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Should you still be tested if you have COVID symptoms? Utah Gov. Cox says no

Should you still be tested if you have COVID symptoms?  Utah Gov.  Cox says no

Utahns who have COVID-19 symptoms should forget to be tested and just stay home, Governor Spencer Cox and other state leaders urged Friday in what has been described as a pivot in the state’s pandemic strategy to deal with a crushing wave of cases as the incredibly rapidly spreading ommicron variant rips through the state.

“We need to come together now more than ever,” Cox said at a news conference at the Utah Capitol in Salt Lake City, pledging that an end to the pandemic and a return to normal for Utahns could be just weeks away based on cases reported. begin to refuse elsewhere.

One of the participants scheduled to attend the press conference, Utah State President Stuart Adams, R-Layton, was not there. His spokeswoman said Adams “started having flu-like symptoms and tested positive for COVID. He is already feeling better and is ready to start the session on Tuesday.”

When the 2022 legislature begins to meet next week, Cox said lawmakers will consider what to do with the Test to Stay program in schools, which was designed to keep students in the classroom but so many omicron cases instead has identified that many schools briefly return to remote areas. learning.

Utah House Speaker Brad Wilson, R-Kaysville, said lawmakers plan to “find the right way forward” in schools, pointing out that “government, as we all know, cannot decide how pandemics behave.”

But the question of whether the legislature mask mandates set up by health departments in Summit and Salt Lake counties, was not treated. Reporters who did not attend the press conference in person were not allowed to ask questions.

Asked in general about masking against omicron, Cox said, “We all have to do these calculations. If you’re vaxxed, and you have a boost and you’re a healthy person, you make a decision based on that information.” He said that for those at risk — especially the unvaccinated — “an N95 mask can make a significant difference.”

State epidemiologist Dr. Leisha Nolen detailed the new advice on COVID-19 testing as omicron pushed Utah’s daily number of cases well above its previous record of nearly 5,000 infections in one day last winter in what was seen as the worst pandemic.

“There are so many cases circulating now, we know that if you have symptoms, you most likely have COVID. So the benefit of getting that test has really diminished. What’s more important is to keep away from other people so you don’t pass it on,” Nolen said.

Now, everyone with symptoms — often described as similar to a cold or the flu — must stay home and isolate for five days and “pretend as if you’re a confirmed COVID case,” she said. That means on day 6, those who feel better and don’t have a fever can return to public life as long as they wear a mask for another five days.

That could also be the time to get tested, she said.

The reason for the change is that the state’s testing capacity has stretched to breaking point, with queues for hours at many locations. Test kits for the home, those were handed out of people waiting in line for tests are now scarce, although Cox said more are on the way.

The Utah Department of Health had already announced that the testing required for some workplaces and events would no longer be conducted. Nolen said companies may consider returning to allowing employees to work remotely and events may need to be postponed.

Testing is still recommended for some Utahns, she said, including those with “significant underlying conditions,” who are older, work with or visit vulnerable populations in health care or long-term care settings, or plan to see someone who considered vulnerable to the virus.

Cox said there is “something very cruel” about a pandemic, because people have to stay apart to be safe.

“That has caused a huge strain on so many people, psychological strain, traumatic strain and of course physical strain on the families affected. People will be hospitalized. There will be people dying from omicron, even if it’s milder,” the governor said.

Most Utahns, he said, are tired of the… fight over mask and other pandemic problems, and offered hope.

“I am more optimistic than ever in this pandemic, that with omicron spreading so quickly, that will help us move forward. That’s going to give us the kind of immunity that we needed all this time to get through this, combined with vaccines,” Cox said.

He said Utahns will be able “in the next few weeks, if those numbers drop significantly, to get back to normal. And I hope that each of us will come together again to forgive, care for, and move forward.” Utah is an incredible place. We’re doing well and we’re going to do even better in the future.”

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Anna Wintour

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