Tested positive for COVID-19? Experts reveal exactly what you need to do next

Covid-19 cases continue to rise in Australia, with the highly contagious BA.2.12.1 subvariant of Omicron now the dominant strain of coronavirus nationwide.

Associate Professor Stuart Turville of the Kirby Institute at UNSW says Omicron sub-variants BA.2.12.1, BA.4 and BA.5 have been detected in Australia.

Watch the video to learn more about the new subvariants that are sweeping across the world

The new subvariants are likely to replace BA.1 and BA.2 in Australia.

More than two years into the pandemic, many are turning to the internet for information on what to do after testing positive for the virus.

Should people who test positive self-isolate, and if so, for how long? How important is it to see a doctor? What therapies are available and who is eligible?

CNN medical analyst Dr. Leana Wen, an emergency physician and professor of health policy and management at George Washington University’s Milken Institute School of Public Health, helped answer those questions.

She is also the author of Lifelines: A doctor’s journey in the fight for public health and mother of two young children.

It seems like a lot of people are being diagnosed with COVID-19 right now. I have friends who have been very cautious throughout the pandemic and have now tested positive. Why is that?

First and foremost, we are dealing with an extremely contagious sub-variant.

The original Omicron variant was already more contagious than Delta and previous variants.

Then we had BA.2, a subvariant of Omicron that was more contagious than Omicron, and now we have an offshoot of BA.2, called BA.2.12.1, which appears to be even more transmissible.

A more transmissible variant means that activities we previously thought were relatively safe are now at higher risk.

This does not mean that we should avoid all activities, but rather that people who were very careful before can become infected now due to the contagion of this subvariant.

Additionally, people previously infected with Omicron have some degree of protection against this new subvariant; those previously uninfected are now more susceptible.

Catching COVID-19 and isolating yourself at home can be a lonely, scary and distressing experience. File picture. Credit: amircudic/Getty Images

Fortunately, this variant does not appear to cause more severe disease in most people, and the vaccine and first booster still provide good protection against hospitalization and death for those infected.

Another reason for the rise in infections is that people are interacting more, including indoors and without masks.

Whenever such interactions occur, there is a risk of transmission.

Again, this is not to say that people should never associate with each other, but rather that they should be aware of the risk and take precautions, especially for immunocompromised people and others at higher risk. high in serious illness.

What therapies should people follow? Should everyone have one?

It is important that you call your medical provider and ask if you are eligible for therapy.

I would call it whether you have mild, severe, or no symptoms because you should know what your options are.

There are three main types of therapies, all of which are meant to be taken before a person becomes seriously ill, in order to avoid hospitalization. Generally, the earlier you start therapies, the more effective they are.

The three options are antiviral pills (Paxlovid and Lavrio are the two authorized antivirals), monoclonal antibodiesand remedy.

The pills are taken orally, while the other two require injections or infusions.

They are intended for people who are at higher risk of progression to serious disease.

Some of the therapies may not be readily available in your area. Others may interact with other medications or treatments you are taking.

I strongly recommend that people speak with their medical providers before they get sick so they have a plan.

Someone in their 20s and in good health is probably not eligible for these therapies, but someone in their 60s with certain chronic conditions will be.

Know in advance what you would get if you tested positive and how you would access therapies, including after hours and on weekends.

If you don’t already have this plan, call your provider immediately after you test positive and discuss the options.

Your local and state health departments will likely also have additional information and resources.

How do you address skeptics who might ask “what’s the point of getting vaccinated if vaccinated people can still be infected”?

Let’s talk about the primary purpose of vaccination.

The most important reason is to reduce the risk of serious illness and to prevent infected people from being hospitalized and dying.

This is why it is so important to be up to date with vaccines, to get the initial shots and then the booster shots, because vaccinated and vaccinated people are much less likely to become seriously ill and die than unvaccinated people. .

Vaccination also reduces the risk of infection, but this risk still exists.

For people who want to further reduce their risk of contracting COVID-19, other precautions remain important, including wearing an N95 mask or equivalent in indoor public places, and same-day testing before gatherings, in especially if levels of COVID-19 in the community are high. .

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