Omicron, in a blink, has become the dominant COVID-19 strain in the United States less than a month after first identified in South Africa.
But it’s not the only variant spreading through Connecticut and the rest of the nation. Delta, a potentially more lethal variant, still remains a primary threat.
“I’m trying to dial the message back about Omicron,” says Dr. Ulysses Wu, Hartford HealthCare’s System Director of Infection Disease and Chief Epidemiologist, “because there’s a variant that we should be really scared of right now and that’s Delta. We shouldn’t be behaving any differently from Delta to Omicron because they’re both dangerous.”
So how should we behave, scientifically speaking, as the holidays arrive?
Here are some tips based on information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:
Is It OK To Host or Attend a Holiday Gathering?
Enjoy the holidays, but put your health and your family’s health first:
- If you are sick or have symptoms, don’t host or attend a gathering.
- Testing can give you information about your risk of spreading COVID-19.
- Consider using a self-test before joining indoor gatherings with others who are not in your household. A positive self-test result means that you have an infection and should avoid indoor gatherings to reduce the risk of spreading disease to someone else.
- A negative self-test result means that you may not have an infection. Repeating the test with at least 24 hours between tests will increase the confidence that you are not infected.
- Try, as best you can, to stay 6 feet from people you don’t live with.
What Are Common COVID-19 Symptoms And How Soon Do They Appear?
Some of these symptoms might appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus:
- Fever or chills.
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing.
- Muscle or body aches.
- New loss of taste or smell.
- Sore throat.
- Congestion or runny nose.
- Nausea or vomiting.
For a list of Top 5 Omicron symptoms, click here.
I’ve Tested Positive, I’m Vaccinated But Have No Symptoms
Isolate for 10 days after your test date. If you still have no symptoms, you can be around other people. If you develop symptoms, the 10-day isolation period restarts from the date of those symptoms.
I’ve Tested Positive, I’m Vaccinated and I Have Symptoms
It’s OK to be around other people after:
- 10 days since symptoms first appeared and
- 24 hours with no fever without the use of fever-reducing medications and
- Other symptoms of COVID-19 are improving. (Loss of taste and smell may persist for weeks or months after recovery and need not delay the end of isolation.)
These guidelines, however, do not apply to people who have severe COVID or weakened immune systems.
I’ve Tested Positive and I’m Unvaccinated
It doesn’t matter if you’re vaccinated or unvaccinated: If you test positive, the CDC says you should isolate. If you’re unvaccinated have been in contact with someone who has COVID-19, you should quarantine:
- Stay home for 14 days after your last contact with a person who has COVID-19.
- Watch for fever (100.4 degrees), cough, shortness of breath, or other symptoms of COVID-19.
- If possible, stay away from people you live with, especially people who are at higher risk for getting very sick from COVID-19.