Omicron – what do we need to do?
It is becoming clear that the Omicron variant of COVID-19 spreads more quickly than previous strains. In some parts of the country the number of Omicron cases is doubling in two days, and it appears that West Yorkshire is only 7 to 10 days behind the areas with the highest number of cases.
This is a good time for us to remind ourselves of what we need to do if we get COVID-19 and what we should do to protect ourselves and each other.
Here are 8 things the NHS are asking everyone to do:
- If you have symptoms of COVID-19 – If you have one of the three main symptoms of COVID-19 (new continuous cough, change in or loss of taste or smell, temperature) get a PCR test. Lateral flow tests should not be used if you have symptoms. Get a PCR test even if you have done one recently that was negative. A basic rule of thumb, if you’re not sure, is that PCR tests are for when you feel unwell and lateral flow tests are for when you feel fine.
- If you get a positive test result – you’ve tested positive for COVID-19 on either a lateral flow test or a PCR test – this means you have the virus and you should self-isolate straight away.
- If you are a contact of someone with COVID-19 – You may be notified that you are a contact of a confirmed case of COVID-19 by NHS Test and Trace, Public Health, your workplace, a colleague or a friend or acquaintance. If you’re fully vaccinated (you have had at least two jabs, and the second one was more than 14 days ago) you do not need to self-isolate but should take daily lateral flow tests for seven days. If any of the lateral flow tests show positive you should get a PCR test and self-isolate immiediately. If you are not fully vaccinated you will need to self-isolate (stay at home, don’t go out, don’t have visitors) for ten days from last point of contact (with the day of contact being day 0).
- Boost your immunity – Get your booster vaccination as soon as you can – it will reduce your risk of catching COVID-19 (including Omicron) and it will reduce your risk of getting seriously ill if you do catch COVID-19. Don’t forget to get your flu jab too – see if you can get one for free here https://www.calderdale.gov.uk/v2/free-flu-jabs
- Wear a face covering – Wear a face mask when you’re out and about. They protect you and they protect others. Don’t forget, disposable ones only last 3-4 hours. Reusable ones should be washed regularly.
- Take lateral flow tests – Take regular lateral flow tests. If you’re visiting crowded indoor settings, it’s a good idea to take one before you leave home to go.
- Wash your hands – You can pick up all sorts of bugs from surfaces that other people have touched, not just COVID-19, and regularly washing your hands protects you from catching those bugs. You can see how to do it here.
- Keep your distance – Keep your distance from others and ensure there is plenty of fresh air if you are with others. You might have COVID-19 and not know it, and they might have COVID-19 and not know it. If you can keep at least two metres away from others that reduces the risk significantly.
Get Boosted Now!
A booster dose of the coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine helps improve the protection you have from your first 2 doses of the vaccine. It helps give you longer-term protection against getting seriously ill from COVID-19. Everyone eligible aged 18 and over in England will have the chance to get their COVID-19 booster vaccine before the New Year. We now know that three vaccines are the most effective way to protect ourselves and loved ones against the more contagious Omicron variant.
If you’re aged 18 or over and had your second COVID-19 vaccine over 2 months ago, book your booster now here http://nhs.uk/covid-booster.