US Coronavirus: With Omicron Prevalence And Insufficient Testing, Anyone With Symptoms Should Assume Positive And Isolated, Says Doctor

And with recent news that rapid antigen tests may lag behind in detecting positive cases compared to PCR tests, the best time to perform a rapid test may be a day or two after symptoms appear, said Thursday epidemiologist Michael Mina.

“The important thing is that when you experience symptoms, assume you are positive at this point, especially with Omicron being so prevalent,” Mina said in an interview with telehealth company eMed, where he is a chief medical officer. .

For those who take a rapid test and show a positive result after swabbing but the line shown is very low, they may have an active infection and still be contagious, he said.

“Does that mean you’re going to walk into a room and be a super-broadcaster?” No. But does that mean you should go see your 90-year-old grandma and give her a hug? I would say no, I wouldn’t. I wouldn’t personally want to sit next to someone who is still positive in any way on these tests, ”Mina said.

Health officials in Louisiana echoed the message Thursday as the state reported a record daily number of infections.

“When you’re in a wave like we are right now and Covid is everywhere – and it’s everywhere right now – if you’re struggling to take a test, a take-out test in particular, and you show symptoms, the cautious thing to do is just assume you have Covid and isolate yourself from other people. It’s the safest thing to do right now, ”said Dr Joseph Kanter, Public Health Officer and Medical Director.

Leaders in several states are working to expand access to testing, as an increase in demand coupled with a lack of supply has resulted in many shortages.

In Minnesota, officials said a new testing site would be opened and 1.8 million rapid tests would be sent to schools. In Maryland, 20 more testing sites will be set up outside hospitals to prevent people from going to the emergency room for Covid-19 testing.

Yet the build-up of tests has not been so smooth across all states. As many as one million unused rapid test kits have expired in a warehouse in Florida, a senior state official said Thursday.
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The stock was idle in the fall when cases declined in Florida and demand was low, said Kevin Guthrie, director of the Florida Department of Emergency Management, and the kits expired “before Dec. 26 at December 30 “.

The testing problem has been only part of the response to the pandemic that must be rearranged in the face of a “new normal” of living with the virus, six former advisers to President Joe Biden wrote in the medical journal JAMA on Thursday. .
The authors described the initial response to the virus as “severely flawed” and called for inexpensive, accessible testing with immediate counseling when someone tests positive. Other suggestions include modernizing public health data and infrastructure as well as vaccination mandates and accelerated efforts to develop a universal vaccine against the coronavirus.
A healthcare worker administers a Covid-19 test at a drive-thru test site in Tropical Park in Miami on Jan.6.

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Ohio, New Hampshire and New Jersey National Guardsmen have announced plans to deploy members to help hospitals and long-term care facilities facing worker shortages, facing risks higher exposure due to an influx of patients and must self-isolate after testing positive.
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Widespread infections also spread to other industries such as public safety services. In Los Angeles, 505 police officers and 299 firefighters are in home quarantine on Wednesday.

“These are big numbers, numbers that reflect the staffing challenges we all face,” said Mayor Eric Garcetti.

“Our continuous response time will cause some delay in routine calls,” said LAPD chief Michel Moore, stressing that 911 services were fully staffed.

Health experts say getting the vaccine gives infected people the best chance to recover faster and avoid serious illness. Reports show that unvaccinated people remain at higher risk.
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In Maryland, “75% of patients currently admitted to our hospitals with Covid-19 across the medical system are unvaccinated,” according to Dr. Mohan Suntha, president and CEO of the University of Maryland medical system , and less than 5% of all patients hospitalized with Covid-19 are vaccinated and boosted.

Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont said Thursday that all long-term care staff and state contract workers will need to get a Covid-19 recall by February 11 if they are eligible.

In addition, hospital employees will be mandated to obtain the recall, said Connecticut Hospital Association vice president Patrick Charmel. Officials expect all staff who need a booster to have one by early March.

CDC updates prevention tips in schools

In line with its latest quarantine and isolation recommendations, the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Thursday updated the guidelines for the prevention of Covid-19 in K-12 schools.
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Students, teachers and staff with Covid-19 must stay home and isolate themselves from others for at least five days, according to guidelines. Day 0 is considered the first day of symptoms or the day of a positive viral test for people who do not have symptoms.

People whose symptoms improve can leave isolation after five full days if they are fever-free for 24 hours, the CDC said. They should wear a mask around others for an additional five days.

Children who have been exposed to the coronavirus and who have not been fully immunized should be quarantined for at least five days after their last close contact with someone with Covid-19, according to guidelines. Adults not vaccinated against Covid-19 or who have not received a booster are also invited to follow this recommendation.

For the first time since July, the CDC will organize an independent telebriefing on the pandemic on Friday. The CDC typically participates in joint briefings with officials from the White House or the National Institutes of Health.

CNN’s Virginia Langmaid, John Bonifield, Naomi Thomas, Jamie Gumbrecht, Chris Boyette, Carma Hassan, Stella Chan, Amy Simonson, Steve Contorno and Taylor Romine contributed to this report.

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