Thursday, May 7, 2020
MUSC World-Class Vitamin D Research Team to Study Connection to COVID-19 Prevention and Treatment
Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) College of Medicine scientists and clinicians, led by world-renowned vitamin D research experts Bruce Hollis, Ph.D., professor emeritus in the Department of Pediatrics, and Carol Wagner, M.D., a professor in the Department of Pediatrics and neonatologist, are planning a focused research effort to determine if individuals with sufficient baseline levels of vitamin D have more protection against severe COVID-19 infection.
Recent reports in the medical literature point toward a potential link between vitamin D deficiency and the pathogenesis of COVID-19 in certain patients. This information aligns with what Hollis, Wagner and other national experts have established in their own vitamin D research in at-risk populations – unrelated to COVID-19 – that vitamin D deficiency is more prevalent among African Americans and individuals with more melanin in their skin as well as in some elderly nursing home residents who have very low exposure to sunlight. In addition, effective vitamin D repletion can be accomplished safely and with minimal expense.
“Our team has the ability to determine vitamin D levels for COVID-19-positive patients and track that information to begin this work. This area of study is worthy of their expertise and efforts,” said David J. Cole, M.D., FACS, MUSC president. “This is a great opportunity to raise awareness that this due diligence is needed so we can potentially help particularly vulnerable populations in our community.”
To be clear, neither these studies nor MUSC are suggesting that vitamin D cures or prevents COVID-19 infection. However, the body of prior and emerging scientific evidence would suggest that individuals with low vitamin D levels who contract COVID-19, including African Americans and elderly nursing home residents, might experience worse clinical outcomes than other groups with normal vitamin D levels.
“It is important to study this topic to determine if recommending vitamin D supplementation for vulnerable populations can make a difference in COVID-19 outcomes. If valid,” Cole explained, “we would have an inexpensive, readily available strategy not only to help these groups of individuals but also the general population of South Carolina and beyond.”
MUSC scientists point out that recent COVID-19 and vitamin D studies suggest that at-risk individuals with historically low levels of vitamin D also had increased severity of COVID-19 infection and worse clinical outcomes, especially if the viral infection reached the lower respiratory tract. Certain cells located there are known primary targets of the virus, and if affected, it becomes harder for the lungs to initiate tissue repair and rebound from an infection, thus causing acute respiratory distress and the hospitalization of patients nationwide.
Hollis, Wagner and their team are rapidly pursuing clinical studies to validate or refute the clinical assumption that when patients have sufficient vitamin D levels, their immune responses to the virus’ primary targets are enabled, stronger and more capable of fighting off the most acute form of COVID-19.
“If we know that certain groups of the population are already at high risk for deficiency, and recent, valid studies suggest that increasing vitamin D levels might help prevent or lessen the severity of the disease, it would seem irresponsible to us as health care providers and scientists not to pursue this for our statewide and national community,” Wagner said. “We know vitamin D has a critical role in many functions of our overall health, so we have a responsibility to our families, neighbors, coworkers, friends and community to help answer this question.”
Essentially, the team seeks to replicate recent findings related to COVID-19 and vitamin D deficiency and explore the idea that patients might need to reach sufficient vitamin D levels through the appropriate clinical standard dosing of IV or oral supplements or, in some cases, simply get more exposure to sunlight. As the research effort matures, Hollis and Wagner plan to offer guidance on whether supplementation in certain individuals improves their clinical outcomes following a positive COVID-19 test. In addition, they hope to offer insight into whether vitamin D supplementation for all South Carolinians could improve their vitamin D statuses and mitigate the severity of COVID19 should they become infected.
“Our previous work has demonstrated that African Americans and other vulnerable populations can achieve vitamin D sufficiency through clinically validated supplements, which is a relatively inexpensive therapy that has a large safety profile when given in doses between 4,000 to 6,000 international units a day to adults,” Hollis said. “Some individuals with low levels of melanin in their skin can achieve better vitamin D sufficiency just by standing or sitting for 15 to 20 minutes in the direct sunlight each day that its possible, which is another easy way to address low vitamin D levels.”
