Holiday Week Service Delays, Omicron and Surge Info
This is an unprecedented surge we are seeing. If you have come to the lab for an appointment, or are trying to get through to us on the phone, or are trying to schedule an appointment, please expect delays. We are also dealing with nursing home and other congregate care settings, school outbreaks and trying to get all of the positive results relayed as soon as possible. Our phones are overwhelmed and Comcast is hopefully coming tomorrow (right @Comcast?) to get us more lines. Your call may be diverted to an answering service but we have people answering via emails and calling back when possible. Our staff has been working with very little sleep and as the Medical Director I need to send some home (one at a time!) so that we can ensure everyone’s safety and high quality testing.
One of the reasons it is taking longer on site is that we need time to prepare barcoded labels for each sample. Typically this takes about 5 minutes per person. But there were 595 appointments yesterday alone and 80% of those were people seeking testing in the same day. It’s not an excuse, but an explanation of why you are stuck waiting even though you made an appointment. For those of you without an appointment, please please fill out the intake form on line through the appointment making process if at all possible. If you do not have a smart phone or have other special needs, we can assist.
Although we are really trying our best, our 99.5% record on travel reports on time has hit a wall. Please make sure you have made your alternate plans in case of report delays. We totally understand if you need to cancel. Remember that we do not bill you until you actually take the test so do not worry or call about cancelling the appointment – to do this you can send an email to email@example.com.
Well it feels like we are in some compelling television drama series in here but unfortunately this is very real. Here is what we have learned so far in the last 7 days:
- Omicron is predominant strain now
- Double vaccinated people absolutely get this and can pass it along – these aren’t breakthrough – everyone is getting it
- People who are boostered or have a recent second vaccination (within 4 weeks) are seeing benefits in terms of viral load and reduced symptoms
- Some people are starting to have symptoms BEFORE the tests turn positive – this is NEW and keep an eye on it. If you are symptomatic and your test is negative yet you don’t feel better in a day or two, RETEST!!
- Omicron incubation period is less than previous strains – 24-36 hours by our estimate from exposure to start of symptoms.
- You need the best mask possible when around anyone not in your household, at home
- Please heed the warnings to not gather this holiday season; a complete breakdown of the US medical system is imminent
- COVID-19 is mild for some, but remember it is devastating for a lot of individuals and a lot of communities; there is variation
- Long COVID-19 is a significant risk and can be disabling; the bottom line is try not to get COVID!!
Please stay safe out there and be kind.
D. Ashley Hill MD, ResourcePath Medical Director