Clark County hospitals are slammed with people testing positive for COVID-19, and public well being officers fear that they may quickly be overwhelmed.
“We’re seeing a really speedy 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 beneath pressure for a lot of totally different causes, and this COVID-19 surge sadly goes to make all of that worse.”
Based on 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 neighborhood, many individuals are questioning what to do.
What do you have to do in case you have an publicity, however can’t find a check? What when you can’t discover an appointment for a PCR check after you check constructive with an at-home check? How lengthy do you have to quarantine after an publicity? What sort of masks are acceptable? Should you 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 neighborhood secure.
Testing and quarantining
Should you expertise COVID-19 signs and can’t entry testing or are ready for an appointment, you must keep residence and away from others until you want pressing medical care. Should you check constructive 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, when you check constructive, the probabilities of false positives are literally actually uncommon,” Krager mentioned.
Should you check constructive or are experiencing COVID-19 signs however can not find a check, you must isolate at residence for no less than 5 days, day one being the primary full day after signs develop. You may come out of isolation after 5 full days when you’ve been fever-free for twenty-four hours with out utilizing fever-reducing drugs.
After ending isolation, you must proceed to put on a well-fitted masks when round others, ideally a respirator like a KN95 or N95 if attainable, for an additional full 5 days. Throughout this time, you must keep away from touring and being round people who find themselves at excessive threat for extreme sickness.
Based on Krager, the present COVID-19 case price knowledge isn’t pretty much as good because it was once 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 increased than what’s being reported,” Krager mentioned.
However testing remains to be an vital software when it’s accessible, Krager mentioned, particularly for individuals who work round weak folks, like caregivers.
Masks are a great way to sluggish the unfold of COVID-19, and folks ought to put on masks anytime they’re round folks they don’t reside with, in response to Public Well being. Respirator masks, like N95 and KN95, present probably the most safety, however fabric 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. Should you don’t have a respirator masks, double-masking can present additional safety. Fabric 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 neighborhood 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. “Youngsters beneath 5 haven’t had the chance to be vaccinated. There are people who find themselves severely immunocompromised, and the vaccine could not work as effectively for them. There are individuals who have been absolutely vaccinated and boosted however are nonetheless very frail and medically advanced. These are the folks we have to be enthusiastic about. We are able to’t simply ask these folks to not take part in society. And after we placed on a masks ourselves, we’re defending these folks.”
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 advisable 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.
Based on Public Health data, most individuals who expertise extreme sickness and have to be hospitalized as a result of COVID-19 are unvaccinated.
Clark County Public Well being recommends folks keep away from massive indoor gatherings proper now, particularly those that are unvaccinated. For many who are vaccinated, carrying a masks, sustaining 6 ft of distance from others and frequent handwashing is advisable.
Krager mentioned folks ought to do a threat evaluation each time they think about getting along with a gaggle of individuals. If there shall be people who find themselves unable to get vaccinated or who’re weak, gathering proper now isn’t the very best thought. But when everyone seems to be wholesome and vaccinated, you is perhaps prepared 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 gentle COVID-19 signs and folks looking for COVID-19 assessments. That is inflicting delays for sufferers with different wants.
Public Well being officers advise folks with COVID-19 to not go to the emergency room until they’re experiencing extreme signs, equivalent to issue respiratory, vomiting, out-of-control coughing or chest ache. Folks with gentle COVID-19 signs can discover therapy at major care docs and pressing care services.
Stroll-in COVID-19 assessments aren’t out there on the emergency rooms. These looking for assessments ought to go to doh.wa.gov to search out testing websites of their space.
Based on Krager, it’s too quickly to inform whether or not this surge in COVID-19 circumstances and hospitalizations is at its peak.
“From our knowledge proper now, we haven’t seen a slowing which may counsel a crest,” he mentioned. “It doesn’t imply it’s not going to come back within the subsequent few days. It’s definitely attainable. However proper now, it’s too early to say.”
Within the meantime, Public Well being officers ask that you just observe these tips to assist sluggish the unfold of the omicron variant and to maintain hospitals from reaching capability — a dire state of affairs during 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 must always all be taking precautions to maintain ourselves and our family members wholesome and assist scale back the pressure on our well being care system.”