Scientists know that vitamin D is present in very few foods, and typically at lower levels than what is needed for sufficiency, but it can be produced by the body when human skin is exposed to ultraviolet rays from sunlight, which triggers vitamin D synthesis. It promotes calcium absorption by the gut and helps strengthen bones. Additionally, vitamin D has been shown to play an important role in a number of other bodily processes like modulation of cell growth and differentiation and enabling proper innate and adaptive immune functions to fight off pathogens. It’s also thought to protect against some chronic conditions, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes and some cancers.
Hollis and Wagner have more than 60 years of combined vitamin D research experience, with a collective body of work referenced and replicated across the spectrum by institutions such as Harvard University and the National Institutes of Health. They have accrued thousands of citations and have been published in numerous peer-reviewed journals on various subtopics around vitamin D deficiency and sufficiency.
A Call for Conservation
City of San Antonio opens cooling centers as ERCOT calls for conservation through the week
The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) has called on the state to conserve power through Friday, June 18, 2021.
“With ERCOT calling for conservation and higher temperatures approaching, I want to encourage our residents to utilize these cooling centers if they need to seek safety from the heat. If you need assistance, please call 311,” said City Manager Erik Walsh.
To conserve energy at home, CPS Energy recommends that customers:
- Set thermostats 2 to 3 degrees higher from 2 – 7 p.m.; set programmable thermostats to higher temperatures when no one is home. The optimum energy-saving temperature is 78 degrees.
- Avoid using large appliances (i.e. ovens, washing machines, etc.), especially during peak demand hours.
- Use fans to feel 4 to 6 degrees cooler. Remember: fans cool people by moving air across the skin. They don’t cool rooms and should be turned off in empty rooms.
- Set pool pumps to run early morning or overnight; shutoff from 4 – 6 p.m.
- Turn off and unplug non-essential lights and appliances.
- Close shades and blinds on windows exposed to direct sunlight.
- Charge electric vehicles after 9 p.m.
The City of San Antonio has opened the following locations as cooling centers. The City of San Antonio has opened the following locations as cooling centers. Service animals (as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act) are allowed in City Cooling Centers. As required by law, residents should always provide pets with protection from the sun, a shelter that includes three walls, a raised floor and roof as well as food and fresh water daily.
Residents in need of transportation assistance can contact 311 for assistance. Those with medical needs and in need of assistance should also call 311 for arrangements.
Locations and hours of operation are below:
|Bazan Library||2200 W Commerce St||Closed||12pm-8pm||10am-6pm||10am-6pm||10am-6pm||10am-6pm||1pm-6pm|
|Brook Hollow Library||530 Heimer Rd||Closed||12pm-8pm||10am-6pm||10am-6pm||10am-6pm||10am-6pm|
