Omicron and rapid tests

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KevinM

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I wanted to alert everyone not to rely solely on the rapid antigen tests for the new variant. My 28-year old daughter, who has been fully vaccinated, including the booster, and who works at the Department of Health, had a rapid test along with her boyfriend (also fully vaccinated) a few hours before coming for dinner Christmas Eve Just to make us feel comfortable. Neither had any symptoms, and both were negative.

Christmas morning she called to say she had a slightly scratchy throat, and since we still had a rapid test at our place, she came over and tested again. Still negative, so we opened presents and ate lunch together. On Monday at work, still with very mild cold-like symptoms, she got a third negative rapid test, and also got a PCR test as well. She called us yesterday to say that the PCR test was positive.

Three negative tests four days apart, with symptoms, and yet she had Covid. With so many of us using the rapid tests as a way to feel okay about small gatherings with people you know, this should be a cautionary example that omicron is different. Neither my wife or I have developed any symptoms, but we will be getting a PCR test today or tomorrow. We are hopeful that the negative tests indicated she had a low viral load at that time and maybe wasn’t very contagious. Still, don’t let your guard down even with a couple of negative rapid tests.
 

Nikki J

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Hope you escape and your daughter recovers quickly. Two of my relatives (vaxxed and boosted) are recovering from almost certain omicron They said right now the biggest issue is profound fatigue Their rapid tests were positive once symptoms began but I agree with you- we need to be exceedingly cautious and pretty much assume anyone who is out in the world is infected
 

Bestfriends14

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We possibly have covid from our caregiver who decided to spend the 22nd with several unmasked people inside. One of those individuals tested positive for covid. He has since been tested and is awaiting the results.

Since the 24th, both my husband and I have a light cough, whereas for me, I have a sore throat, an unrelenting headache, and the sniffles. I took a rapid test which was negative. What was breaking news yesterday? That rapid tests do not detect omicron. Now, both of us are getting a PCR test tomorrow afternoon for better clarity. If we do have covid, I hope this is the worst of the symptoms. Things are extra scary when your PALS has a very, very low FVC. 🙄
 
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Nikki J

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Oh no! Hope that you recover quickly. I have seen suggestions that with a vulnerable person you should mask even if you both have it to avoid increasing his viral load.
 

KevinM

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This is what we all need...even more stress.
 

Clearwater AL

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Everything is absolutely crazy now. We have a close relative who is in
Chappell Hill Medical Center North Carolina from a car accident.
He’s been in and out of ICU.

His grandchildren (2), daughter in law and her husband have been
able to go in the hospital to be with him.

NONE OF THEM HAVE BEEN VACCINATED!

They all are anti vaxers, anti mask (but they have to there), FoxNews
watchers red necks… but Chappell Hill lets them in the hospital and in
the room with him. My best comment… “What the hell…”

Chappell Hill isn’t some Podunk country medical facility, it’s
affiliated with Duke within just a few miles.

Yet here, my wife just had another epidural surgical procedure shot
for her back, takes about three hours… I had to wait in the car!

One medical system versus another, I guess which one are you with.
 

lgelb

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Joanna, I hope you and Wayne are OK!
All good thoughts for your relative, Al.

I had to go to a can't skip/can't do video appointment to a hospital clinic yesterday -- I had a form-fitting mask setup -- they made me take it off in the lobby to place another layer underneath, which only made my own masks gap.

My doc wore an N95 with one strap off. Her assistant wore a lesser mask with gaps. No vaxes or health history are required to enter, though there have been outbreaks there. It's about keeping staff and patients moving through. The system regularly earns national awards for quality.

My parents, who have not been going out this winter other than medical appointments, both have Covid.

I would strongly advise everyone to stay away from in-person elective health care right now. Telehealth is widely available even for many needs that used to be in-person only. If your provider unnecessarily insists on in-person visits, they are not respectful of your health and there are other fish in the sea.

Stay safe out there!
--Laurie
 

Nikki J

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The taking off our superior masks and being given a 3 ply surgical mask irks me no end. this is mgh’s policy. You are supposed to do an exposure questionnaire before arriving. If you don’t they call and or question you on arrival. The staff wear the surgical masks too unless doing a procedure like svc

Laurie I hope your parents do ok.

I agree when possible to do a video visit or reschedule right now. Ever since covid the mgh clinic offers televisits or inperson- when you ask to book that is the first question. They had a televisit option before but it wasn’t routinely offered
 

lisa g

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These are scary times. While I was up in Ohio getting my Radicava infusions I was told 2 days a week I had to come in earlier for my infusions so the center would be clear to bring in covid patients to receive monoclonal antibody infusions. The nurses were upset that they were being put at risk from people that wouldn't vaccinate and became sick. Even though I wasn't around these patients it made me uncomfortable. I would leave the center go home and take a shower and wash my clothes. Might have been overkill but I wasn't taking any chances. My SIL and BIL were also antivaxers. We warned them that they were playing Russian roulette with their health and they kept on telling us we were falling for government propaganda. Well you guessed it they both caught covid and were hospitalized. My BIL has underlying conditions recovered my SIL who had none passed away. We were forced to say goodbye as a nurse held a phone up to her ear. I was so angry, it was avoidable. Please do everything you can to protect yourselves.
 

