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Date: Jan. 5, 2023

The Digest - GW Clinical Enterprise

**This email contains important COVID-19 information and updates. Please ensure that you read these emails in their entirety. Thank you!**

GW MFA | GW Hospital | GW SMHS

The GW Medical Faculty Associates

Respiratory Virus Update

  • The winter wave of respiratory viruses continues, now dominated by COVID. We are in a substantial COVID wave, with infection rates and hospitalizations rising. 
  • The Omicron subvariant XBB.1.5, which accounts for most cases in the northeastern U.S., currently comprises about 1/3 of infections in the mid-Atlantic region. The remaining 2/3 are due to subvariants BQ.1 and BQ.1.1.
  • XBB.1.5 is notable in part because it is the most infectious subvariant among the many that are being tracked, and thus is spreading fast and becoming the dominant strain.
  • Fortunately, there is no suggestion of increased severity of infection (virulence), and all subvariants remain susceptible to the three available treatments: Paxlovid (nirmatrelvir/ritonavir), remdesivir, and the less effective alternative oral option, molnupiravir. Please see these updated COVID treatment guidelines.
  • Seasonal influenza A activity has declined, but it is still worth being vaccinated because a second wave of influenza B may occur. The flu vaccine reduces the risk of infection and hospitalization from influenza.
  • Staying home when sick and masking around others are the best ways to prevent spread of COVID and all respiratory viral infections. Masks protect us AND others around us who may be more vulnerable.
  • In light of the current COVID wave, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is offering another round of free rapid antigen tests shipped to your home. Order online: or call 1-800-232-0233 (TTY 1-888-720-7489).



  • COVID vaccine boosters reduce the risk of hospitalization and death, especially in persons who are more likely to experience these severe outcomes.
  • COVID boosters are available for persons age 12 and up who have completed a primary series or been boosted at least two months ago. The vaccine is bivalent, containing spike proteins from Omicron subvariants BA4/5 as well as the original strain. GW MFA is offering the COVID booster on a walk-in basis at the GW MFA Pharmacy for patients, Monday - Friday, 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. Patients can stop by the pharmacy before or after their visit.


The GW MFA Pharmacy is able to offer almost all vaccines on a walk-in basis, including to employees, but clinics should offer to administer the flu vaccine if a patient is already in the clinic for an appointment.

GW Hospital

As we continue to see a rise in community transmission of influenza and other respiratory illnesses among children, we have instituted visitor restrictions. To help protect our patients, visitors and staff, we are restricting children under the age of 12 years old from visiting the inpatient units.


Dear SMHS Community;


As a reminder, SMHS continues to follow university policy regarding the use of masks within our facilities. Masks are required in the following locations:

  • Indoor instructional settings, which includes classrooms, the CLASS center, and teaching laboratories such as the anatomy lab
  • GW transportation, including the Mount Vernon Express, VSTC Express and SafeRide
  • Healthcare facilities, including the Student Health Center and the GW Medical Faculty Associates

In all other indoor areas masks are not required, but they remain encouraged. 


If you do not have a mask, they are available at the Ross Hall security desk. Ross Hall auditoriums each are equipped with a box of masks.  


This email is intended to serve as a digest of all messaging for our clinical faculty, students, and staff. This email is distributed at the close of business weekly, as we are managing operations during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

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