|Carver Library||3350 E Commerce St||Closed||12pm-8pm||10am-6pm||10am-6pm||10am-6pm||10am-6pm|
|Cody Library||11441 Vance Jackson Rd||Closed||12pm-8pm||10am-6pm||10am-6pm||10am-6pm||10am-6pm|
|Collins Garden Library||200 N Park Blvd||Closed||12pm-8pm||10am-6pm||10am-6pm||10am-6pm||10am-6pm||1pm-6pm|
|Cortez Library||2803 Hunter Blvd||Closed||12pm-8pm||10am-6pm||10am-6pm||10am-6pm||10am-6pm||1pm-6pm|
|Encino Library||2515 E Evans Rd||Closed||12pm-8pm||10am-6pm||10am-6pm||10am-6pm||10am-6pm|
|Great Northwest Library||9050 Wellwood St||Closed||12pm-8pm||10am-6pm||10am-6pm||10am-6pm||10am-6pm|
|Guerra Library||7978 Military Drive West||Closed||12pm-8pm||10am-6pm||10am-6pm||10am-6pm||10am-6pm||1pm-6pm|
|Igo Library||13330 Kyle Seale Pkwy||Closed||12pm-8pm||10am-6pm||10am-6pm||10am-6pm||10am-6pm|
|Johnston Library||6307 Sun Valley Dr||Closed||12pm-8pm||10am-6pm||10am-6pm||10am-6pm||10am-6pm|
|Landa Library||233 Bushnell Ave||Closed||12pm-8pm||10am-6pm||10am-6pm||10am-6pm||10am-6pm|
|Las Palmas Library||515 Castroville Rd||Closed||12pm-8pm||10am-6pm||10am-6pm||10am-6pm||10am-6pm||1pm-6pm|
|Maverick Library||8700 Mystic Park||Closed||12pm-8pm||10am-6pm||10am-6pm||10am-6pm||10am-6pm|
|Mission Library||3134 Roosevelt Ave||Closed||12pm-8pm||10am-6pm||10am-6pm||10am-6pm||10am-6pm||1pm-6pm|
|Pan American Library||1122 W. Pyron Ave||Closed||12pm-8pm||10am-6pm||10am-6pm||10am-6pm||10am-6pm||1pm-6pm|
|Parman Library at Stone Oak||20735 Wilderness Oak||Closed||12pm-8pm||10am-6pm||10am-6pm||10am-6pm||10am-6pm|
|San Pedro Library||1315 San Pedro Ave||Closed||12pm-8pm||10am-6pm||10am-6pm||10am-6pm||10am-6pm|
|Schaefer Library||6322 US HWY 87 E||Closed||12pm-8pm||10am-6pm||10am-6pm||10am-6pm||10am-6pm|
|Semmes Library||15060 Judson Rd||Closed||12pm-8pm||10am-6pm||10am-6pm||10am-6pm||10am-6pm|
|Thousand Oaks Library||4618 Thousand Oaks Dr||Closed||12pm-8pm||10am-6pm||10am-6pm||10am-6pm||10am-6pm|
|Tobin Library at Oakwell||4134 Harry Wurzbach||Closed||12pm-8pm||10am-6pm||10am-6pm||10am-6pm||10am-6pm|
|Westfall Library||6111 Rosedale Ct||Closed||12pm-8pm||10am-6pm||10am-6pm||10am-6pm||10am-6pm||1pm-6pm|
|James Bode Community Center||901 Rigsby Ave||3pm-9pm||3pm-9pm||3pm-9pm||3pm-9pm||3pm-7pm||1pm-5pm|
|Commanders House Adult and Senior Center||622 S Flores||8am-5pm||8am-5pm||8am-5pm||8am-5pm||8am-5pm||Closed|
|Copernicus Community Center||5003 Lord Rd||7:30 am-7:00 pm||7:30 am-7:00 pm||7:30 am-7:00 pm||7:30 am-7:00 pm||7:30 am-7:00 pm||10am-4pm|
|Dawson Community Center||2500 E Commerce||Closed||2pm-9pm||2pm-9pm||2pm-9pm||2pm-7pm||9am-5pm|
|Denver Heights Community Center||300 Porter St||Closed||Closed||Closed||Closed||Closed||Closed|
|Dorie Miller Community Center||2802 Martin Luther King Dr||Closed||Closed||Closed||Closed||Closed||Closed|
|Fairchild Recreation Center||1214 E Crockett St||3:30pm-8:00pm||3:30 pm-8:30 pm||9am-12pm & 3:30pm-8:00pm||3:30 pm-8:30 pm||9am-12pm & 3:30pm-8pm||9am-3pm|
|Father Roman Community Center||11030 Ruidosa St||Closed||Closed||Closed||Closed||Closed||Closed|
|Garza Community Center||5627 Mira Vista||7:30 am-7:00 pm||7:30 am-7:00 pm||7:30 am-7:00 pm||7:30 am-7:00 pm||7:30 am-7:00 pm||10am-4pm|
|Gill Community Center||7902 Westshire||8am-5pm||8am-5pm||8am-5pm||8am-5pm||8am-5pm||Closed|
