Updates on COVID–19

By: Sheila Kun RN, BA, BSN, MS

Below is the latest posting from the Los Angeles County Department of Health website.

July 15, 2022

LA County Enters High COVID-19 Community Level and Urges Residents to Take Precautions to Limit Spread of the Highly Transmissible BA.5 Variant – 8,954 New Positive Cases and 16 New Deaths Due to COVID-19 in Los Angeles County

Yesterday, Los Angeles County entered the High Covid Community Level on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) COVID-19 Community Levels framework after hospital admissions exceeded 10 new hospital admissions per 100,000 people. The county’s admission rate, at 10.5 hospital admissions per 100,000 people, is an 88% increase when compared to one month ago.

If LA County remains in the High COVID-19 Community Level for two consecutive weeks, universal indoor masking will be implemented on July 29 to help slow the rate of transmission and protect those most vulnerable.

It is important to note that indoor masking is already a required safety measure in many places, including at all healthcare settings, public transit and transit hubs, long-term care settings, shelters and cooling centers, and correctional facilities. Indoor masking also continues to be required at worksites with outbreaks, and is required for all individuals during the 10 days after a COVID diagnosis or exposure when they are around others.

Sheila’s note: it seems like this new mutation is pretty contagious. I, myself, along with Louis were exposed and tested positive in May, 2022. In a family birthday gathering of 42 people, 8 were tested positive. In spite of being asymptomatic, my PCR did not clear until 5 weeks later. Going through this experience, I have several reflections I wanted to share with you.

  1. The antigen test is indeed not as sensitive during the “recovery phase”; I showed negative in the antigen tests 2 weeks after the exposure, but positive in the PCR for weeks.
  2. If you have a “cold like symptom”, or symptoms that are not your baseline (for example, stomach problems), it is prudent to go ahead and do the antigen test. In our situation, Louis had 2 days of running nose – we did not think it was a Covid symptom until when we heard other family members reported testing positive. Hence the early detecting would alarm us to isolate early.
  3. The recovery time varies from person to person. In Louis’ case, in 2 weeks he was cleared. In my case it took 5 weeks in spite of me being asymptomatic.
  4. I had heard of colleagues who stayed positive for 3 months. So be prepared for that recovery time frame.
  5. Since there is no specific data noting how contagious I could be, I chose to stay home until I was totally cleared with a negative PCR test result. I am still waiting for more scientific data to understand the viral load.
  6. Many more friends and family members who had never come down with the virus now have been tested positive. This leads me to believe that this mutation spreads more quickly than the previous years. However, almost all experienced only mild symptoms.
  7. Time for a booster shot (4th dose)!
  8. If you are planning to travel, you might want to do your booster shot 1 month in advance of the travel date. I had a colleague who had to cancel her trip overseas because she took the booster and tested positive in 2 weeks. It is not clear if the positive PCR is from the booster or is it a real infection? Therefore, when in doubt, I would plan my booster at least one month before my travel.

The above information is my personal experience and it is not meant to be your medical guideline. Always consult with your physician who knows you the best.

Have a great summer everyone!

Your homework from the Care Ministry this week: check if you are eligible for a booster shot.

Love to hear from you: kunlouis@gmail.com