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CHI Health experts answer questions about omicron

Where and when should you get tested?
Posted at 10:16 PM, Jan 04, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-06 13:16:31-05

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — With viruses passing left and right, it could be difficult to differentiate symptoms between the common cold, flu, or COVID-19.

"With the Omicron variant, symptoms tend to be very similar to the common cold, cough, fatigue or tiredness, congestion or running nose tend to be the leading symptoms," CHI Health Primary Care Medical Director Dr. Michael Schooff said.

If you are feeling sick there's no foolproof way to know if it's COVID-19 or another viral infection, that's why Dr. Schooff emphasizes the importance of getting tested.

"Unless you're severely ill, please please do not go to an emergency room for COVID symptoms, especially not just to get tested. If you have been exposed to someone, let me go to the ER and get a swab, please don't use that for our emergency rooms. We need to save emergency room capacity for people with true emergencies," Schooff said.

What should you do if you test positive?

CHI Health-Creighton University Infectious Disease Expert Dr. Renuga Vivekanandan cites the CDC recommendation: isolate for 5 days. If you feel asymptomatic after that or your symptoms are resolving, you can leave isolation but you must wear a mask for another 5 days.

"It's not just isolate for 5 days and you're done. You have to continue to wear a mask for a total of 10 days, I think that's really important for everyone to know. If you are still symptomatic at day 5 and you are having fevers, you have to continue isolating yourself," Vivekanandan said.

Both doctors expect to see a large percentage of the Omicron variant in the state - bracing for its spread.

"By next week over 90 percent, that's what I'm really concerned about," Vivekanandan said.

Here's a list of testing sites.

NOMI FREE TESTING - PRE-REGISTRATION PREFERRED

Omaha

  • Oak View Mall - 3350 South 143d Plaza
  • South Metro - 2909 Edward Babe Gomez Avenue
  • North Metro - 32nd & Sorenson Parkway, South Parking Lot a

Council Bluffs

  • 1751 Madison Avenue

Go to chihealth.com for locations and hours for priority care. Their virtual quick care is open 24/7. Call 402-717-1255. There are also clinics at HyVee supermarkets.

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