The Madison County coronavirus test positivity rate is skyrocketing and as of Wednesday had reached 36.7%. Amid the surge in cases, Huntsville Hospital recorded five deaths in the last three days due to Covid-19.
This, as health leaders say omicron is proven to be less severe but more contagious than previous variants.
On Wednesday, Huntsville Hospital asked that those showing minor symptoms to avoid going to the emergency room for testing. Instead, go to a primary care doctor, testing center or urgent care clinic.
Right now, ERs are packed to the brim with patients, and the ER needs to prioritize severe illness and injury.
Jeff Samz, CEO of Huntsville Hospital, said vaccination is key in preventing severe disease.
“It’s doing its job of preventing severe disease, and a booster shot appears very necessary against the omicron variant,” said Samz.
Health leaders warn that even if you’ve had the coronavirus recently, the chance for reinfection is there. Masking and vaccinations are the best weapons of defense in combating the virus, and N-95 masks and surgical masks are recommended over cloth masks.
When it comes to treatments, the antibody treatment designated for helping omicron patients and antiviral pills are scarce. They are being kept for high-risk patients.
The antiviral pills aren’t yet hitting pharmacies in full swing, either. Samz said the state is working to get as much as they can.
“Hopefully, in the next few months — I don’t know how long it will take — the Pfizer and Merck antiviral pills will get into local pharmacies,” said Samz.
For those who test positive, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have released new guidelines that shorten isolation.
To start, quarantine at home for five days. If symptoms resolve after five days, you can leave your house, but you must wear a mask for an additional five days. If you have a fever, stay at home until you have gone 24 hours without one.
Health leaders said now is the time to prioritize getting your booster dose of the vaccine.
Huntsville Hospital: 5 dead from Covid-19 in first 5 days of 2022