Omicron Infections Do Not Seem As Severe Leading Less Often To Hospitalization Uk Researchers Report
Three separate teams of scientists on two continents have found that Omicron infections more often result in mild illness than earlier variants of the coronavirus, offering hope that the current surge may not be quite as catastrophic as feared despite skyrocketing caseloads.
The researchers examined Omicrons course through populations in South Africa, Scotland and England. The results in each setting, while still preliminary, all suggested that the variant was less likely to send people in hospitals.
Given that this is everywhere and given that its going to be so transmissible, anything that would lower severity is going to be better, said Natalie Dean, a biostatistician at Emory University in Atlanta.
Since the discovery of the Omicron variant in southern Africa in November, scientists have struggled to learn whether it causes more severe illness compared with other variants and if so, in whom.
The new research suggests that the variant may have biological features that make it somewhat less dangerous than Delta, the variant that dominated the world from summer till now.
But Omicrons lowered risk of hospitalization in all three countries also appears to be due in large part to immunity in those populations. Many of the infected already had protection against severe disease, either because of previous infections or vaccinations.
Who Can Come To Canada
- Canadian citizens , people registered under the Indian Act, permanent residents of Canada, or protected persons are allowed to enter Canada.
- Fully vaccinated foreign nationals may be allowed to enter Canada for discretionary travel.
Foreign nationals who don’t qualify as fully vaccinated will only be allowed to enter in specific circumstances:
Preparation Prior To Transport
For outbreak specimens follow the .
Place specimen in biohazard bag and seal. Specimens should be stored at 2-8°C following collection and shipped to PHO Laboratory on ice packs. If transport of specimen to testing laboratory will be delayed more than 72 hours, specimens should be frozen at -70°C or below and shipped on dry ice.
Package and ship primary clinical specimens to the local PHO Laboratory or directly to a PHO Laboratory conducting COVID-19 testing in accordance with the Transportation of Dangerous Goods Regulations. You may use these shipping labels for packages that are not marked with Transportation of Dangerous Goods signs.
Current PHO Laboratory testing locations include Toronto, Hamilton, Kingston, London, Ottawa Timmins and Thunder Bay. Refer to at PHO Laboratory COVID-19 testing locations.
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The Flu Makes An Unwelcome Comeback As Omicron Surges
The flu virus, which all but disappeared in early 2020, is once again circulating in the United States. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported about 2,500 cases from clinical tests nationwide for the week that ended Dec. 11. That number is typical for this time of year, but it also represents a level of cases that has not been seen since before the coronavirus pandemic.
It is a bad time for the flu to re-emerge, as the Omicron variant causes a surge in coronavirus cases and with travel expected to increase over the holidays.
We have seen how surges in Covid-19 infections can overwhelm hospitals, and influenza infections could further stress health care systems, said Sonja Olsen, an epidemiologist at the C.D.C. If both viruses continue to circulate and increase in activity, the situation could get worse.
The agency considers several factors when assessing influenza activity, including the number of overall patients who report respiratory illnesses, the number of long-term care facilities with at least one case of the flu, the share of flu tests that come back positive and the number of flu patients admitted to hospitals. In recent weeks, all of these indicators have gone up.
A Surge In Cases Causes Texas A& m To Withdraw From The Gator Bowl
The coronavirus pandemics resurgence menaced the college football seasons closing weeks on Wednesday, when one team withdrew from its bowl game and the four national title contenders were warned that they could forfeit if they were not able to compete on time.
Minutes after Texas A& M announced its withdrawal from next weeks Gator Bowl in Jacksonville, Fla., the College Football Playoff said it would not reschedule its Dec. 31 semifinal matchups featuring No. 1 Alabama against No. 4 Cincinnati and No. 2 Michigan playing No. 3 Georgia, even as it detailed a protocol that could upend the tournament before kickoff.
As we prepare for the playoff, its wise and necessary to put into place additional precautions to protect those who will play and coach the games, Bill Hancock, the playoffs executive director, said in a statement. These policies will better protect our students and staffs while providing clarity in the event worst-case scenarios result.
Under the policies that playoff officials outlined on Wednesday, a team that is unavailable to play in a semifinal game on Dec. 31 will forfeit, allowing its intended opponent to advance automatically to the national title game, which is scheduled for Jan. 10 in Indianapolis.
If both teams in one of the semifinal matchups prove unable to compete, the winner of the other semifinal game will be declared the national champion.
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What Is Antibody Testing For A Past Covid
Antibodies are proteins that help fight off infections. An antibody blood test looks for antibodies in a persons blood. Kaiser Permanente is participating in research to help us learn more about COVID-19 antibodies.
Were not recommending antibody testing outside of research studies at this time. Antibody testing has limited clinical value and should not be used to diagnose active infection, determine immunity to COVID-19, make decisions about returning to work, or assess the need for vaccination in an unvaccinated person.
