Wilmington health experts weigh in on what to do next if you’ve tested positive for COVID-19

With numbers rising and CDC changing guidelines, many people are wondering what to do if they get a positive test result.

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — With numbers rising and CDC changing guidelines, many people are wondering what to do if they get a positive test result.

First, no matter if you are having symptoms or not you need to isolate for at least five days, according to the latest guidance from the CDC.

If you are experiencing symptoms after five days, New Hanover County Health Director David Howard says to continue to isolate until you have been fever-free for at least 24 hours. If you are having no symptoms at the end of those five days, you can go back to work or school, but you must continue to wear a mask for another five days.

“The reason for that is, with the omicron variant, in particular, it tends to infect you quicker and your incubation period is going to be quicker than with previous variants,” Howard said. “That’s why there’s the five days then the five days of masking, but returning to normal activities.”

Omicron is much more contagious than any other variants of COVID-19. Wilmington Health Infectious Disease Physician Dr. Paul Kamitsuka compares it to the measles.

“It’s primarily droplets, but also airborne. So if I had measles, for example, and I left the room I’m in now, it would take two hours for the air to become no longer contagious,” Kamitsuka said.

Dr. Kamitsuka says omicron has adapted. It is particularly good at binding to our respiratory system, so we should adapt as well, meaning our ill-fitting cloth masks may not cut it when it comes to omicron.

“If you can get your hands on at least a medical-grade surgical mask or preferably an N95 mask or a KN95 mask, those are much much better,” Kamitsuka said.

If your symptoms escalate, if you have any issues breathing or lose your sense of taste and smell, both experts say to seek medical attention.

 

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