November 23, 2021

COVID-19: The latest information

Getting vaccinated can help end this pandemic.

It is important to remain aware of the risk that coronavirus infection still plays in our communities, especially for people who are not yet vaccinated. The virus continues to spread around the globe and varying strains of the virus have emerged, including the delta variant. In the United States, the number of COVID-19 cases has surpassed 47.6 million with more than 770,000 fatalities.

“We strongly recommend everyone age 5 and older get vaccinated against COVID-19 as soon as possible,” said Kaiser Permanente national infectious disease leader Paul Thottingal, MD. “Vaccination is essential to preventing serious illness and hospitalization — and to putting the pandemic behind us. And fully vaccinated people should continue to take precautions to protect both themselves and others by wearing masks in all public indoor spaces and continuing the healthy behaviors we have all adopted in this pandemic.”

As flu season continues and the coronavirus is still spreading, it’s also more important than ever to get a flu shot. The flu shot helps reduce the risk of serious illness and hospitalization and lowers overall infection rates. And because cold, flu, and COVID-19 symptoms are similar, you’ll be less likely to mistake the flu for COVID-19 if you’re vaccinated for flu. If you still need to get both vaccinations, getting the COVID-19 and flu vaccines at the same time is safe and effective.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that people who are not fully vaccinated against COVID-19 — and everyone in areas of high transmission — should continue to wear a quality, well-fitting mask in public places. It’s important to note that masks may also be required by federal, state, and local rules and regulations — including local business, school district, and workplace guidance. This includes high-risk areas such as health care settings and public transportation, and activities such as travel. Although wearing a mask may not be required in certain areas for people who are fully vaccinated, it remains prudent for each of us to do so.

For the latest information on the COVID-19 vaccines and how to find an appointment in your area, visit kp.org/covidvaccine.

Kaiser Permanente’s response

The pandemic has changed our lives in many unexpected ways, including introducing and expanding innovative care solutions that will make it easier and more convenient to get care even after the pandemic ends.

Nearly half of our outpatient care visits are now conducted by video or phone call. This includes an average of 40,000 video visits per weekday — and our members have rated our video visits 4.4 out of 5 stars on average. In a recent survey, 85% of respondents said they’re likely to select telehealth for their next primary care appointment.

Every day we’re filling approximately 116,000 prescriptions by mail, allowing our members to receive essential prescriptions at home. Our teams have adjusted resources and services to meet the increased mail-to-home demand, which has gone from a third of all prescriptions before the pandemic to now half of all prescriptions we dispense.

As of mid-November, we’ve administered more than 9 million COVID-19 vaccine doses, and we’ve started to vaccinate 5- to 11-year-olds.

We can all play a part in ending this pandemic and keeping ourselves, our families, and our communities healthy.