If you travel for spring break, get tested for COVID-19 or self-quarantine for 10 days, Metro Health says


SAN ANTONIO – Spring break is just around the corner for several San Antonio-area schools and some families are expected to travel.

But, with this in mind, health officials have some guidelines on how to return from spring break safely to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

The safest way to spend spring break is to enjoy time with the people in your household, according to the San Antonio Metropolitan Health District. However, if you do decide to travel, Metro Health urges residents to take these actions once you return.

  • Get tested for the coronavirus 3-5 days after travel, and self-quarantine for a full seven days after travel.

  • If you opt not to get tested, health officials urge you to stay home and self-quarantine for 10 days after travel.

  • Avoid crowds and stay at least 6 feet away from anyone who did not travel with you.

  • Wear a face mask when in public settings and avoid being around people who are at an increased risk.

  • Wash your hands or use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.

Earlier this week, Texas Governor Greg Abbott lifted the mask mandate in most Texas counties. Effective Wednesday, March 10, the mask mandate will be lifted and all businesses, regardless of classifications, are allowed to open at 100% capacity.

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Still, area health experts are strongly encouraging residents to keep wearing their masks when out in public and to keep following health protocols to help mitigate the spread of the virus.

There are also many privately-owned places in the state that still require masks, despite the governor’s lifted mandate. By not abiding by this, some may face consequences.

Copyright 2021 by KSAT – All rights reserved.



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350K to be tested in doorstep blitz as scientists fear real case numbers could be 20x higher


A DOOR-to-door testing blitz on up to 350,000 people has been launched after 11 rogue cases of Covid’s South African mutation were found in the UK.

Officials have been unable to link any of the infected Brits to foreign travel, suggesting they picked it up here.

🦠 Read our coronavirus live blog for the latest news & updates

Volunteers and a police officer gathered in Surrey this morning for a briefing at Woking Fire station as they prepare to administer tests to people in the area

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Volunteers and a police officer gathered in Surrey this morning for a briefing at Woking Fire station as they prepare to administer tests to people in the area Credit: London News Pictures

Residents in eight English postcodes from Surrey to Merseyside are being urged to get swabbed over the next fortnight.

Mobile units have been scrambled, while council officials will knock on doors offering kits to locals.

Authorities are anxious to suppress any spread amid fears vaccination will prove less effective against the variant.

It is more contagious than the original, but there is no evidence it is deadlier.

Speaking last night at the No 10 briefing, Matt Hancock pledged to “come down hard” on the strain.

The Health Secretary said it is “imperative” those in affected areas stay in and stick to the rules.

He warned: “This is a stark reminder the fight against this virus isn’t over yet.”

In total, 105 cases of the South African strain have been found in Britain since late December.

Residents in Ealing were seen taking tests this morning

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Residents in Ealing were seen taking tests this morning Credit: London News Pictures
Signs warn drivers to the latest risk in East London

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Signs warn drivers to the latest risk in East LondonCredit: Jeff Moore
Mass Covid testing will be carried out in various parts of the country, including Woking

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Mass Covid testing will be carried out in various parts of the country, including WokingCredit: Reuters
It comes after 11 people tested positive for the South African strain in the UK

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It comes after 11 people tested positive for the South African strain in the UKCredit: Reuters
Health Secretary Matt Hancock vowed to 'come down hard' on the new strain

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Health Secretary Matt Hancock vowed to ‘come down hard’ on the new strainCredit: PA:Press Association

Most have links abroad, but 11 do not.

Scientists warn these could be the tip of the iceberg, with the real total up to 20 times higher. Only up to ten per cent of positive tests are “gene- sequenced” to look for variants.

This is a stark reminder the fight against this virus isn’t over yet.

Matt Hancock

Paul Hunter, the University of East Anglia’s professor of medicine, said: “The fact we are only doing surveillance on a minority of infections almost certainly means we have more cases in the UK.

“The concern is it is more contagious and also more resistant to vaccine.”

But Mr Hancock insisted the UK was working hard to stop it.

He said: “I strongly urge everyone in these areas to get tested, whether you have symptoms or not.

