Monday Rx: The Latest on Omicron, LACMA Town Hall Guests and Holiday Office Parties

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Happy Holidays and Happy Hanukkah!


By now the significant news about the Omicron variant is top of mind. Facing a global spread of the COVID-19 Omicron variant, U.S. health officials said it will probably take two weeks to fully determine the level of threat but pushed coronavirus booster shots as a key first stage in the battle.

President Biden met with top health advisors Sunday to map out a strategy as new cases were confirmed in more global locations, including Germany, Italy, Belgium, Israel and Hong Kong.

In Amsterdam, thirteen people on flights from South Africa, in the region where Omicron is believed to have originated, tested positive. In England, officials imposed stricter mask rules in response to the discovery of two cases.

Canada announced that it found two cases of the new Omicron variant as thirteen of the 61 people who tested positive for COVID-19 after flying to Amsterdam from South Africa, on just two flights, had the variant. (BBC).

"Inevitably it will be here," Anthony Fauci, MD, chief medical advisor to President Biden, said on ABC's "This Week."

The Biden administration on Sunday stressed the need for vigilant adherence to existing COVID-19 safety practices, notably vaccinations and booster shots.

In Los Angeles County, as of November 28th, there are 575 new cases, (1,525,486 to date) 7 Deaths: (27,128 to date) and 565 current Hospitalizations. LACMA will continue to share timely information and resources as the county braces for winter temperatures, family gatherings and new threats.

CMA’s Dustin Corcoran, Dr. Sandra Hernandez, Dr. Stephen Shortell to be Town Hall Guests

LACMA will kick off the Universal Coverage Town Hall Series, facilitated by Dr. Omer Deen and Dr. Hector Flores, on December 13th when CMA CEO Dustin Corcoran discusses universal healthcare expansion. Questions? Email Lisa Le or Register Here

Dr. Sandra R. Hernández, president and CEO of the California Health Care Foundation will be our guest on February 8th, followed by Dr. Stephen Shortell, Co-director, Center for Healthcare Organizational and Innovation Research, University of California, Berkeley in early spring, 2022.

What to Do About That Holiday Office Party?

As patients continue to return for office visits, some might ask about the holiday tradition of office parties. In late 2020 much of the country was under varying degrees of COVID-19 lock-down and pandemic protocols, with a distant promise of vaccines and conditions that had physicians fighting for life and sanity.

For those providers and/or patients choosing to hold live events, maintaining covid safety standards need to be a significant consideration.

  • Make your expectations of safe conduct and requirements for attendance clear beforehand, including issues like vaccination status, mask-usage for staff (and their guests) and make sure they are enforced in a uniform manner.
  • Consider skipping guests this year, it will help reduce the crowd size, minimize conflict over safety rules and keep the focus on the team, their achievements, and relationships.
  • Consider the pandemic safety policies of the venue you use and if you are hosting pay attention to details like safe food and beverage handling that avoids buffets, passed appetizers, and other “shared-touch” items.
  • Consider the size, layout and ventilation of any venue you may use; outdoor is best, followed by locations that have open windows, patios or other partially open spaces that allow fresh air circulation followed by indoor spaces with high ceilings and ample spacing. This promotes a higher comfort level with your guests and may help encourage attendance if these details are shared with your invitation.

While some of these risks are altogether new or variations of more familiar ones, the more conventional risks have not gone away and some of them may be heightened by current stress levels, contentious social and political environments, and those who may feel they need to, “make up for lost time”. Here is a short summary of some issues and risks to consider that will help ensure your holiday party remains, first and foremost, a safe and professional celebration.

  • It is optional, make that clear and do not penalize, formally or otherwise, those who do not choose to participate.
  • Regardless of whether it is live or virtual, make it inclusive of all faiths, physical abilities, and other individual sensitivities.
  • Make expected standards of professional dress, conduct, speech, and behavior clear. They should match the standards enforced in your office during business hours.
  • Alcohol is not your friend and is the leading cause of issues at corporate events. Monitor and control consumption carefully. No open bar, self-service etc. If possible, use a third-party venue like a restaurant etc. that at least partially assumes the risk of alcohol service.
  • Feed your guests, it creates an activity that keeps them busy and should be considered required if you are serving alcohol.
  • Make it clear that those who need a ride home can rely on you to provide safe transportation home.
  • Consider your insurance requirements including general liability insurance coverage for onsite events at your office to any special coverage required for offsite events including those based around specific experiences, activities (e.g., escape room, trolley bar, outdoor experiences, etc.) or involving group travel.
  • Pay attention to the appropriateness of the activities, décor, games, music, and other details considering all the above qualifications.
  • Make it clear that rules apply to all in attendance, including owners and executives. If it is not something that you would want to be photographed, filmed and shared on social media, make sure it doesn’t happen.

#GivingTuesday: Patient Care Foundation

Tomorrow is #GivingTuesday and Meta will match $8 million in qualifying donations. We encourage you to support the Patient Care Foundation, LACMA’s charitable arm, whose mission is to improve patient access to care in underserved communities. Each year, the Foundation awards scholarships to medical students in need. 

Please be sure to check out LACMA’s Facebook page for the link to donate. View Here

LACMA Alliance: December In Full Swing

Happy Holidays from everyone at the LACMAA! In their December 2021 Newsletter, they outline the latest holiday events, member renewals, award recognitions and more! They wish you all a happy and healthy season filled with family, friends, and love. If you have no plans for the holidays please let them know. They would love the opportunity to include you in their own holiday traditions. Nobody has to be lonely when you have a community of people supporting you! 

Read the full event newsletter here.

Virtual Grand Rounds: COVID-19 and the Holidays

Join CMA's Virtual Grand Rounds: COVID-19 and the Holidays - Where Do We Stand? and Updates on Testing and Outpatient Treatment on Tuesday, December 7, 2021, from 12:00 p.m. PT to 1:30 p.m. PT

As we navigate this year’s holiday season, the choices before us feel very different than those in 2020. More people are traveling and choosing to gather with family and friends to celebrate, and still, many of us are moving forward with trepidation. As we make our own decisions and counsel our patients about whether to travel and gather, it is essential to have a full understanding of the local COVID-19 conditions including vaccination rates, confirmed cases, etc. Coupled with the importance of this information is understanding testing information: when to test, which test to use and how to interpret the results.

In this Virtual Grand Rounds, we will get an update from Erica Pan, M.D. on the status of COVID-19 in California. We will also hear from other experts on the role of testing at this phase of the pandemic, how the US differs from many countries in the availability and cost of rapid tests, and how investment from the federal government may improve our ability to test rapidly and frequently.

Featured Topics:  

  • State of COVID-19 in California; Erica Pan, M.D., MPH, California State Epidemiologist and Deputy Director, California Department of Public Health, Center of Infectious Diseases
  • Testing and COVID-19
  • Injectable Monoclonal Antibodies: New Options for the Outpatient Setting

Date: December 7, 2021

Time: 12:00 - 1:30 PM PST

Register Here


"Teamwork: It takes both sides to build a bridge."

Gustavo Friederichsen

Chief Executive Officer

Los Angeles County Medical Association

“If it matters to our LACMA members, it matters to me.”

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