Credit: (genderpolicyreport.umn.edu)

Last Updated on January 15, 2022 by BVN

Phyllis Kimber Wilcox | Black Voice News

The Omicron variant of COVID-19 is causing new concerns over how to deal with it’s increasing spread. While a new study suggests that hospitalizations may last for shorter periods and the illness caused by omicron is not as severe, the surge in cases in California, reported to be the highest in the nation, has exacerbated staff shortages in hospitals and elsewhere,  and caused new guidelines to be issued for isolation periods. 

The CDC has shortened the isolation period for those who test positive for Covid and  are asymptomatic and have no fever, recommending self-isolation for five days and an additional five days wearing a mask when around other people. 

The unvaccinated and those whose second vaccination took place over six months prior to testing positive should self-quarantine for the same period and wear a mask in public for twice as long. 

CDC COVID-19 Isolation Guidelines

The CDC has shortened the isolation period for those who test positive for COVID-19 and  are asymptomatic and have no fever. (source: cdc.gov)

“The Omicron variant is spreading quickly and has the potential to impact all facets of our society. CDC’s updated recommendations for isolation and quarantine balance what we know about the spread of the virus and the protection provided by vaccination and booster doses,” advised CDC Director Rochelle P. Walensky, MD. “These updates ensure people can safely continue their daily lives. Prevention is our best option: get vaccinated, get boosted, wear a mask in public indoor settings in areas of substantial and high community transmission, and take a test before you gather.”

In the meantime, as the virus continues to spread the number of people scrambling for tests are rising. In response to increased demand on Friday, January 7 Governor Gavin Newsom activated the California National Guard to support communities across the state with additional test sites and resource capacity. 

Cases and Hospitalizations

Over the past few weeks cases  in Riverside county have almost doubled while hospitalizations increased by over one third. During  the same time period San Bernardino county cases have increased over one hundred percent and hospitalizations are at the highest level since last September.

COVID-19 Cases San Bernardino County a/o January 3, 2022

COVID-19 cases in San Bernardino County have increased over one hundred percent and hospitalizations are at the highest level since last September (source: /covid19-sbcph.hub.arcgis.com)

Schools

The increase in cases and staff shortages have affected some area schools causing some districts to scramble for personnel for in-person instruction. While others have not experienced significant increases in staff or student illness some are reporting increased student absences.  Schools are providing Covid testing kits to students and their families contact your local school to find out when they will be available. Some colleges and universities like Cal State San Bernardino  have switched to online instruction, while others including the University of California at Riverside and Cal Poly Pomona, among others, have changed the dates they will return to in person instruction.  

Healthcare Workers

With hospitalizations on the rise new guidelines allow healthcare workers without symptoms who test positive for Corona to continue to work. The decision is controversial with some concerns over whether healthcare workers may spread the disease to patients who may be vulnerable and become very ill as well as causing further spread of the pandemic.