|Granados Adult and Senior Center||500 Freiling Dr||Closed||Closed||Closed||Closed||Closed||Closed|
|Hamilton Community Center||10700 Nacogdoches Rd||7:30 am-5:30 pm||7:30 am-9pm||7:30 am-5:30 pm||7:30 am-9pm||7:30 am-5:30 pm||9am-5pm|
|Harlandale Community Center||301 Sussex Ave||2pm-9pm||2pm-9pm||2pm-9pm||2pm-9pm||2pm-7pm||9am-5pm|
|Lincoln Community Center||2915 E Commerce St||3pm-9pm||3pm-9pm||3pm-9pm||3pm-9pm||3pm-7pm||11am-3pm|
|Lions Field Adult & Senior Citizens Center||2809 Broadway St||8am-5pm||8am-5pm||8am-5pm||8am-5pm||8am-5pm||Closed|
|Melendrez Community Center||5909 W Commerce St||2pm-9pm||2pm-9pm||2pm-9pm||2pm-9pm||2pm-7pm||9am-5pm|
|Miller’s Pond Community Center||6075 Old Pearsall Rd||2pm-9pm||2pm-9pm||2pm-9pm||2pm-9pm||2pm-7pm||9am-5pm|
|Normoyle Community Center & Senior Center||700 Culberson Ave||2pm-9pm||2pm-9pm||2pm-9pm||2pm-9pm||2pm-7pm||9am-5pm|
|Palm Heights Community Center||1201 W Malone Ave||7:30 am-7 pm||7:30 am-7:00 pm||7:30 am-7:00 pm||7:30 am-7:00 pm||7:30 am-7 pm||10am-4pm|
|San Juan Community Center||2307 S Calaveras||2pm-9pm||2pm-9pm||2pm-9pm||2pm-9pm||2pm-7pm||9am-5pm|
|South San Community Center||2031 Quintana Rd||7:30 am-5:30 pm||7:30 am-9pm||7:30 am-5:30 pm||7:30 am-9pm||7:30 am-5:30 pm||1pm-5pm|
|Southside Lions Community Center||3100 Hiawatha Dr||7:30 am-7:00 pm||7:30 am-7:00 pm||7:30 am-7:00 pm||7:30 am-7:00 pm||7:30 am-7:00 pm||10am-4pm|
|Tobin Community Center||1900 W Martin||Closed||Closed||Closed||Closed||Closed||Closed|
|Ward Community Center||435 E Sunshine||2pm-9pm||2pm-9pm||2pm-9pm||2pm-9pm||2pm-7pm||9am-5pm|
|Woodard Community Center||1011 Locke St||2pm-9pm||2pm-9pm||2pm-9pm||2pm-9pm||2pm-7pm||9am-5pm|
|Alicia Trevino Lopez Senior Center||8353 Culebra Rd||7am-4pm||7am-4pm||7am-4pm||7am-4pm||7am-4pm||Closed|
|Claude Black Community Center (District 2)||2805 E Commerce St||7am-4pm||7am-4pm||7am-4pm||7am-4pm||7am-4pm||Closed||1pm-6pm|
|District 2 Senior Center||1751 S WW White Rd||7am-4pm||7am-4pm||7am-4pm||7am-4pm||7am-4pm||Closed|
|District 5 Senior Center||2701 S Presa St||7am-4pm||7am-4pm||7am-4pm||7am-4pm||7am-4pm||Closed|
|Doris Griffin Senior Center||6154 NW Loop 410||7am-4pm||7am-4pm||7am-4pm||7am-4pm||7am-4pm||Closed|
|Frank Garrett Multi-Service Center||1226 NW 18th St||7am-4pm||7am-4pm||7am-4pm||7am-4pm||7am-4pm||Closed||1pm-6pm|
|Northeast Senior Center||4135 Thousand Oaks||7am-4pm||7am-4pm||7am-4pm||7am-4pm||7am-4pm||Closed|
|West End Park Comprehensive Senior Center||1226 NW 18th St||7am-4pm||7am-4pm||7am-4pm||7am-4pm||7am-4pm||Closed|
|Bob Ross Senior Center||2219 Babcock Rd,||7am-4pm||7am-4pm||7am-4pm||7am-4pm||7am-4pm||Closed||1pm-6pm|
|Southside Lions Senior Center||3303 Pecan Valley Dr||7am-4pm||7am-4pm||7am-4pm||7am-4pm||7am-4pm||Closed||1pm-6pm|
Text COSAGOV to 55000 to receive updates and information
City Budget- Your Input Is Important
City of San Antonio invites residents to participate in virtual FY 2022 budget telephone town hall meetings
The City of San Antonio will host two virtual telephone town hall meetings to inform the public about the Fiscal Year 2022 budget development process, answer public questions and gather input. The virtual meetings will include telephone town hall features, which allow residents to register in advance and receive a call when it’s time to join the event. City Manager Erik Walsh, Deputy City Manager Maria Villagomez and Budget Director Scott Huizenga will lead the public meeting.
