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Dr. Kersting's Korner

COVID-19 Is Not Gone- Recommendations Have Changed

By October 4, 2022 October 5th, 2022 No Comments

It would seem that the COVID -19 pandemic is over but that is not the case. In the United States infection rates are decreasing with the daily average of new coronavirus cases falling below the 100,000 mark but cases are underreported due to home tests or people simply not testing. Death rates have remained the same at around 400 lives lost a day for the last several months. If this remains the case, we can expect 150,000 people to die from COVID -19 a year making it the third leading cause of death behind cancer and coronary heart disease. In the Camas Center Clinic, every week we still test for COVID-19 and treat acute cases along with seeing long haul COVID-19 patients. Federal health officials are rolling back their guidelines, signaling that past measures are too costly societally and economically to continue at this point. New recommendations are based on 95% of the population has some immunity against COVID-19 by either vaccination or by having natural immunity through infection. Social distancing is no long required but I would recommend that you distance yourself from someone who appears sick. Masks are no long required in most institutions except healthcare facilities. However, masks are encouraged to be worn by the elderly and people with health conditions that place them at high risk for severe disease in high density areas like public transportation or indoor events with exposure to large numbers of people. If you are exposed to COVID-19 you no longer must quarantine. The new recommendations are to wear a high-quality mask when around people for the next 5 days and then be tested for infection. If you test negative continue to wear a mask for another 5 days. If you develop symptoms at any time isolate immediately and get tested. After testing positive or from first day of symptoms you isolate for 5 days and may return to normal functions if symptoms are resolving, and you are fever-free for 24 hours. You are required to wear a mask for another 5 days. Remember you can get COVID-19 a full 10 days after being exposed so practice full precautions for a full 10 days. Seventy five percent of the population of Washington is fully vaccinated against COVID-19 which is slightly higher than the national average. The new bi-valiant booster vaccines against COVID-19 were just approved for Pfizer ages 12 and above and Merck ages 18 and above. The older boosters will no longer be given. These boosters have the advantage of targeting both old variants of COVID-19 and the new Omicron variants. It is recommended that all vaccinated patients receive one of the new boosters if it has been at least 2 months since your last vaccination or active infection of COVID-19. The Camas Center Clinic will hopefully be receiving doses in September to administer to Tribal members and clinic patients. Please call the clinic for an appointment to receive your booster. We are entering the third autumn and winter with COVID-19. Experts are trying to predict what the future will look like. Nobody really knows. The future of COVID-19 in the United States will depend upon whether new variants emerge, are they weaker or stronger than past variant, and will we take the new recommendations to heart? Remember to practice common sense and not expose coworkers, classmates, and family to whatever virus we have if we are feeling sick. Our best defense against COVID-19 and serious illness is to stay healthy by eating right, exercising, getting enough sleep, and avoiding emotional stress.