Omicron Variant Update
The highly contagious Omicron Variant of COVID-19 has been detected in Wisconsin and is anticipated to cause a rapid increase in disease activity in the coming weeks. Public health officials are actively researching how Omicron differs from other variants. Current data from other states and regions of the world show that it spreads more easily than previous strains, including the Delta variant. There is a serious risk that continued, increased numbers of COVID-19 cases will overwhelm an already strained health care system, leading to dangerous situations where patients experiencing medical emergencies may not be able to receive immediate, adequate, life-saving attention and care due to lack of hospital capacity. Taking action to prevent or minimize the impending surge in hospitalizations and deaths is the responsibility of all Wisconsinites.
We can all do our part to slow the spread of Omicron by collectively taking several simple actions. These include:
- Getting vaccinated for COVID-19, including a booster dose as soon as you are eligible.
- Wearing a well-fitting mask in indoor spaces when others are present who do not live with you.
- Celebrating safely over the holidays by keeping gatherings small, getting tested before visiting others, and staying home if you test positive or have any symptoms.
For more information, visit dhs.wisconsin.gov.
The COVID-19 virus, or coronavirus, is a respiratory illness that can easily spread from person to person. People with confirmed infections have a range of symptoms, from little to no symptoms to people being severely ill. Symptoms may include:
- Shortness of breath
- Sore throat
- Body or muscle aches
- Runny nose
- Loss of smell
- Loss of taste
Not everyone with COVID-19 has all of these symptoms. For many, symptoms are mild, with no fever. It is important to know that you can still spread (transmit) the virus to others even if you have mild or no symptoms.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) believes that symptoms of COVID-19 appear in as few as two days or as long as 14 days after contact with someone who has COVID-19.
If you have any of these symptoms, we recommend testing.
There are many free COVID testing sites in our area. You can also get tested at Access. The COVID-19 test is available to all Access patients without charge. Please call 608-443-5480.
How to protect yourself:
- Wear a face covering if you go out in public, which prevents people who don’t have symptoms from spreading the virus.
- Stay away from people who are sick.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer containing at least 60 percent alcohol.
To keep from spreading respiratory illness:
- Wear a face covering.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
If you have symptoms, please contact your clinic at (608) 443-5480 for COVID-19 testing. In addition, take care of yourself by:
- Drinking fluids.
- Taking fever-reducing medications — Tylenol/Acetaminophen and Ibuprofen.