COVID-19
Policy & Action Plan

Interfusion Festival
Institute for Integrative Wellness
Released October 2021

INTRODUCTION

The purpose of this COVID-19 Policy & Action Plan is to outline the Institute for Integrative Wellness (Interfusion Festival) current thinking regarding policy and risk mitigation strategies against the Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) virus and B.1.617.2 (delta variant), and Coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) resulting from the virus as it applies to participation in the event occurring on January 13-17, 2022.

On October 30, 2020, Interfusion Festival announced [1] that in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the January 2021 event would be postponed by one year to January 2022. Since that time, the Interfusion Team expanded the festival offerings [2], established 2 new programs, improved on its organizational structure, increased the festival grounds, and secured the festival host venue for four more years. At the same time, we embarked in the process of seeking to understand the many viewpoints of the community regarding the pandemic, and the best tools available at this time to fight the virus, to create a plan that holds the health and safety of our community as our highest priority.

This process involved the collection of data through various community-based surveys, conversations with stakeholders, counsel with medical and industry experts, and sharing of best practices with community-based organizations. The result of this effort is a COVID-19 Policy & Action Plan based on five layers of protection, that when combined, aims to reduce the risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection and severity of illness of COVID-19. Our hope is that by working together as a community, and by employing a combination of the best tools we have available, that we may hold a safer and more responsible event to return to after 2 years since the last Interfusion Festival in 2020.

Disclaimer: There is no single method or plan that is completely effective against the spread of SARS-CoV-2. There is a risk to all persons attending the festival during the pandemic, including breakthrough COVID-19 infections for the fully vaccinated. Persons who are immunocompromised, have underlying medical conditions and over the age of 65 are at increased risk. This plan is based on currently available data and subject to change based on the evolving situation regarding COVID-19 in the US. Interfusion Festival will follow all state and federal mandates at the time of the event.

5 LAYERS OF PROTECTION FRAMEWORK

Interfusion Festival’s COVID-19 Policy & Action Plan is founded on a 5 layers of protection framework.

 1. Testing Requirement

A negative COVID-19 test result no more than 72 hours before arrival is required.

 2. Vaccination Policy 

Proof of Full Vaccination by a COVID-19 vaccine or exemption is required.

 3. Symptom Screener

A Symptom Screener is required for all persons entering festival grounds.

 4. Temperature Checks

Temperature checks are required for all persons entering festival grounds.

 5. Cleaning & Disinfection 

Enhanced cleaning and disinfection protocols including use of electrostatic sprayers with hospital-grade disinfectants.

BACKGROUND & GUIDANCE

On Testing

According to the World Health Organization (WHO) [3], diagnostic testing for SARS-CoV-2 is a critical component in the overall prevention and control of COVID-19. A negative COVID-19 test result no more than 72 hours before arrival is required by all persons participating in the event. We recommend the following 2 options to meet the testing requirement for participation:

1) Molecular lab PCR/NAAT test, as it has the highest accuracy rate available, and/or
2) Antigen self-test close to or on the same day as arrival to the event.

While Interfusion encourages all attendees to consider using both testing methods, either a PCR test or antigen self-test negative result may be provided to meet the testing requirement upon arrival.

PCR tests have the highest accuracy rate are highly encouraged. Antigen self-tests are less accurate than PCR tests but may be more accessible. For persons using a self-test, we ask that whenever possible, to acquire an Antigen self-test in advance and test the same day as arrival. Self-test may also be administered before arriving at the event at home or in a hotel room. Interfusion encourages persons that do not test on the same day as arrival to self-quarantine [4] after testing until the event.

Where can I get a test?
At this time, there are many low to no cost COVID-19 testing options readily available in the US (see CVS Health, [5] Rite Aid, [6] and Walgreens [7] for example). See testing options in each US state here.[8]

Proof of Test:
Provide the results of your COVID-19 test result with a hardcopy or a date a time stamped photo along with other requirements to check in.

On Vaccinations

According to a study from the Israel Health Ministry published on July 22, 2021, Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine was only 39 percent effective at preventing COVID-19 infection. This is a 25 percent decrease from a previous study from Israel's Health Ministry released only 2 weeks earlier the same month. The same studies show that Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine was 91 and 93 percent effective at preventing serious illness, respectively. As the world continues to learn more about the efficacy of vaccines against the delta variant accounting for an estimated 98 percent of cases in the US today, vaccines remain a helpful tool in reducing the severity of illness and hospitalization of persons infected by COVID-19.

Proof of full vaccination [9] or an exemption [10] will be required to enter the festival grounds in January 2022. Proof of vaccination may be provided by any of the following:

1) Digital health pass or certificate that requires a full vaccination; or
2) COVID-19 vaccine card or a photocopy made available at check-in.

A limited number of exemptions will be made of no more than 2 percent of total capacity until November 15, 2021, for persons who have either 1) a medical condition or disability that prevents taking a COVID-19 vaccine or 2) a religious belief or practice that prevents the person from taking a COVID-19 vaccine. Exemptions will not be made for any other conditions or circumstances.

On Symptom Screeners

Individuals who have COVID-19 may be asymptomatic, meaning they don’t have symptoms, which reduces the efficacy of symptom screeners as a method of prevention. However, with its limitations, symptom screeners still provide an added layer of prevention to help reduce the spread of the virus. According to the Department of Health & Human Services (DHHS), symptoms [11] may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus, and include: fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, diarrhea, congestion or runny nose, and nausea or vomiting.

