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5 Things You Should Know About COVID-19 in Utah Now

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Ask Utah experts and health authorities about the best way to avoid the coronavirus. Rapid increase in recent incidents, And their answers seem to be inconsistent.

Students exposed to COVID-19 can continue to report to the classroom. However, a doctor at the University of Utah does not currently recommend eating in a restaurant.

Authorities also encourage Utahns to wear masks in public. However, not all masks are as effective against Omicron variants as other masks.

As the recommendations change, the experts interviewed by the Salt Lake Tribune want to know:

Current mask guidance

According to Dr. Emily Spivak, a doctor of infectious diseases at the University of Utah, every mask is better than no mask.

“If you’re outside and in a group, a cloth mask will suffice,” said Dr. Eddie Stenehjem, an infectious disease doctor at Intermountain Healthcare. “But if you’re indoors and there are a lot of people out there, a cloth mask is probably not enough to protect you from Omicron.”

According to Spivak and Stenehjem, no matter what mask you wear, you need to fit it snugly on your face and make sure there are no gaps.Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Provide guidance For the location of the mask and how to wear it properly, we recommend that the N95 mask be the most filterable.

But in reality, Stenehem said that not everyone can get the N95, and “not everyone can tolerate the N95.”

“They really fit together and are difficult to wear for long periods of time,” continued Stenehjem. “So I think the biggest focus should be on a well-fitted, well-ventilated mask.”

Dr. Leisha Nolen, a state epidemiologist at the Utah Department of Health, also said it was important for healthcare professionals to continue to have access to the N95 mask.

“There are different levels of masks, and the higher they are, the better the protection,” Noren said.

According to Stenehem, it could be a surgical mask with a cloth mask on it. Surgical masks provide proper filtration, and cloth masks tend to fit better.

Nicholas Lap, a spokesman for the Salt Lake County Health Department, said KN95 was also a good option, but “a mask that is available and willing to be worn consistently and properly is better than no mask. “I have repeatedly stated.

What to do if the test is positive

People who test positive for COVID-19 should be quarantined at home for at least 5 days after the test, even if they are asymptomatic and begin to subside.

according to it New guidelines released on Monday According to the Utah Department of Health following recently updated guidelines from the CDC.

After the first 5 days, if your symptoms improve and you haven’t had a fever for at least 24 hours without medication, you can leave the house. However, the guidance states that he will wear a mask around others for another five days after being quarantined at home.

“”We know that even previous variants can infect others a few days after people’s symptoms disappear, “state epidemiologist Noren said.

If fever and other symptoms persist after the first five days of quarantine, Spivak says he needs to stay home longer.

What to do if exposed to COVID-19

According to the Utah Public Health Service, anyone confirmed to be infected with COVID-19 should be tested 5 days later.

That’s because 90% of the infections are by then, said Lap of the Salt Lake County Health Department.

According to the Utah Department of Health, the need for quarantine in the meantime depends on age and vaccination status.

For example, adults who have recently been vaccinated or boosted do not need to be quarantined after exposure, the Ministry of Health advises. This includes adults over the age of 18 in any of the following:

  • I have been vaccinated with a single dose of Johnson & Johnson within the last two months.

  • Received the first two doses of Pfizer or Moderna vaccine within the last 6 months.

  • I received a booster vaccination with the COVID-19 vaccine.

Nevertheless, the Ministry of Health advises that such adults should wear a mask for at least 10 days from the point of exposure.

The same guidance is recommended for people under the age of 18 who have been vaccinated twice with the Pfizer vaccine.

People of all ages who have not been vaccinated, recently vaccinated, or have not received booster immunization should be quarantined at home for 5 days after exposure. You can then end the quarantine if you are asymptomatic, but you will need to wear a mask around others for an additional 5 days.

According to the Ministry of Health, “Students can go to school for 10 days after exposure as long as they wear a mask at school.”

Find a place to take the test at coronavirus.utah.gov/utah-covid-19-testing-locations..

Find a place to get vaccinated at coronavirus.utah.gov/vaccine-distribution..

What to do if you have recently traveled

If you have recently traveled and experienced upper respiratory tract symptoms such as snuffs, sore throat, or dry cough, you should assume that you need to be tested and are infected with COVID-19. There is, “says Stenehjem.

He urges anyone with symptoms to quarantine themselves until they can be tested for the coronavirus, “the most predominant viral infection currently prevalent in our community.” I did.

Even if you didn’t travel, Spivak will take about 5-7 days for anyone attending a large holiday gathering or New Year’s Eve celebration, especially if the attendees are unmasked or unvaccinated. I recommended that you “bend over”.

In the meantime, she said she would work from home if possible to minimize socializing. It’s okay to go to a grocery store or get things done, but wear a mask.

“There are so many infections out there right now that even the most cautious can be exposed,” Noren said. “Because I’m on an airport or plane, it’s quite possible that I was near a positive person.”

Go out in public

Stenehem said warnings about high-risk and medium-risk activities, including eating out, have been applied more than ever, “because the amount of COVID-19 is so high in our community.”

“If you’re eating out in a crowded restaurant with people who don’t wear masks, the COVID infection rate is high and straightforward,” he continued. “There is not enough ventilation. There are too many people.”

In the coming weeks, Utahns should consider assessing not only personal risk, but also the risk of transmitting COVID-19 to susceptible and high-risk individuals, he said.

“If you are fully vaccinated, boosted and healthy, you may be aware of your risk unlike someone who is a kidney transplant patient … Who if you get this infection? Do you want to infect? ​​”Stenehem said. “Do you have a child with immunodeficiency or an older parent who lives with you? The risks are different.”

With Omicron variant, Spivak said that vaccination “no longer guarantees” that you will not be infected with the coronavirus. She said booster shots provide more protection, but there are still groundbreaking cases.

If the recent surge in Utah recreates what experts have seen in South Africa, it will hopefully subside “quite quickly,” Spivak said. However, for next month or so, Spivak recommends avoiding indoor environments such as restaurants as much as possible.

“If you are ill or you are exposed, do not go to those places where you may expose other people,” Noren added.

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