“A mutation in one part of the world is a threat to people everywhere. We need to come down on it hard, and we will.

“We’ve already made sure that all these cases are isolating, and that we’ve done enhanced contact tracing.

Q&A

Q: WHAT IS THE NEW VARIANT?

A: The B.1.351 South African variant is a new strain of the coronavirus with eight mutations. It was first detected in Nelson Mandela Bay, South Africa, in October 2020. It now makes up more than 90 per cent of Covid cases in South Africa and has spread to 20 more countries, including the UK.

Q: WHY IS IT SO CONTAGIOUS?

A: It spreads about 60-70 per cent faster than the original strain. This is because it can bind to human cells quickly and infect them more easily due to its mutations.

Q: WHY ARE WE MORE WORRIED ABOUT IT?

A: The speed of its spread means that if we don’t contain an outbreak quickly there would likely be a spike in cases and the NHS might become overwhelmed again. It is also thought that Covid-19 vaccines may be less effective against it.

Q: IS IT MORE DEADLY THAN THE ORIGINAL STRAIN?

A: It is not currently thought to be more deadly. Although it spreads faster, there is not enough data to suggest it causes more deaths or hospitalisations.

Q: HOW CAN WE STOP IT?

A: We have banned travellers from coming into England from South Africa. If they are still able to enter the country, as British and Irish nationals are, they must self-isolate for ten days. The vaccine roll-out will also provide ­immunity against the strain, although ­potentially at a lower level.

Q: WHAT DO I DO IF I LIVE IN A POSTCODE AREA WHERE THERE ARE CASES OF THIS VARIANT FOUND?

A: You must take up any offer of tests given to you ­— either from a door knock or a mobile test centre. If you have any symptoms or test positive you must isolate. Otherwise, continue washing hands, covering your face and giving space.

Volunteers were seen setting up in Ealing this morning

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Volunteers were seen setting up in Ealing this morning Credit: London News Pictures

“We’re surging extra testing into the areas where this variant has been found and sequencing every single positive case. Working with local authorities, we’re going door to door to test people.”

Transmission has been found at eight postcodes — in London, Surrey, Kent, Hertfordshire, the West Midlands and Merseyside.

All 350,000 locals will be offered a test over the next fortnight.

Travellers from South Africa have already been barred from entering England since December 23.

The fire station in Woking which is being used as a pop-up Covid test centre

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The fire station in Woking which is being used as a pop-up Covid test centre Credit: London News Pictures
A worker collects a swab from a car window at a test centre in Goldsworth Park, Surrey, where two cases of the South African strain were detected

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A worker collects a swab from a car window at a test centre in Goldsworth Park, Surrey, where two cases of the South African strain were detectedCredit: Reuters
A man takes a swab at a test centre in Goldsworth Park, Surrey

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A man takes a swab at a test centre in Goldsworth Park, SurreyCredit: Reuters

TRAVEL RESTRICTIONS

Dr Susan Hopkins, from Public Health England, told the No 10 press conference: “These cases are in quite separate parts of the country and they are more likely to be related to somebody who potentially had asymptomatic infection when they came in from abroad.

“We are looking to find extra cases in the community to see where we can find links and to try and close down and eliminate the transmission between people.”

It could spell bad news for Brits planning to go abroad this summer, as stopping variants was the key reason travel restrictions came in.

A Government source said: “We have to wait and see how effective vaccination is against transmission. If it works at stopping spread, we can open up sooner.”

‘Surge testing’ postcode roll out

These are the postcodes that will be given additional testing:

  • W7 – Greenford, Brentford, Ealing, London
  • N17 – Tottenham
  • CR4 – Mitcham
  • WS2 – Walsall, Willenhall in West Mids
  • EN10 – Broxbourne, Cheshunt, Hoddesdon, Nazeing, Wormley West End
  • ME15 – Maidstone, Bearsted, Coxheath, East Farleigh, Otham, West Farleigh, Downswood, Hunton, Loose, Leeds in Kent
  • GU21 – Woking, Knaphill, Ottershaw, Sheerwater in Surrey
  • PR9 – Southport, Lancashire, Burscough, Scarisbrick, Banks in Lancashire/ Merseyside

 

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The PM said yesterday: “I think everybody understands the need for tough border controls whilst there is a risk of new variants.”