All persons entering the Interfusion Festival grounds are required to show results of passing a symptom screener (see UCLA Screener [12], Johns Hopkins Health Screener [13], or CDC Screener [14] for recommended options) by answering questions about possible symptoms of COVID-19. Persons that do not pass a symptom screener should follow CDC-recommended steps [15] and immediately separate themselves from others.

On Temperature Checks

The CDC recommends [16] conducting health checks for events including temperature checks of staff and attendees, safely and respectfully. An elevated temperature is one way to identify a person who may have a COVID-19 infection, although an infected person may be contagious without an elevated temperature or other easily detectable symptoms. Temperature checks will be administered at points of entry as an additional level of protection to help reduce the risk of COVID-19 to participants and are required for access into the main festival grounds.

It is recommended that participants do not seek access at temperature check entry points within 30 minutes after exercising or after taking medications that may affect your temperature. Persons found to have a temperature of 100.4 degrees or higher will not be granted access at the time of the test and should take CDC-recommended steps [17] to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 or other possible illness. Temperature checks alone are not effective means of detecting a COVID-19 infection and an elevated temperature does not conclusively indicate a COVID-19 infection.

On Cleaning & Disinfection

According to the CDC, cleaning and disinfecting surfaces can reduce the risk of infection of the virus and causes COVID-19. It is possible for persons to become infected if they touch those surfaces and then touch their nose, mouth, or eyes. In most situations, the risk of infection [18] from touching a surface is low. The most reliable ways to prevent infection from surfaces is to regularly wash hands [19] or use hand sanitizer.

The host hotel has increased the frequency of cleaning and disinfection, particularly in areas with high traffic including restrooms, elevators, and escalators. Hotel staff will utilize enhanced disinfection tools including electrostatic sprayers with hospital-grade disinfectants, to support the already rigorous cleanliness protocols. In addition, hand sanitizer stations will be readily available throughout the festival grounds with regular use encouraged by all participants. 

On Mask

Wearing a Mask [20] provides an additional layer of protection against COVID-19. Interfusion Festival encourages the use of wearing masks for individuals that seek to increase their protection against COVID-19, especially in high traffic areas such as hotel hallways during periods of transition. Masks are required in designated areas such as the COVID-19 Desk and Registration Desk for service. While wearing a mask throughout the full event is not required to participate, Interfusion Festival recommends all participants have a mask on hand and use it based on individual risk tolerance.

ALTERNATIVE VIEWPOINTS

Vaccinations have been the single most dividing topic observed in the process of seeking to understand the many viewpoints of the community regarding the pandemic. We found the following to be of most importance to members of the community that chose not to receive a COVID-19 vaccination.

Natural Immunity
Many individuals chose to develop a natural immunity to COVID-19 instead of relying on vaccinations. There is some data that suggests unvaccinated persons that have recovered from COVID-19 may have developed a stronger immunity against the disease than fully vaccinated persons that have not had COVID-19. The dependence on vaccinations over a lifetime rather than developing a natural immunity is of high concern.

Not Candidates for Vaccination
There are medical reasons why a person may not be a good candidate to receive full vaccination, from severe allergic reactions to the first dose of a vaccination to health conditions that may place increased risk of adverse events from receiving a full vaccination.

Bodily Autonomy & Sovereignty
There are conflicting values of supporting the fundamental human right of body autonomy/sovereignty such as with consensual physical touch but not when it comes to the personal choice regarding a medical intervention that many view as experimental in nature.

Long-Term Effects Unknown
The long-term health consequences of COVID-19 vaccinations are not fully understood. Most pharmaceuticals that reach the market do not show the severity of adverse events until years later. COVID-19 vaccinations are no different and not understood enough to have the trust of all persons.

The Pharmaceutical Industry
The pharmaceutical industry is entangled with media and government resources, and there is a revolving door between the industry and political campaign funding that influences policy and regulatory decision making. There are conflicts of interest that impact what research is funded and what info is shared.

Examples Outside of the US
The US does not generally share this same level of support with the European Union (EU) on the acceptance of recovery to COVID-19 as a means of developing immunity. For example, the EU Digital COVID Certificate, allowing free movement in EU countries, is granted for persons that have developed immunity from recovery from previous infection to the disease without full vaccination.

The alternative viewpoints highlighted in this section are not all inclusive and may only represent a fraction of the total due to increasing shaming, censorship and silencing of voices of persons that chose not to be vaccinated. Our hope is by highlighting what we learned to be some of the most strongly held reasons not to be vaccinated, while responding to the wider position of the communities we serve, that we may move toward greater support for each other and come together in the fight against this disease.

BEYOND COVID-19

The impacts of the pandemic do not stop with COVID-19. Beginning with lockdowns, the pandemic brought with it an unprecedented rise in clinical depression, mental health disorders, opioid abuse, and suicides. From educational offerings in positive psychology, meditation, and expressive arts, to exposure to healthy social outlets, lifestyles and supportive communities, Interfusion Festival aims to bring awareness of a collective of practices and modalities that may help combat the public and mental health crisis beyond COVID-19 which continues to affect the lives of our friends, families, and communities to this day.

CONCLUSION

The COVID-19 pandemic is an unprecedented challenge, with far-reaching impacts on public health and all aspects of our lives. The Interfusion COVID-19 Policy & Action Plan is based on a Five Layers of Protection Framework that, when combined, aims to reduce the risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection and severity of illness of COVID-19. It reflects a process of seeking to understand the many viewpoints of the community regarding the pandemic, and the best tools available at this time to fight the virus, to create a plan that holds the health and safety of our community as our highest priority. Our hope is that by working together as a community, and by employing a combination of the best tools we have available, that we may hold a safer and more responsible event to return to after 2 years since the last Interfusion Festival in 2020.