Omicron-driven proliferation raises questions about the COVID protocol

DENVER (KDVR) – As the omicron variant of coronavirus continues to spread rapidly, more coloradans are testing positive than ever before.

The state reported a new record number of positive cases on January 5, and the week’s positivity has continued to rise.

The rise in cases has prompted Coloradans to ask more questions to avoid the virus and what to do if they get it.

How can I prevent myself and others from getting COVID?

Omicron appears to replicate much more efficiently than previous variants, making it more contagious, although it does not make patients very ill. And its increase happened during the holiday travel season in many places.

Doctors continue to stress about wearing masks indoors, avoiding crowds and being vaccinated and boosted. The COVID-19 vaccines do not prevent you from getting the virus, but they will make you much more likely to suffer less and stay out of the hospital.

Isolation vs. quarantine: What is appropriate?

The difference between isolation and quarantine is a clear line: isolate (no contact) yourself from others if you have tested positive for COVID-19 or if you experience symptoms; quarantine (preferably no contact, precautions if you are in contact) yourself from others if you have been exposed to the virus but do not know if you have it or not.

“To calculate your five-day isolation period, day zero is your first day of symptoms. Day one is the first full day after your symptoms developed. You can leave isolation after five full days,” the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.

The CDC said that people who meet certain criteria do not need to be quarantined:

  • You are a fully vaccinated adult with the addition of a booster shot
  • You are between 5 and 17 years old and have received two Pfizer shots
  • You have been tested positive for coronavirus within the last 90 days

Anyone who does not meet the criteria should stay away from others for five days and mask themselves when returning to daily activities for another five days.

The CDC recommends fewer days of isolation, returning to work

Just before the new year dawned, the CDC announced that COVID-positive Americans could cut isolation from 10 to five days.

“Not all of those cases will be serious. In fact, many will be asymptomatic,” CDC officials told the Associated Press. “We want to make sure there is a mechanism by which we can safely continue to keep society going while we follow science.”

Officials are also setting guidelines for workers to return to work faster than previously recommended. They originally said healthcare professionals could reduce the amount of time away from work to seven days if they tested negative and had no symptoms. These guidelines for returning to work have been extended to the general public. But the CDC stresses that this is not a mandate and employers can make different demands on their employees.

Staff, students can switch to distance learning

The recent increase in cases is affecting the education system and affecting both staff and students.

Around the Denver metro area, hundreds of teachers and students have recently tested positive, creating staff shortages for the classrooms. Parents ask how they can prevent their children from falling behind in school if they have to isolate themselves, and others ask how they can prevent their child from getting COVID.

Some Denver schools have already gone completely out of step, while other districts are discussing plans to possibly go partially or completely online.

State health officials announced that they were in line with the CDC’s recommendation to reduce isolation time for students and teachers. Those with mild COVID symptoms may stop isolating after five days of recovery and have no fever for at least 24 hours. However, it is still recommended to wear a mask for the following five days for safety reasons.

Omicron symptoms and treatment

The Omicron variant has been reported with repeated similar symptoms, specific for the strain.

The five main symptoms reported in December 2021 were:

  1. Runny nose
  2. Headache
  3. Fatigue (either mild or severe)
  4. Nysen
  5. Sore throat

Officials say it is best to stay home if these symptoms occur and be tested if you have been exposed or think you may have the virus.

Some experts said that the two best tools to have when dealing with COVID are a thermometer and a pulse oximeter. Since the variant tends to have symptoms similar to a cold, hydration and antihistamines can help reduce the disorder.

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