But he played down fears jabs will be ineffective against them.

On a visit to the Al Hikmah vaccination centre in Batley, West Yorks, Mr Johnson said: “We are confident all the vaccines we are using provide a high degree of immunity and protection against all variants.”

He said they could be adapted if necessary — but experts remain fearful. South Africa’s is a concern after a study showed its resistance to past infection immunity.

Chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance warned it could be “a virus that can escape some of the immune effects of antibodies”.

Novavax’s jab was also 60 per cent effective in South African trials, compared with 89 per cent here.

Janssen’s was 72 per cent effective in US-based studies, falling to 57 per cent in South Africa.

Pfizer’s trials predate the mutation, but its scientists have since revealed they think it will be effective, as do Moderna’s.

Boris Johnson visits a vaccination centre in Batley, West Yorkshire

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Boris Johnson visits a vaccination centre in Batley, West YorkshireCredit: AP:Associated Press

What Covid strains are in the UK?

Dr Simon Clarke, Professor in Cellular Microbiology at Reading University, said: “This variant appears to spread rapidly and evidence is emerging to suggest it is less susceptible to immunity induced by current vaccines.

“The discovery of a handful of cases with no links to travel to Africa indicates it might be more widespread than previously thought.

“This spread, even if small in scale, needs to be brought under control quickly.”

The Sun says

NOTHING must undermine the extraordinary success of our vaccine rollout.

That means combating anti-vax idiots, among them the President of France, spreading lies about AstraZeneca’s jab.

It means encouraging the ethnic minority community leaders already doing admirable work to convince those who still doubt the vaccines’ safety.

But it must surely mean closing our borders, temporarily but immediately, not just to countries deemed higher risk but to all (with a small number of exemptions for certain jobs).

We are told our jabs should work against the worrying South African Covid variant. But Health Secretary Matt Hancock’s insistence that those in certain postcodes get tested, even without symptoms, betrays his nervousness.

Other new strains must be kept out, especially with so many still unjabbed.

Every day, that number falls at a fantastic rate. Almost a million people were inoculated at the weekend alone.

That, like Britain’s commitment to donate excess vaccines to nations in need, is a cause for huge pride.

We must do nothing to set it back.

Boris Johnson confident all Covid vaccines provide high protection against all variants and they will develop





Source link

350K to be tested in doorstep blitz as scientists fear real case numbers could be 20x higher


A DOOR-to-door testing blitz on up to 350,000 people has been launched after 11 rogue cases of Covid’s South African mutation were found in the UK.

Officials have been unable to link any of the infected Brits to foreign travel, suggesting they picked it up here.

🦠 Read our coronavirus live blog for the latest news & updates

Mass Covid testing will be carried out in various parts of the country, including Woking

10

Mass Covid testing will be carried out in various parts of the country, including WokingCredit: Reuters
Signs warn drivers to the latest risk in East London

10

Signs warn drivers to the latest risk in East LondonCredit: Jeff Moore

Residents in eight English postcodes from Surrey to Merseyside are being urged to get swabbed over the next fortnight.

Mobile units have been scrambled, while council officials will knock on doors offering kits to locals.

Authorities are anxious to suppress any spread amid fears vaccination will prove less effective against the variant.

It is more contagious than the original, but there is no evidence it is deadlier.

Speaking last night at the No 10 briefing, Matt Hancock pledged to “come down hard” on the strain.

The Health Secretary said it is “imperative” those in affected areas stay in and stick to the rules.

He warned: “This is a stark reminder the fight against this virus isn’t over yet.”

In total, 105 cases of the South African strain have been found in Britain since late December.

It comes after 11 people tested positive for the South African strain in the UK

10

It comes after 11 people tested positive for the South African strain in the UKCredit: Reuters
Health Secretary Matt Hancock vowed to 'come down hard' on the new strain

10

Health Secretary Matt Hancock vowed to ‘come down hard’ on the new strainCredit: PA:Press Association
10,000 test kits were readied for delivery at Woking fire station

10

10,000 test kits were readied for delivery at Woking fire stationCredit: London News Pictures

Most have links abroad, but 11 do not.

