When am i contagious with omicron infection? – 95.5 WSB
When am i contagious with omicron infection?
It’s not yet clear, but some early data suggests people may become contagious earlier than with previous variants, possibly within a day of infection.
The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says people with the coronavirus are most contagious in the days before and after symptoms appear. But that window of time could happen sooner with omicron, some outside experts say.
That’s because omicron seems to cause symptoms faster than previous variants – around three days after infection, on average, according to preliminary studies. Based on previous data, this means that people with omicron could start to become contagious as soon as a day after infection.
With the previous variations, people became contagious two to four days after infection. And people remain contagious for a few days after symptoms subside.
Researchers say it’s too early to know whether this shorter incubation period for omicron results in earlier contagiousness. But that would help explain the rapid spread of the variant.
Dr. Amy Karger of the University of Minnesota School of Medicine recommends that people test themselves three days and five days after exposure if possible.
“A lot of people get positive by day three,” says Karger, referring to omicron. “There is basically an opportunity here to catch people sooner than you would with the other variations.”
If you only have one test, it’s fine to wait until the fifth day, Karger says.
People who show symptoms of COVID-19 should get tested immediately if possible.
Tests developed in the lab are more sensitive than rapid tests, so they should be able to detect the virus on the third day after exposure, if not sooner.
People who don’t develop symptoms typically have much lower levels of the virus, so it’s much less clear when or if they become contagious.
Still, those who test positive but show no symptoms should self-isolate for at least five days, according to the latest CDC guidelines. The agency has been criticized for not requiring a negative test before leaving solitary confinement, but even after changing the guidelines, officials said that step should be optional.
People with symptoms should stay isolated until they have no fever for at least 24 hours.
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