COVID could be spreading as fast now as in previous surges, says testing company

COVID could be spreading as fast now as in previous surges, says testing company
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AUSTIN (KXAN) – We Can’t See lines around the block at test sites in downtown Austin right now, but the Curative co-founder says the positivity rate they’re seeing in patients is higher than it was during the first three outbreaks of COVID- 19 and approaches omicron levels from December.

Couple that with the lowest test numbers we’ve seen since July of last year, and Isaac Turner says his COVID-19 is likely spreading through our community right under our noses.

“We’ve been seeing strong positivity since mid-April, so we really think there’s a lot of people with COVID who just aren’t testing with a lab that reports to public health,” said Isaac Turner of Healing. . He also notes that home testing likely plays an important role and the number of cases is underrepresented.

“A lot of that is down to the confidence I think people have that COVID is over, but our positivity rate and virus data suggests there’s a lot more spread of COVID than people realize. really know,” Turner said.

On Thursday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention raised the risk level for COVID-19 in Travis and Hays counties to “medium.” The risk levels are low, medium and high and are determined based on three factors: the number of new cases in the last seven days, new hospital admissions in the last seven days and the percentage of hospital beds. staffed hospitals used by COVID-19. the patients.

“We’re seeing steady increases in total cases and hospitalizations, which is incredibly concerning,” said Dr. Desmar Walkes, Austin-Travis County Health Authority. “We need everyone to do their part, especially those who are most at risk. Wear a mask indoors when you gather with other people. We know this will help protect loved ones at risk of poor outcomes and our hospital system.

The CDC has the following recommendations for people based on the COVID-19 community level their county is in:

Low risk

  • Stay up to date with COVID vaccines
  • Get tested if you have symptoms

Medium risk

  • Same precautions as low risk and:
  • Talk to your health care provider about whether you should wear a mask and take other precautions if you are at high risk for serious illness

High risk

  • Same precautions as at medium risk and:
  • Wear a mask indoors in public
  • Extra precautions may be needed for people at high risk of severe illness

“We all have mask fatigue, but wearing a mask is what is needed to control COVID-19,” Austin Public Health Director Adrienne Sturrup said. “Testing and vaccination and booster are also essential. Get tested and stay home even if you only feel mildly ill. Get an update on your vaccinations at your doctor’s office or at one of our clinics.

Vaccines for children

Meanwhile, Austin Public Health is preparing to vaccinate our youngest pocket of the population, children five and under, who until now have not had the opportunity to be vaccinated. That’s why APH was training nurses this week.

“We prefer people to go to their pediatrician,” said APH’s Nelda Garcia. “Otherwise, APH provides that to people. What we do is we have nurses who are trained to give vaccines to children of all ages.

White House health officials have said vaccines for young children could be available by the end of this month. A review of Pfizer and Moderna by the Federal Drug and Food Administration is scheduled for next week, with the CDC expected to issue approval shortly thereafter.

“This age group doesn’t get as sick as other age groups, but the fact is that’s what they can do, they can carry it and spread it,” Garcia said, encouraging parents to have their children vaccinated when these vaccines become available.

“All of this is avoided with a simple vaccine and wearing your mask and washing your hands.”

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