to monitor the variant and its evolution.
As we await additional information, we do know that a critically important way to stop this and other variants is through vaccination and booster shots. Penn Medicine is currently providing third doses and boosters for all three available COVID-19 vaccines; click here to schedule an appointment. Furthermore, the University is planning to offer a free booster clinic, likely the week of Dec. 13; please look for that communication. Masking, using PennOpenPass, staying home if you feel unwell or have any symptoms, and avoiding large crowds continue to be essential measures.
In addition, walk-in, no-cost screening tests are being offered on campus to the entire Penn community, and we strongly encourage you to take advantage of this free testing (especially for those who have traveled recently). Schedule your COVID-19 screening test by visiting covidscheduling.upenn.edu. Please reference the below document if helpful, which highlights testing options and locations on campus and in the City, as well as additional resources.
We will continue to keep our community updated as we learn more about Omicron and its potential impact.
Jon Epstein, MD