People who test positive for antibodies or have recovered from the virus should still take steps to protect themselves and others, like getting vaccinated, physical distancing, hand-washing, and wearing a mask in public.
Yes, but please keep in mind that, we arent recommending antibody testing outside of research studies at this time because it has limited clinical value. However, Kaiser Permanente will provide antibody testing upon request for members who:
- Have no current COVID-19 symptoms and
- Had symptoms but dont anymore. It needs to have been more than 14 days since the onset of COVID-19 symptoms or a positive PCR test and
- Have not had an antibody test in the last 30 days .
- Are a pediatric patient being evaluated for Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children.
If you have symptoms now, you shouldn’t get the antibody test. You should .
As New Yorks Omicron Cases Skyrocket Before The Holiday The City Adds Testing Sites
On the Wednesday before Christmas, Gov. Kathy Hochul announced a record-breaking 28,924 new coronavirus cases an increase of nearly 30 percent over yesterdays total. But the governor stopped short of advising New Yorkers to cancel holiday plans.
Were not saying dont travel. Last years isolation was painful, Ms. Hochul said, adding that there was no reason for families to forgo gathering. Just be smart, she warned, encouraging vaccines, boosters, masks and caution.
When you are thinking about who is at your dinner table, think about the most vulnerable person, she said, urging people to spread joy, not Covid, this holiday season.
Of the nearly 29,000 new cases statewide, 17,221 were from New York City, where outbreaks have begun to take a toll on hospitals and clinics. The citys public hospital system announced today that after an outbreak at one of its facilities, it would limit visitors and require proof of vaccination or a negative Covid test result for those coming in.
And to the dismay of many New Yorkers hoping to get tested before the holidays, the privately-owned urgent care company CityMD announced it would be temporarily closing 13 of its clinics in New York City, citing staffing shortages.
Data released by the state today showed that the Omicron variant is on the rise across New York, accounting for 56 percent of cases reported in the past two weeks.
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Go To Your Doctor And Ask How You Can Get An Antibody Test
This test can be ordered through your doctor, either in-person or via telehealth through a telemedicine program if offered by your health plan or employer, or through some employee wellness plans.
Once the test order is placed, your antibody blood sample can be collected in the physician’s office or at one of nearly 2,000 convenient Labcorp patient service centers, including Labcorp at Walgreens.
Labcorp Supports COVID-19 Blood Plasma Donation
We are proud to be part of The Fight Is In Us coalition to increase donations of blood plasma with COVID-19 antibodies. Blood plasma is being evaluated as a possible treatment for patients with an active COVID-19 infection. Public health authorities have asked for help with expanding the population of potential plasma donors.
Labcorp Offers Two Convenient Ways to Get Tested
When Patient Pays Out
|Total Patient Cash Price/Cost: $75.00**Pricing is comprised of $69.00 for testing and conveyance of results, plus $6.00 for independent physician oversight of lab testing including ordering testing if appropriate, and providing physician follow-up services||$75.00|
a The CPT codes provided are based on AMA guidelines and are for informational purposes only. CPT coding is the sole responsibility of the billing party. Please direct any questions regarding coding to the payer being billed.
b This test is also offered as part of two additional testing panels: a) SARS-CoV-2 RNA and Respiratory Viral Panel, Qualitative NAAT b) SARS-CoV-2 RNA and Respiratory Pathogen Panel, Qualitative NAAT.
c The amount the Payer pays may vary based on coverage and contracted rates.
COVID-19 testing statements
About the FDA Emergency Use Authorization Status
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Complete Your Test Kit
Your kit contains all of the instructions.
Do not open your swab or tube until you are instructed to do so. This can cause contamination, or result in a delay in receiving your test result.
Your test kit service provider is based on where you entered the country. For additional instructions, or contact information for your service provider, select the province you entered Canada or select if you are driving between Alaska and the continental United States:
If youre driving between Alaska and the continental United States and you come through a border crossing without a testing station, you must:
- complete the arrival test within 24 hours of your arrival in Canada
- drop it off at an approved drop box location along your travel route
Follow the instructions provided to find a drop-off location along your route.
LifeLabs manages COVID-19 testing for arriving travellers.
If you haven’t already done so, you must create an account to perform your home test and access your results. You must use the same email address you used for ArriveCAN.
If you usually use Internet Explorer as your web browser, use a different browser, or contact LifeLabs.
You must have internet access to:
All travellers will receive calls from a live agent or automated system and you may also be visited at your place of quarantine by a screening officer to verify your compliance.
The New Cost Of Tests
The government has suggested a fee of 43.89 for PCR tests carried out by medical laboratories. The prices may vary depending on the lab.
For a rapid antigen test , the government has set the suggested price for pharmacies at 25.01 from Monday to Saturday, and 30.01 on Sundays.
It recommends a price of 22.02 at medical laboratories, and 45.11 at doctors cabinets.
The table below shows a price guide for the cost of rapid antigen tests in France.
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What Does A Negative Covid
- A negative COVID-19 test means you probably were not infected at the time your test was collected.
