Know someone who recently tested positive for COVID-19? Have you heard stories of one person in a household testing positive and everyone getting it? Or no one else in the household has tested positive. Have you heard of experiences of mild symptoms, or symptoms that start to be mild and then the person is hospitalized? Individual experiences vary. COVID-19 is still with us.
According to the CDC, the Omicron variant spreads more easily than earlier variants of the virus that cause COVID-19, including the Delta variant. The CDC expects that anyone infected with Omicron, regardless of their vaccination status or whether or not they have symptoms, could transmit the virus to others. Data suggests that Omicron can re-infect individuals, even if they have recently recovered from COVID-19.
Infection with Omicron usually causes less severe disease than infection with earlier variants. The data suggests that Omicron may cause milder disease, although some people may still have severe disease, require hospitalization, and die from infection with this variant.
Based on the last posting of August 8, 2022, all of New Mexico is identified as high transmission.
Who is at high risk for severe COVID-19?
CDC website, information for adults. Information regarding COVID-19 and children is available on the CDC’s website.
The most common reasons for being considered at higher risk for more severe COVID-19 symptoms are:
• 65 years or older
• Cerebrovascular disease
• Chronic kidney disease
• Chronic lung diseases
• Chronic liver diseases
• Cystic fibrosis
• Diabetes mellitus, type 1 and 2
• Heart conditions (such as heart failure, coronary heart disease or cardiomyopathy)
• HIV (human immunodeficiency virus)
• Immunocompromised condition or weakened immune system
• Mental disorders
• Neurological conditions limited to dementia
• Obesity (BMI ≥ 30 kg/m2)
• Primary immunodeficiencies
• Pregnancy and recent pregnancy
• Physical inactivity
• Smoking, current and former
• Transplantation of solid organ or hematopoietic cells
• Use of corticosteroids or other immunosuppressive drugs
If you have a positive COVID-19 test, discuss the results and your condition with your healthcare provider.
COVID-19 treatments and medications
If you test positive and you are more likely to become seriously ill from COVID-19, treatments are available that can reduce your risk of being hospitalized or dying from the disease. Medications to treat COVID-19 must be prescribed by a healthcare provider and started as soon as possible after diagnosis to be effective. Contact a health care provider immediately to determine if you are eligible for treatment, even if your symptoms are mild at this time. Treatment must be started within days of the first symptoms appearing to be effective.
National Institutes of Health COVID-19 Treatment Guidelines.
Therapeutic management of non-hospitalized adults with COVID-19.
For patients who are at high risk of progressing to a severe form of COVID-19b
Favorite therapies. Listed in order of preference:
• nirmatrelvir boosted with ritonavir (Paxlovid)
Other options can be discussed with your health care provider.
The NM Department of Health (NMDOH) website has a treatment section. Links include:
• Find a COVID treatment provider or pharmacy in New Mexico. (The list is provided by postal code.)
• Information on oral treatment
• Treatments with monoclonal antibodies
Or call for questions related to COVID-19: 1-855-600-3453
Vendor groups that were contacted reiterated NMDOH and CDC guidance. A positive home test is sufficient to start the assessment.
Current Lovelace patients should contact their provider to discuss treatment. New patients can register for a telehealth visit.
Optum responded that testing needs after a positive home test are determined on a case-by-case basis, as is the need for an appointment. Contact your primary care provider.
Presbyterian has recommended that people who test positive and have symptoms contact their primary care provider by phone or MyChart. Evaluation and treatment may depend on the needs of the patient.
Along the same lines, UNM Health said patients can contact their primary care provider in order to seek treatment.
If you have a positive test
Contact your health care provider. Isolate yourself, hide around others. Get rest, stay hydrated, and consider treating symptoms with over-the-counter methods such as cold and pain relievers.
• Stay home for 5 days. If you have a fever, stay home until your fever has been gone for 24 hours.
• If you have no symptoms after 5 days, wear a mask when you leave your home for another 5 days.
• Tell those with whom you have recently been in close contact that you have tested positive.
Be your own best healthcare advocate. To ask questions. Call back until you get a response. If you were doing this for your family or friends, you wouldn’t give up until you had an answer. Do the same for yourself.
Sources: Who is at high risk for severe COVID-19? https://combatcovid.hhs.gov/i-have-covid-19/how-do-i-know-if-im-high-risk Possible treatment options for COVID-19? https://combatcovid.hhs.gov/possible-treatment-options-covid-19 COVID-19 treatments and medications. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/your-health/treatments-for-severe-illness.html NM Department of Health, COVID-19 in New Mexico. https://cv.nmhealth.org/