The meetings will be held Tuesday, June 22 and Wednesday, June 23 at 6 p.m. Residents can register here to participate at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/FY2022telephonemtg. Registration closes three hours prior to each event.
“Telephone town hall meetings are a convenient way to hear directly from our residents, from the comfort of their homes. Each of our residents leads a busy life, whether that’s tending to their families, commuting to and from work, balancing schoolwork, or other priorities. These telephone town hall events allow the public to participate wherever they are,” said City Manager Erik Walsh. “The annual budget process sets the framework for our work in the community and our strategic goals.”
The City also opened a brief budget survey, which will remain open through June 21, 2021. The survey gives residents the opportunity to weigh in on their service priorities, as well as share their thoughts on restoring programming from budget cuts made in FY 2020 and FY 2021. City residents can take the survey on www.saspeakup.com or by texting SASpeakUp to 55000 to take the survey on their mobile devices.
More information about the telephone town hall meetings and survey are available at www.saspeakup.com.
Complimentary One-day Ticket To Six Flags Fiesta Texas
Six Flags Fiesta Texas is partnering with SA Metro Health to give away 20,000 one-day tickets – over $1.5 million in value – to people who get a COVID-19 vaccination at any Metro Health or partner vaccine clinic.
Beginning Tuesday, May 25, individuals who get vaccinated at any of these clinics will receive a complimentary one-day ticket to Six Flags Fiesta Texas valid through Sept 6, 2021 to enjoy a fun day at the park.
“Six Flags Fiesta Texas is honored to partner with city leaders to encourage residents to get vaccinated, especially in underserved communities,” said Park President Jeffrey Siebert. “We appreciate Mayor Nirenberg’s leadership on this initiative and we look forward to partnering with the City of San Antonio Metro Health to assist with their vaccine campaign efforts.”
Metro Health will also share the theme park tickets with its partners – including UT Health San Antonio, University Health System, University of the Incarnate Word, WellMed, San Antonio Fire Department, Bexar County Health Collaborative and Curative – to give to those who receive their vaccine at designated vaccine clinics.
“With so many people who enjoy visiting Six Flags Fiesta Texas each year, we hope people take advantage of this generous ticket giveaway and go get vaccinated. This could mean that 20,000 more residents get vaccinated to help us end the pandemic,” said Mayor Ron Nirenberg.
As a reminder, people can get vaccinated either by walk-in or appointment at the Alamodome drive-thru clinic from noon to 8 p.m. Wednesday-Friday.
For a list of locations of Metro Health vaccine clinics around the city, visit http://covid19.sanantonio.gov.
For more information about Six Flags Fiesta Texas, including operating hours, visit https://www.sixflags.com/fiestatexas.