CDC Director Encourages Schools to Stay Open With Covid-19 Precautions

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Dr. Rochelle Valensky says she will work to improve CDC’s message on pandemic guidelines

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“We are in an unprecedented time where Omicron cases are accelerating, and we are working really hard to get information out to the American public and balance that with the realities we are all living with, Dr Valensky said. “It’s hard, and I’m committed to learning more about science and continuing to improve how to communicate it.”

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The CDC last week updated its COVID-19 guidance for isolation and quarantine, cutting the time that people who have tested positive or positive for the virus must stay away from others. a person is quarantined when they come in contact with someone who has a COVID-19 infection but has not yet tested positive for themselves; People isolate when they are sick or have a confirmed infection.

The CDC now recommends that people come out of isolation after five days, as long as they no longer have a fever within 24 hours and their symptoms improve. The CDC said people should wear well-fitted masks around others for an additional five days. Otherwise, people should wait for symptoms to resolve or be in isolation for a full 10 days, the CDC says.

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“We know that the maximum contagiousness during the period you are sick is one or two days before your symptoms and two to three days after your symptoms,” Dr. Valensky said. “The guidance is very clear that you should not leave isolation if you are still symptomatic.”

The agency updated its guidance for isolation and quarantine in schools on Thursday, bringing it in line with less stringent recommendations for the general population. Many schools have struggled to stay open post-holiday after teachers and staff became ill or tested positive for COVID-19 infection.

Public-school classes in Chicago were canceled for a third day on Friday as officials and teachers unions remained at a standstill over COVID-19 protocols as new cases remained at record highs in the country’s third-largest city. City leaders have said that teachers who do not report on work will not receive salaries.

Dr. Valensky said that while she understands concerns among parents and teachers about the risks posed by the Omicron version, the CDC’s updated guidance and established safety measures will provide the tools for schools to stay open for the rest of the school year. We do.

“Vaccines, masks, increased ventilation and testing are all important layers of prevention that keep our children safe and keep them in school for individualized learning,” she said.

Covid-19 testing, especially rapid home testing, has been hard to find amid Omicron’s boom in recent weeks. The CDC has stuck to its guidance not recommending a negative antigen test to leave isolation despite pushback from some public-health experts, but it has provided a best practice for those who wish to do so.

“A negative antigen test does not necessarily mean that there is an absence of the virus,” said Henry Walk, director of the CDC Center for Preparedness and Response. “Therefore it is recommended to wear a well-fitting mask even after those five days of isolation, regardless of the test result.”

The Food and Drug Administration earlier this week authorized the use of a booster COVID-19 dose for adolescents ages 12 to 15 and approved a third dose for children aged 5 to 11 with some compromised immune systems. .

The CDC published a report Friday that found that in 24 US pediatric hospitals from July to December 2021, nearly 95% of teens aged 12 to 18 who were hospitalized with multisystem inflammatory syndrome after a COVID-19 infection was admitted, he was not vaccinated. The report noted that fully vaccinated patients with MIS-C did not require respiratory or cardiovascular life support, as opposed to 39% of non-vaccinated patients.

The rate of pediatric hospitalization for COVID-19 has reached the highest point during the pandemic across the country. But the hospitalization rate for children is still the lowest compared to all other age groups, Dr. Valensky said. An average of 766 children under the age of 18 were hospitalized with Covid-19 every day from December 29 to January 4, according to CDC data. She said some of the children are asymptomatic but tested positive after coming to the hospital for something else.

Write Brianna Abbott [email protected] . Feather

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