KevinM

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Lisa, I had known about your SIL from our previous conversation, and I wanted to reiterate how sorry I am. Our two neighbors that died also played roulette, didn’t believe the experts, and paid with their lives. A lot of people I know or read on the internet have said they have little empathy for these victims, but I’m not one of those. I’m more saddened and frustrated than anything, especially since it puts such enormous strain on our health care workers.

I guess my frustration is not that they made a bad decision, which we all do, but that their decision was based on the continued geyser of misinformation.

My daughter, who is so sensitive and caring, is consumed with guilt right now for infecting her boyfriend and exposing us as well as his family. My wife and I are doing everything we can to convince her that it was not her fault in any way, shape or form. Triple vaccinated, masking around us, a rapid test before our dinner, another negative test Xmas morning, etc. She has done so much good through her work at the Health Department by encouraging and administering vaccines. I hate this for her.

My wife and I, as well as her boyfriends parents, are still symptom free five days after our last exposure with her, and we all took our PCR tests yesterday. I‘m really hoping they come back negative to ease her guilt.
 

JimInVA

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I have been surrounded by those with symptoms of Covid, who are using antigen tests to give them the comfort of being "okay". And I've been surrounded by those who have done drive-thru PCR testing who have tested POSITIVE for Covid... one of them being my next-door neighbors, who brought their anti-vaccine Dad over with them so I could look at his failing computer. When I tried to contact them a couple of days later, my neighbors (fully vaccinated) were all down with and had PCR tested positive for Covid. It is spreading around unlike anything I've seen previously.

Research is showing that the Covid cycle is like a bell curve. It starts low and increases in symptom and infection until it peaks and begins to lower again. Apparently, the antigen tests are only most accurate near the very top of the bell curve. Either side of the peak and false negatives are more likely even though you're most certainly infected and able to pass on the infection. And now, we're being told that the antigen test does not do well at all detecting the most significant Omicron mutation. And try to get a PCR test and I'm hearing that people are being scheduled as far out as 1 week for testing... and another 5 days for results. That makes testing virtually without merit.

I was concerned about my close contact... and I TOOK PERSONAL ACTION!

I'm trying to keep this short... but my son, who lives in Brooklyn, NY became familiar with a Home COVID PCR Test Device by a company called CUEHEALTH (a google search will find them). I placed an order for one of their kits that comes with 10 individual tests. It shipped and arrived overnight. I did my first test, this morning. It took all of 30 minutes to get results on my connected SmartPhone. I was pleased to find that I tested NEGATIVE for Covid 19.

We will all have differing opinions on what is right and proper regarding Covid. I am fully vaccinated and boosted (Pfizer). But I've seen breakthrough infections... and while no one is going to the hospital, they are being put fully out of action for a week. I work diligently to keep distance from folks, try to meet outside and wear a mask [most times] when in crowded public areas. But I also feel a responsibility to not infect someone else if I do become positive. And the likelihood of exposure is rapidly increasing. Early detection with first symptoms becomes imperative if one hopes to quickly isolate and not share this nasty infection.

We are living in changing times. As we look to 2022, I encourage you to do not what you feel is only right for you... but also what is deemed right for those you will come in contact with. Be diligent. Be safe. Test when uncertain. We've always known that our actions influence those of others... but we often only consider those influences to be good. Let's try not to be the one that passes an influence that can cause someone to become dreadfully ill or even can end lives. Be responsible. We really are all in this, together!

My best...

Jim
 

KevinM

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Jim, that’s such a great post, and we will definitely look into ordering the home PCR kit.

it is astounding how virulent Omicron is. We have had a drive through PCR test site a few blocks from our house, set up in the parking lot of a good sized strip mall. Literally, the week before Christmas the testers were twiddling their thumbs as a few cars a day would trickle in.

Beginning this past Monday 12/27, the line has been continuous from morning to night and blocks traffic on one lane for 1/2 mile. And that’s just to get into the parking lot. All the sites are like that here, and they are even worse in larger cities.

The good news about my daughter and her BF is that they experienced only mild cold-like symptoms this week and are on the mend. But as you indicated, even with a mild case from being triple vaxxed, with no fever, they have felt pretty miserable until today.
 

Bestfriends14

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*Update*

I have no idea how us or the others at the party got so lucky, but no one tested positive for COVID-19. Not us, not the caregiver, and not the other party attendees. My guess is that everyone at the party was vaxxed and boosted, so no virus spread, but that's only a guess. Anyway, thankfully there was no covid in our life. Phew!
 

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What a fantastic ending, wow!
 
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