San Diego County follows CDC guidance, asymptomatic COVID patients to isolate 5 days
Speaker 1: (00:00)
The CDC released new COVID 19 guidelines on Monday that have shortened the time people need to quarantine these new recommendations come after hundreds of flights were canceled yesterday, due to what the airline industry and other businesses have said is the lengthy 10 day quarantine period here to help us understand what these new guidelines are is KBB health reporter at Hoffman. Hey Matt. Hey Christina. Okay, Matt. So break this down for us. What exactly is the CDC recommending and how have quarantine guidelines changed?
Speaker 2: (00:29)
Okay, so diving into it, you know, before, if you tested positive for COVID, you know, they're asking you to stay at home for 10 days to make sure that you don't give that virus to anybody else. Now, if you have COVID, if you test positive and not showing any symptoms, uh, they're cutting that down from 10 days to five days, that's five days of isolation. Then after those five days, they want, you know, strict mask wearing. Um, there's some other updated guidelines as well, too. So if you're exposed to the virus and you're UN vaccinated, uh, they're asking that you do five days of isolation and then five days of strict mask wearing. Um, and then if you're, this is where little bit tricky if you're exposed and vaccinated, but it's been six months. And since your original vaccination, you don't have your booster. Uh, they want you to isolate for five days. And I guess some, maybe the silver lining here for those who are boosted, um, if you're boosted and vaccinated and you get exposed, uh, no isolation they're saying, but they want you to mask up for 10 days.
Speaker 1: (01:20)
Why did the CDC say they up updated these guidelines? Why now they've
Speaker 2: (01:24)
Basically been saying what they've been saying, the whole pandemic that they're following the science. And as they learn more about this virus, how it behaves, how it's spread, uh, they're updating the guidelines for the American people. Um, and basically they're saying that they're finding out the transmission of COVID really occurs in the early course of illness. They're saying one to two days prior to the onset of symptoms. So, you know, one to two days before, you know, you have COVID, you're symptomatic, you can spread it. And then two to three days after you start getting those symptoms. So they're saying, look, we don't need to put people, you know, in isolation for 10 days anymore. They think that five days is enough, especially if people are not symptomatic, uh, to have them not spread that virus to anybody else.
Speaker 1: (01:58)
Some have said that this is also in response to the impacts of that longer corn team is having on industry. As I mentioned at the top, can you talk to us a little bit about the impacts the quarantine requirements are having on industries here locally?
Speaker 2: (02:12)
Yeah, it's, it's not even just happening locally. You know, we we've seen this happening nationally within sports league, lots of games having to be, you know, rescheduled in the NFL and the national hockey league as well, too. Um, some of that local stuff is hitting us here as too, you know, we have a lot of teams, uh, that go through their sports protocols. We've seen San Diego statements, basketball games canceled. Uh, we've seen, uh, some of the San Diego goals, the minor league hockey team here, some of their games that are, that have been put on pause. Uh, we just actually heard today from the university of San Diego, uh, that their game against Gonzaga is gonna be postponed because of, uh, positive COVID 19 at the university of San Diego. Uh, they're putting their men's and women's basketball programs on hold. Uh, we know that we have the holiday bowl, which is a huge economic driver here in San Diego.
Speaker 2: (02:52)
That's coming up, uh, that's still on schedule, no word of that being canceled. Um, but it's, it's definitely having a huge impact. And when you talk about other local industries too, uh, you know, holiday travel, uh, we're seeing the airport, you know, get a lot busier, not quite as busy as it was pre pandemic. Uh, but there were a lot of flights canceled by a couple major carriers, uh, around Christmas time because of, you know, COVID cases. And they have to put a lot of these employees, you know, on a 10 day isolation period, and that can have a huge impact, um, on industries like the local airline industry, you know, resulting in thousands of flights, uh, that have been delayed or canceled.
Speaker 1: (03:25)
The updated guidance is particularly important because people have been having a hard time even accessing these rapid COVID tests and they have to wait longer times for the results from the PCR test. What have you been hearing about the demand for testing? There's
Speaker 2: (03:39)
Definitely been a, a large demand for testing around the holidays. Like, I, I, I, I know for myself personally, I took a rapid test before I went, um, and had Christmas dinner. Um, and a lot of people were doing that as well too. Now, uh, some of the line long lines we've been seeing at the county sites, you know, people hoping to go there, uh, to get the results that day, those are PCR tests and those, you know, they typically say they can come back within a couple days, maybe three days. It's very key that, um, you know, whoever's doing the testing, whether it be the county, the healthcare providers, uh, that they get those tests back quickly. You know, one, because people don't know they might have the virus, they might be spreading it, you know, they ask you to isolate yourself while you wait for your results, especially if you're asymptomatic.
