Given Omicron’s prevalence and testing shortage, anyone with symptoms should assume they’re positive, doctor says – CBS Baltimore

(CNN) – With Checking for Covid-19 hard to find in many parts of the country and Omicron variant spread rapidly, health experts advise people with symptoms to self-isolate if they only suspect they have the virus.

And with the recent news that rapid antigen tests may lag In detecting positive cases when compared with PCR testing, the best time to do rapid testing may be a day or two after symptoms appear, epidemiologist Dr. Michael Mina said. know on Thursday.

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“It’s important, when you’re feeling symptoms, to assume you’re being positive at this point, especially with Omicron being so popular,” Mina said in an interview with telecom company eMed. , where he was chief medical officer.

“For people who do a rapid test and come back positive after picking their nose but the line is very faint, they could have an active infection and still be contagious,” he said.

“Does it mean you’re going to walk into a room and become a super wide person? But does it mean you should go to your 90-year-old grandma and give her a hug? I would say no, I won’t do it. I don’t personally want to sit next to someone who remains positive in any way on these tests,” Mina said.

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

“When you’re in a critical situation like we are right now and Covid is everywhere – and it’s everywhere right now – if you’re having trouble taking a test, especially a home test and If you have symptoms, the prudent thing to do is just assume you have Covid and isolate yourself from others. It’s the safest thing to do right now,” said state health official and chief medical officer, Dr. Joseph Kanter.

Leaders in many states are working to expand access to testing as demand soars combined with the lack of supply has resulted in countless shortages.

In Minnesota, officials said a new testing site would open and 1.8 million rapid tests would be sent to schools. In Maryland, 20 additional testing sites will be set up outside of hospitals to redirect people to emergency rooms for Covid-19 testing.

However, the test build is not smooth in every state. Up to 1 million unused rapid test kits Expires in a warehouse in Florida, a top state official said Thursday.

According to Kevin Guthrie, director of the Florida Division of Emergency Management, stockpiles were idle during the fall as cases fell in Florida and demand was low.

The problem with testing is only one part of the response to a pandemic that needs to be retooled in the face of a “new normal” of living with the virus, six former advisers to President Joe Biden wrote in Medical journal JAMA on Thursday.

The authors described Initial feedback for the virus is “seriously flawed” and calls for low-cost and accessible testing with immediate advice when someone gets a positive result. Other proposals include modernizing public health data and infrastructure as well as vaccine mandates and speeding up efforts to develop a universal coronavirus vaccine.

Officials say vaccinations are still important

The National Guard in Ohio, New Hampshire and New Jersey announced plans to deploy members to assist hospitals and long-term care facilities facing the coronavirus pandemic. shortage of workers, who face a higher likelihood of exposure due to the large number of patients and have to be isolated after testing positive.

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Widespread infection is also span other industries such as the public safety department. In Los Angeles, 505 police officers and 299 fire department employees were in home isolation as of Wednesday.

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

“Our constant response times will result in a slight delay in recurring calls,” said LAPD Director Michel Moore, but stressed that the 911 service was fully staffed.

Health experts are reminding that vaccination will give those who are infected Best chance for a faster recovery and avoid aggravation of the disease. Reports demonstrate that unvaccinated people are still at a higher risk of contracting the disease.

In Maryland, “75% of patients currently hospitalized with Covid-19 across our health system are unvaccinated,” said Dr. Mohan Suntha, president and CEO of Health Systems. University of Maryland, and less than five people. % of all hospitalized patients with Covid-19 vaccinated and boosted.

Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont said Thursday that all long-term care workers and contract workers in the state will be required to get a Covid-19 booster shot by February 11 if eligible.

Additionally, hospital staff will be required to take boosters, said Connecticut Hospital Association Vice President Patrick Charmel. Officials expect all staff in need of reinforcement to have one by early March.

CDC updates prevention guidelines in schools

In line with its latest quarantine and isolation recommendations, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Thursday update instructions to prevent Covid-19 in K-12 schools.

The guidance says students, teachers and staff using Covid-19 should stay home and isolate from others for at least five days. Day 0 is considered the first day of symptoms or the day of positive virus testing for asymptomatic people.

The CDC says people whose symptoms are improving can be quarantined for five days if they don’t have a fever for 24 hours. They should wear masks around other people for another five days.

Children who used to be exposure to coronavirus and not yet fully vaccinated should isolate for at least five days after their last contact with a person with Covid-19, the guidelines said. Adults who have not been immunized against Covid-19 or have not received a booster shot should also follow this recommendation.

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

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Dustin Huang

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