Scientists warn these could be the tip of the iceberg, with the real total up to 20 times higher. Only up to ten per cent of positive tests are “gene- sequenced” to look for variants.

This is a stark reminder the fight against this virus isn’t over yet.

Matt Hancock

Paul Hunter, the University of East Anglia’s professor of medicine, said: “The fact we are only doing surveillance on a minority of infections almost certainly means we have more cases in the UK.

“The concern is it is more contagious and also more resistant to vaccine.”

But Mr Hancock insisted the UK was working hard to stop it.

He said: “I strongly urge everyone in these areas to get tested, whether you have symptoms or not.

“A mutation in one part of the world is a threat to people everywhere. We need to come down on it hard, and we will.

“We’ve already made sure that all these cases are isolating, and that we’ve done enhanced contact tracing.

Q&A

Q: WHAT IS THE NEW VARIANT?

A: The B.1.351 South African variant is a new strain of the coronavirus with eight mutations. It was first detected in Nelson Mandela Bay, South Africa, in October 2020. It now makes up more than 90 per cent of Covid cases in South Africa and has spread to 20 more countries, including the UK.

Q: WHY IS IT SO CONTAGIOUS?

A: It spreads about 60-70 per cent faster than the original strain. This is because it can bind to human cells quickly and infect them more easily due to its mutations.

Q: WHY ARE WE MORE WORRIED ABOUT IT?

A: The speed of its spread means that if we don’t contain an outbreak quickly there would likely be a spike in cases and the NHS might become overwhelmed again. It is also thought that Covid-19 vaccines may be less effective against it.

Q: IS IT MORE DEADLY THAN THE ORIGINAL STRAIN?

A: It is not currently thought to be more deadly. Although it spreads faster, there is not enough data to suggest it causes more deaths or hospitalisations.

Q: HOW CAN WE STOP IT?

A: We have banned travellers from coming into England from South Africa. If they are still able to enter the country, as British and Irish nationals are, they must self-isolate for ten days. The vaccine roll-out will also provide ­immunity against the strain, although ­potentially at a lower level.

Q: WHAT DO I DO IF I LIVE IN A POSTCODE AREA WHERE THERE ARE CASES OF THIS VARIANT FOUND?

A: You must take up any offer of tests given to you ­— either from a door knock or a mobile test centre. If you have any symptoms or test positive you must isolate. Otherwise, continue washing hands, covering your face and giving space.

A worker collects a swab from a car window at a test centre in Goldsworth Park, Surrey, where two cases of the South African strain were detected

10

A worker collects a swab from a car window at a test centre in Goldsworth Park, Surrey, where two cases of the South African strain were detectedCredit: Reuters
A man takes a swab at a test centre in Goldsworth Park, Surrey

10

A man takes a swab at a test centre in Goldsworth Park, SurreyCredit: Reuters

“We’re surging extra testing into the areas where this variant has been found and sequencing every single positive case. Working with local authorities, we’re going door to door to test people.”

Transmission has been found at eight postcodes — in London, Surrey, Kent, Hertfordshire, the West Midlands and Merseyside.

All 350,000 locals will be offered a test over the next fortnight.

Travellers from South Africa have already been barred from entering England since December 23.

TRAVEL RESTRICTIONS

Dr Susan Hopkins, from Public Health England, told the No 10 press conference: “These cases are in quite separate parts of the country and they are more likely to be related to somebody who potentially had asymptomatic infection when they came in from abroad.

“We are looking to find extra cases in the community to see where we can find links and to try and close down and eliminate the transmission between people.”

It could spell bad news for Brits planning to go abroad this summer, as stopping variants was the key reason travel restrictions came in.

A Government source said: “We have to wait and see how effective vaccination is against transmission. If it works at stopping spread, we can open up sooner.”

