Clark County hospitals are slammed with people testing positive for COVID-19, and public well being officers fear that they are going to quickly be overwhelmed.

“We’re seeing a really fast rise in COVID-19 hospitalizations in Clark County,” mentioned Dr. Steven Krager, deputy well being officer for Clark County Public Well being. “Our hospitals are below pressure for a lot of totally different causes, and this COVID-19 surge sadly goes to make all of that worse.”

In line with Krager, hospitalizations statewide as a result of COVID-19 are eclipsing what was seen throughout final summer time’s delta surge.

“That’s very regarding,” he mentioned. “We’re nonetheless making an attempt to guard our well being care system.”

However as omicron spreads broadly all through the group, many individuals are questioning what to do.

What do you have to do when you’ve got an publicity, however can’t find a check? What if you happen to can’t discover an appointment for a PCR check after you check optimistic with an at-home check? How lengthy do you have to quarantine after an publicity? What sort of masks are acceptable? For those who expertise signs, do you have to go to the hospital?

Here’s what Clark County Public Well being recommends you do to maintain your self and your group secure.

Testing and quarantining

For those who expertise COVID-19 signs and can’t entry testing or are ready for an appointment, you need to keep residence and away from others until you want pressing medical care. For those who check optimistic utilizing an at-home COVID-19 check, you don’t want to substantiate the end result by getting one other check.

“With a house check, if you happen to check optimistic, the possibilities of false positives are literally actually uncommon,” Krager mentioned.

For those who check optimistic or are experiencing COVID-19 signs however can not find a check, you need to isolate at residence for a minimum of 5 days, day one being the primary full day after signs develop. You possibly can come out of isolation after 5 full days if you happen to’ve been fever-free for twenty-four hours with out utilizing fever-reducing medication.

After ending isolation, you need to proceed to put on a well-fitted masks when round others, ideally a respirator like a KN95 or N95 if potential, for one more full 5 days. Throughout this time, you need to keep away from touring and being round people who find themselves at excessive threat for extreme sickness.

In line with Krager, the present COVID-19 case fee information isn’t nearly as good because it was as a result of testing is troublesome to entry. Moreover, at-home check outcomes typically go unreported to Public Well being.

“We all know our true case numbers are literally fairly a bit greater than what’s being reported,” Krager mentioned.

However testing remains to be an essential device when it’s accessible, Krager mentioned, particularly for individuals who work round susceptible individuals, like caregivers.

Masks

Masks are a great way to sluggish the unfold of COVID-19, and folks ought to put on masks anytime they’re round individuals they don’t reside with, in response to Public Well being. Respirator masks, like N95 and KN95, present probably the most safety, however material and surgical masks nonetheless assist forestall virus transmission.

Public Well being recommends carrying masks correctly by making certain that they cowl the nostril and mouth and match snugly towards the face. For those who don’t have a respirator masks, double-masking can present further safety. Material masks with a number of layers present extra safety. Single-layer masks like bandanas and gaiters are much less efficient.

Krager mentioned he hopes to see a sense of solidarity return to the group round masks carrying, particularly as this surge threatens to overwhelm hospitals.

“Lots of people have had the chance to be vaccinated, however there are nonetheless lots of people who haven’t,” Krager mentioned. “Kids below 5 haven’t had the chance to be vaccinated. There are people who find themselves severely immunocompromised, and the vaccine might not work as effectively for them. There are individuals who have been absolutely vaccinated and boosted however are nonetheless very frail and medically complicated. These are the individuals we should be occupied with. We will’t simply ask these individuals to not take part in society. And after we placed on a masks ourselves, we’re defending these individuals.”

Vaccines

Getting vaccinated is the easiest way to guard your self towards extreme COVID-19 sickness and hospitalization, in response to Public Well being. Everybody 5 years and older is eligible to get vaccinated. Booster doses are additionally really useful for these eligible. Folks can get a booster dose 5 months after receiving a second Pfizer or Moderna shot, and two months after a Johnson and Johnson vaccine.

In line with Public Health data, most individuals who expertise extreme sickness and should be hospitalized as a result of COVID-19 are unvaccinated.

Gatherings

Clark County Public Well being recommends individuals keep away from giant indoor gatherings proper now, particularly those that are unvaccinated. For many who are vaccinated, carrying a masks, sustaining 6 toes of distance from others and frequent handwashing is really useful.

Krager mentioned individuals ought to do a threat evaluation each time they take into account getting along with a bunch of individuals. If there will likely be people who find themselves unable to get vaccinated or who’re susceptible, gathering proper now isn’t one of the best thought. But when everyone seems to be wholesome and vaccinated, you could be keen to take that threat, even when contracting omicron stays a risk.

When to go to the hospital

Emergency rooms at PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Middle and Legacy Salmon Creek Medical Middle are currently overwhelmed with sufferers experiencing delicate COVID-19 signs and folks in search of COVID-19 exams. That is inflicting delays for sufferers with different wants.

Public Well being officers advise individuals with COVID-19 to not go to the emergency room until they’re experiencing extreme signs, equivalent to problem respiratory, vomiting, out-of-control coughing or chest ache. Folks with delicate COVID-19 signs can discover therapy at major care medical doctors and pressing care amenities.

Stroll-in COVID-19 exams will not be obtainable on the emergency rooms. These in search of exams ought to go to doh.wa.gov to seek out testing websites of their space.

In line with Krager, it’s too quickly to inform whether or not this surge in COVID-19 circumstances and hospitalizations is at its peak.

“From our information proper now, we haven’t seen a slowing which may recommend a crest,” he mentioned. “It doesn’t imply it’s not going to return within the subsequent few days. It’s actually potential. However proper now, it’s too early to say.”

Within the meantime, Public Well being officers ask that you just observe these pointers to assist sluggish the unfold of the omicron variant and to maintain hospitals from reaching capability — a dire state of affairs through which hospitals can be required to ration care.

“Native hospitals are getting busier as COVID-19 case numbers climb,” mentioned Dr. Alan Melnick, Clark County well being officer and Public Well being director. “We should always all be taking precautions to maintain ourselves and our family members wholesome and assist cut back the pressure on our well being care system.”





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