Speaker 2: (04:14)
Uh, but people may not be doing that. Cause after a few days, you know, uh, if you don't get your test result, it's, you know, not necessarily you useless, but it's old news. Um, so they're really trying to make sure that there's access. You know, we heard from president Biden saying, looking at those lines that there's a lot more work that needs to be done. Uh, he says that there's some good news coming on the horizon, the president that they're, uh, buying 500 million rapid tests for anyone who wants them. You know, I guess you can just tell the government, Hey, I want some rapid tests and they're gonna give them to you. And he also says starting in two weeks that private insurers will also starting to be reimbursing costs for rapid tests. So that might drive more people to easily access those rapid tests with which they can do in a pharmacy. And you can even order them like online through your phone on DoorDash
Speaker 1: (04:53)
Testing demand is in line with the current COVID 19 case rates here. And as well as hospitalizations, can you give us an update about what we current currently seeing in San Diego county? Yes. I will put
Speaker 2: (05:03)
It in a little bit of perspective for us. You know, so San Diego county, a year ago, this time we were seeing more than 4,000 cases a day on average. Um, and around this time, right now, we're seeing anywhere between, you know, 1600 cases to more than, you know, 2200 cases in the days around Christmas and right after Christmas. So, um, you know, we're about half the cases we were a year ago, hospitalization wise, uh, we're doing a lot better, you know, a year ago around this time we had 1800 people who were hospitalized with COVID, um, in San Diego county. Uh, we, you know, people may have seen headlines that were now around 400, that's a dramatic drop. And basically health officials say that they attribute that a lot to vaccinations, you know, not just your first and your seconds series, but the booster doses. Um, and they say, you know, those 400 people that are hospitalized many and many of them are UN vaccinated. And a lot of this is sort of preventable.
Speaker 1: (05:50)
Thank you for that context. Always important when we're hearing all these numbers, but I do wanted to just understand the cases in hospitalizations, they are increasing as compared to numbers prior to Amron, is that right? Is Omnichron kind of driving a little bit of this
Speaker 2: (06:02)
Surge. We haven't seen cases increasing, especially since the Thanksgiving holiday. Now it's interesting when you ask about is Amron driving these cases, we know that to find out like if you or eye tested positive for the virus today, we may never find out, you know, if we have the Delta variant and if we have the Amma Aron variant, um, you know, officials only sequence which can take up to four weeks to find out which type of COVID you have. They only sequence a very small number of those cases. Um, and as the latest update as of yesterday, um, only 54 cases of Aron have actually been identified in San Diego county. Now there's a little star next to that data that says, Hey, this, you know, not necessarily representative of what's happening because we're only sequencing so many cases, uh, but it is suspected that Aron is driving the surge cases. Uh, and then the resulting, you know, impact in hospitalizations too. I've been
Speaker 1: (06:45)
Speaking with KBB S health reporter, Matt Hoffman. Thank you so much for joining us.
Speaker 2: (06:49)
Speaker 3: (06:57)
Despite a dramatic surge in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations over the weekend, the San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency Tuesday followed the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance recommending people testing positive for the virus isolate for just five days, rather than the previous 10.
This guidance, which also aligns with the California Department of Public Health, applies to those who are asymptomatic. In addition to the decreased isolation period, the new recommendation says COVID-19 patients with no symptoms must wear a mask for another five days when around other people.
"The county is following the CDC guidance because science shows the majority of SARS-CoV-2 transmission occurs early in the course of illness, typically 1-2 days prior to developing symptoms and the 2-3 days after," said Dr. Wilma J. Wooten, county public health officer. "People with no symptoms can leave isolation after that, provided they wear an appropriate mask to decrease the risk to others."
The updated recommendations follow President Joe Biden declaring on Monday, "there is no federal solution. This gets solved at a state level."
He pledged federal support to states as they grapple with the surging Omicron variant.
Additionally, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and the chief medical adviser to the president, on Monday implied the 10 day isolation period was guided by economic concerns.
"Because there are a lot of people in society that are essential for the smooth running of the infrastructure of our society," Fauci told CNN. "So the idea about cutting down the period of quarantine for people who have been exposed, and perhaps the period of isolation for people who have been infected, is something that is under, I would say, serious consideration."
San Diego County's number of coronavirus cases surged over the weekend, officials said, while the number of county residents hospitalized with COVID-19 surpassed 400.
Local health officials reported 2,367 cases Tuesday, following 1,678 new cases on Saturday, 1,252 Sunday and 2,681 Monday. The county also reported three additional fatalities linked to COVID-19 over the weekend, bringing its cumulative totals to 416,424 infections and 4,445 deaths since the pandemic began.
The county has reported a considerable increase in COVID-19 cases in recent days, with daily case counts reaching more than 2,300 cases four out of the past six days.
"The new guidance also works to slow the spread of the Omicron variant, which has led to a significant increase in cases nationally and in San Diego County," Wooten said.
The county's COVID hospitalizations increased from 384 Sunday to 411, while the number of those patients in intensive care increased from 92 to 96, according to the latest state figures.
A total of 7,227 tests were reported in San Diego County over the weekend, and the seven-day average positivity rate was 11.3%, up from 7.4% as of Thursday.