The Omicron variant of COVID-19 is here and cases are surging throughout the county, region and state.
We are in an interesting period of the pandemic. The quarantine or isolation period is five days and in most cases it takes more than five days to receive test results.
What should a person do? One of the most important things we can all do is stay home if we are sick. If you suspect you have COVID-19, stay home for five days. Some people might experience fever longer than five days; they should be fever-free for 24 hours before leaving home.
If you are sick with COVID-19 or think you might have COVID-19, follow the steps below to care for yourself and to help protect other people in your home and community.
Stay home except to get medical care
Stay home for five (5) days after testing positive. If you still have a fever after five days, stay home for a full 24 hours after being fever-free. Most people with COVID-19 have mild illness and can recover at home without medical care. Do not leave your home, except to get medical care. Do not visit public areas.
Take care of yourself. Get rest and stay hydrated.
Stay in touch with your doctor. Call before you get medical care. Be sure to get care if you have trouble breathing, or have any other emergency warning signs, or if you think it is an emergency.
Avoid public transportation, ride-sharing, or taxis.
Separate yourself from other people
As much as possible, stay in a specific room and away from other people and pets in your home. If possible, you should use a separate bathroom. If you need to be around other people or animals in or outside of the home, wear a mask.
Tell your close contacts that they may have been exposed to COVID-19. An infected person can spread COVID-19 starting 48 hours (or 2 days) before the person has any symptoms or tests positive. By letting your close contacts know they may have been exposed to COVID-19, you are helping to protect everyone.
Monitor your symptoms
Symptoms of COVID-19 can include fever, cough, diarrhea, vomiting, loss of taste, loss of smell and sore throat.
When to seek emergency medical attention
Look for emergency warning signs for COVID-19. If someone is showing any of these signs, seek emergency medical care immediately:
- Trouble breathing
- Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
- New confusion
- Inability to wake or stay awake
- Bluish lips or face
Call 911 or call ahead to your local emergency facility: Notify the operator that you are seeking care for someone who has or may have COVID-19.
Call ahead before visiting your doctor
Many medical visits for routine can be postponed or done by phone or telemedicine.
If you have a medical appointment that cannot be postponed, call your doctor’s office, and tell them you have or may have COVID-19. This will help the office protect themselves and other patients.
If you are sick, wear a mask over your nose and mouth
You should wear a mask over your nose and mouth if you must be around other people or animals, including pets (even at home).
You don’t need to wear the mask if you are alone. If you can’t put on a mask (because of trouble breathing, for example), cover your coughs and sneezes in some other way. Try to stay at least six feet away from other people. This will help protect the people around you.
Masks should not be placed on young children under the age of 2 years, anyone who has trouble breathing, or anyone who is not able to remove the mask without help.
Cover your coughs and sneezes
Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.
Throw away used tissues in a lined trash can.
Immediately wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
Clean your hands often
Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. This is especially important after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing; going to the bathroom; and before eating or preparing food.
Use hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol, covering all surfaces of your hands and rubbing them together until they feel dry.
Soap and water are the best option, especially if hands are visibly dirty.
Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
Reminder: prevention is protection
Each day we all make decisions that affect our health. During this surge time, which is also flu season, drink plenty of water, eat nutrient-rich food, and use all of the tools available to promote your health.