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Addressing Coronavirus

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OCTOBER 2022 CONFERENCE PROCEDURES

POLICY OVERVIEW.  For all 2022 conferences, we are implementing all appropriate science-based COVID-19-related public health precautions / controls deemed applicable at the time, including vaccination requirements and on-site measures.  In September we asked all our October speakers to advise whether we should change the approaches we had used for the May/June conferences, based on the marginally shifting relationship between the risk of COVID-19 positivity and basic vaccination status, as found in CDC data over the past half year.  There was clearly greater sentiment expressed by the speakers toward retaining rather than removing the basic (not boosted) vaccination mandate.

Therefore, all October participants are being given a secured web address for uploading a record of either 2 rounds of a Pfizer/Moderna vaccine or the single round of a Johnson and Johnson vaccine (or a comparable approved regimen for another country of residence).  Public health realities also justify our being prepared to utilize masking most of the time on Oct. 22-23.  Thank you for collectively supporting our community's safety.

BEING PREPARED TO RESPOND TO SYMPTOMS.  The pandemic is still here, ebbing and flowing.  Though these may be unlikely to arise, we all should be mindful about:  upper respiratory disturbances, fever, cough, shortness of breath, loss of taste/smell or flu-like symptoms.  If you encounter these before travel, or if you have been exposed to the virus, then it is not appropriate to travel to the conference.  Do not travel if you meet public health criteria for quarantine.  We can for medical reasons apply your registration payments toward any future P-POD Conference, or refund them.

If you experience such symptoms on-site, you should depart from the current activity to seek immediate medical assistance or evaluation.  Some hospitals and urgent care centers in the conference site area are:
--Emory Healthcare (hospital), 49 Jesse Hill Jr. Dr. SE, Atlanta,GA 30303, 404-778-7777 (0.3 miles walking or driving)
--Grady Health System (hospital), 80 Jesse Hill Jr. Dr. SE, Atlanta GA 30303, 404-616-1000 (0.3 to 0.4 miles walking or driving)
--Grady Health System Walk-In Center (urgent care) 56 Jesse Hill Jr. Dr. SE, Atlanta GA 30303, 404-616-6661 (0.3 miles walking or driving)
--Urgent Care 24/7 Centennial Park, 285 Centennial Olympic Park Drive Northwest CU-2A, Atlanta GA 30313, 404-721-0444 (0.8 miles walking, 1.1 miles driving)

BEING CAREFUL ON-SITE.  We are utilizing masking throughout the conference, except when people are eating, because such precautionary behaviors are still justified for such congregate events at this point in the pandemic.  The covers on speakers' microphones are being changed between presentations.  For the standing microphone at which attendees ask questions, there will be a small barrier to set the questioner back a tiny distance, and we ask that masks be left on during questioning.  Common-sense sanitation procedures like hand-washing at appropriate times, are of course advisable.

MAY 2022 ADD-ON TO STATEMENT BELOW

For May 21-22, 2022 all registrants are being given a secured web address for uploading a record of either 2 rounds of a Pfizer/Moderna vaccine or the single round of a Johnson and Johnson vaccine.  Public health realities justify our being prepared to utilize masking most of the time on May 21-22.

FEBRUARY 2022 COMMENT

In the two full years since the beginning of the novel coronavirus pandemic, we, just as nearly everyone else, have needed to shift our assessments and plans numerous times.  Our current published COVID-19 policy statement for our three 2022 in-person conferences is quite simple:

"For any of these 2022 events, we would implement all appropriate science-based COVID-19-related public health precautions/controls applicable at the time, including vaccination requirements and on-site measures."

The pandemic is clearly not about to end, and further variants and waves and cycles are ahead, and we must regard the health and safety of our participants (and of our participants' contacts outside of P-POD) as our highest planning priority.  Various nuances and details will remain to be clarified based upon circumstances closer to each arrival-day, but we are clear that some requirement of completion of some nationally-recognized COVID-19 vaccination regimen, and some use of masking protocols on-site, will be in effect.

Our determination to restore viable and sustainable in-person educational modalities for health professionals, must be matched by an equivalent determination to use sensible multi-faceted precautions that should reduce any likelihood of infection transmission.  Discouraging COVID-19 infection transmission altogether is one crucial society-wide priority.  Combating risk factors for chronic diseases, incidence of chronic diseases, and other disparities of health status, any of which increase the likelihood that COVID-19 exposure could lead to severe disease or death, is another crucial priority that our nonprofit focuses on all the time.  We believe that NEITHER of these important priorities should be neglected.

SOME PAST ARCHIVES

For historical perspectives, a few of our postings from earlier in the COVID-19 pandemic are posted or linked below.

REVISITING COVID-19 ADAPTATIONS WE HAD ORIGINALLY PLANNED FOR IN-PERSON 2021 CONFERENCES BEFORE VIRTUAL CONVERSION

We knew that significant novel coronavirus threats to and disruption of society would continue throughout 2021, thus for our in-person events we had committed to implementing protective measures such as those we previously designed for our 2020 conference prior to converting to all-virtual....  and much more.   On behalf of enhanced participant safety, we had committed to limiting attendance to 15-20% of the capacity of each conference hall, and requiring COVID-19 testing prior to travel, daily temperature screening, disclosure of possible relevant symptoms, masking throughout, distancing procedures, no sharing of microphones, etc.  Surely such a range of protocols will need to be implemented at whatever point that large-group educational gatherings might be able to be re-staged in society once again.

As a historical reference, you may view our much earlier April 15, 2020 article "Safety-Supporting Efforts and Standards" with more background detail about how we were initially planning protective measures around the beginning of the pandemic.  The article was edited to reflect our conclusion soon after that only 20% or less of the conference hall capacity should be utilized.

MARCH 26, 2020 STATEMENT ABOUT NECESSARY PUBLIC HEALTH RESPONSE TO CRISIS

This was a statement about the profound inadequacy of societal mobilization against COVID-19 at that time, and urgent needs for comprehensive coordinated intervention.

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