- It does not mean that you will not be exposed to, test positive for, or become sick with COVID-19 in the future.
- Continue to take steps to protect yourself and others from getting infected with COVID-19
- If you continue to have symptoms, or if your symptoms get worse, call your health care provider or an assessment centre about getting tested again.
Overview Of The Free Covid
- Free COVID-19 tests are widely available in the United States
- They are available in almost every state
- Residency or citizenship is not required
- Insurance is not required
- You dont need to be Canadian either, its really for everyone
- Ive done it myself 3 times
But there are important things to know about free COVID-19 tests in the USA:
- Canada accepts PCRs but also NAATs, which provide results much quicker
- Results from the free PCRs take longer to receive
- You must book online in advance
- Choose an appointment close to the 72-hr limit and book as early as possible
- Appointments often open just days before
- This works since April but double check here before your trip
And I have a step-by-step below, but here are the essentials to know about the process:
- Simply use any US address if they ask for one
- Use your Canadian drivers license if they ask for ID
- Our favorite option is Walgreens for free NAATs with same-day results
As I said, I have been to the United States 3 times in the last few months myself and I got tested completely free for my return to Canada all 3 times . Including on November 7.
It was very easy.
Dozens and dozens of Canadians who follow our tips have done it too and saved hundreds of dollars. Check out the last section for many testimonials I took from the comments if you want to see many travelers who thank us for saving them hundreds of dollars after using this tip.
So please stop paying $200 for tests in the US in order to return to Canada!
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England Lowers Covid Isolation Requirement
Health officials reduced the number of days people must isolate after showing Covid-19 symptoms to seven from 10, if they test negative on the sixth and seventh days. The move comes as a surge in the Omicron variant drives up cases.
Today, we will be cutting the self-isolation period from 10 days to seven days for those people that take a lateral flow test on Day 6 and Day 7, and the result of both those tests are negative. This decision has been informed by the advice from our clinicians at the U.K. Health Security Agency whove looked at this very carefully, and they are very comfortable that the protection thats provided by making this change so that people can leave isolation after Day 7, as long as theyve taken these two lateral flow tests and the results are negative, that the protection it provides is very similar to 10 days of isolation without tests.
LONDON Britain surpassed 100,000 new coronavirus cases on Wednesday for the first time since the start of the pandemic, as Englands government announced an easing of isolation restrictions.
The new toll of 106,122 new infections the highest ever comes as the highly transmissible Omicron variant continues to surge across the country.The uptick is a 50 percent increase over the past week, according to government data.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has resisted adding new restrictions before Christmas, although he has said that he would not hesitate to act after the holiday if needed.
By Step Process For Free Covid
Before I share reader testimonials, Ill show you how it works step-by-step with my most recent example on November 7.
You go to the Walgreens website.
Right away you can enter a destination to see if they have any tests and if they have NAATs specifically.
Before agreeing to go to Louisiana, I checked if they had NAATs
NAATs are the red option and PCRs are the purple option. Rapid antigen tests that are not accepted for entry into Canada are the blue option.
Then there is your personal information to fill out.
I put in the address of my Marriott hotel .
Then, there is a form with questions about COVID-19.
Since there is a question that asks if you have been outside of the US in the 14 days prior, anyone who is in the US for a short trip can answer yes and get a free test.
If you are there for a longer stay, that second option seems very subjective
You can then choose a time slot. Like I said, depending on the location, the time slots become available either 5, 4, or 3 days prior only.
And they get snapped up quickly, so be on top of things and check ahead of time when that particular location opens its time slots and set a reminder or an alert so you can quickly make your appointment near your 72-hour limit.
Thats it. Youll receive an appointment confirmation by email .
I guess I dont need to tell you this, but make sure you write your email correctly if you want to receive your test results.
On the day of your appointment, you head to the drive-thru.
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California Health Care Workers Required To Get Booster By February
Gov. Gavin Newsom of California outlined the states plan to limit the spread of the Omicron variant, including requiring health care workers to receive booster shots by Feb. 1.
Nothing more important when were experiencing a surge in growth of case rates than protecting our front line heroes and employees. We recognize now that just being vaccinated, fully vaccinated, is not enough with this new variant, and we believe its important to extend this requirement to getting that third dose, to getting boosted. And so, we are formalizing that, Feb. 1 is the deadline. We have 1,700 contracted staff in the state of California already to prepare for this increase. We have 500 more individuals that we have secured that are not yet into the state of California, and theyre supporting 120 providers in the state. We are ordering six million tests, no charge. And were going to be sending those out to our partners all up and down the state to allow for priority access for at least one to two tests before our kids come back into school. Ninety percent of California residents have access to a testing site that is within 30 minutes of their home. And we are working with them to extend the hours of operation, to expand them, particularly where there is high demand.
The state will also require workers in high-risk congregate settings like nursing homes and prisons to get booster shots.
Earlier this month, state officials reinstated an indoor mask mandate.