- People with symptoms should assume they have COVID-19 and isolate, health officials have said.
- The CDC recommends people with symptoms stay at home for at least five days.
- Omicron symptoms include runny nose, cough, headache, fever, and fatigue.
Dr. Joseph Kanter, Louisiana state health officer and medical director, discussed the issue in a briefing on Thursday.
He said: “When you’re in a surge like we are right now and COVID-19 is everywhere — and it is everywhere right now — if you have trouble getting a test, a take-home test particularly, and you do have symptoms, the prudent thing to do is just assume you have COVID-19 and isolate away from other people.”
“That’s the safest thing to do right now,” Kanter added.
Louisiana’s record-breaking daily COVID-19 case numbers reflect what’s being seen nationally, Kanter said. Demand for tests is outstripping supply, making it difficult to get rapid tests. Lab tests are more readily available, he said.
Michael Mina, a former associate professor of epidemiology at the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health, told telehealth company eMed Friday that “the important thing is, when you feel symptoms, assume you’re positive at this point, especially with Omicron being so prevalent,” according to CNN. Mina is also eMed’s chief scientific officer.
In guidance updated on Tuesday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that anyone with COVID-19 symptoms should isolate for at least five days from symptom onset, including people who haven’t been tested or those awaiting results.
Symptoms of COVID-19, according to the CDC include:
- Fever or chills
- Difficulty breathing
- Muscle or body aches
- New loss of taste or smell
- Sore throat
- Congestion or runny nose
- Nausea or vomiting
People who are isolating should stay in a specific “sick room” and use a separate bathroom if available, the CDC said. If they need to be around others in the home, a well-fitted mask should be worn, it said.
The guidance also said people can end isolation after five full days if they are fever-free for 24 hours, without the use of fever-reducing medication and if other symptoms have improved.
It added that loss of taste and smell may persist for weeks or months after recovery and shouldn’t delay the end of isolation.
People can use a rapid test on day five if they have access to one and want to, the CDC said. If it’s positive, they should isolate for a further five days, it said.
At the end of the five-day isolation period, the CDC recommends people wear a mask at home and in public for an additional five days. People who are at risk of severe COVID-19 should be avoided for at least 10 days, it said.
If people are unable to wear a mask when around others, they should continue to isolate for a full 10 days, it added.