‘Surge testing’ postcode roll out

These are the postcodes that will be given additional testing:

  • W7 – Greenford, Brentford, Ealing, London
  • N17 – Tottenham
  • CR4 – Mitcham
  • WS2 – Walsall, Willenhall in West Mids
  • EN10 – Broxbourne, Cheshunt, Hoddesdon, Nazeing, Wormley West End
  • ME15 – Maidstone, Bearsted, Coxheath, East Farleigh, Otham, West Farleigh, Downswood, Hunton, Loose, Leeds in Kent
  • GU21 – Woking, Knaphill, Ottershaw, Sheerwater in Surrey
  • PR9 – Southport, Lancashire, Burscough, Scarisbrick, Banks in Lancashire/ Merseyside

 

10

 

10

The PM said yesterday: “I think everybody understands the need for tough border controls whilst there is a risk of new variants.”

But he played down fears jabs will be ineffective against them.

On a visit to the Al Hikmah vaccination centre in Batley, West Yorks, Mr Johnson said: “We are confident all the vaccines we are using provide a high degree of immunity and protection against all variants.”

He said they could be adapted if necessary — but experts remain fearful. South Africa’s is a concern after a study showed its resistance to past infection immunity.

Chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance warned it could be “a virus that can escape some of the immune effects of antibodies”.

Novavax’s jab was also 60 per cent effective in South African trials, compared with 89 per cent here.

Janssen’s was 72 per cent effective in US-based studies, falling to 57 per cent in South Africa.

Pfizer’s trials predate the mutation, but its scientists have since revealed they think it will be effective, as do Moderna’s.

Boris Johnson visits a vaccination centre in Batley, West Yorkshire

10

Boris Johnson visits a vaccination centre in Batley, West YorkshireCredit: AP:Associated Press

What Covid strains are in the UK?

Dr Simon Clarke, Professor in Cellular Microbiology at Reading University, said: “This variant appears to spread rapidly and evidence is emerging to suggest it is less susceptible to immunity induced by current vaccines.

“The discovery of a handful of cases with no links to travel to Africa indicates it might be more widespread than previously thought.

“This spread, even if small in scale, needs to be brought under control quickly.”

The Sun says

NOTHING must undermine the extraordinary success of our vaccine rollout.

That means combating anti-vax idiots, among them the President of France, spreading lies about AstraZeneca’s jab.

It means encouraging the ethnic minority community leaders already doing admirable work to convince those who still doubt the vaccines’ safety.

But it must surely mean closing our borders, temporarily but immediately, not just to countries deemed higher risk but to all (with a small number of exemptions for certain jobs).

We are told our jabs should work against the worrying South African Covid variant. But Health Secretary Matt Hancock’s insistence that those in certain postcodes get tested, even without symptoms, betrays his nervousness.

Other new strains must be kept out, especially with so many still unjabbed.

Every day, that number falls at a fantastic rate. Almost a million people were inoculated at the weekend alone.

That, like Britain’s commitment to donate excess vaccines to nations in need, is a cause for huge pride.

We must do nothing to set it back.

Boris Johnson confident all Covid vaccines provide high protection against all variants and they will develop





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White House testing czar says Americans who traveled during Thanksgiving should get tested


There was a concern entering and coming out of the Thanksgiving holiday as people travelled and congregated, which was why experts tried to get out the message that people shouldn’t have large gatherings but to keep it confined to their immediate households, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases told NBC on Sunday.

“But, you know people are not always going to do that so what we expect unfortunately, as we go to the next couple of weeks into December, that we might see a surge superimposed upon that surge that we’re already in,” Fauci said. 

Fauci said that he didn’t want to frighten people by giving this message, “except to say it is not too late at all for us to do something about this, because as we travel back to be careful when we go back to where we are, to just continue to do the things that we’ve been talking about.”  

He said that it is known that something can be done about the infection curve particularly going in to the colder season, by doing things like mitigating with masks, distance and not having crowds or congregate settings. 

When asked whether there would be more dire warnings about travel preparing for Christmas and New Year’s, Fauci said “I think we’re going to be faced with another situation, we’re going to have to make decisions as a nation, state, city and family, that we’re in a very difficult time and we’re going to have to do the kinds of restrictions of things we would like to have done, particularly in this holiday season.” 

This is because, Fauci said, “we’re entering into what really is a precarious situation because we’re in the middle of a steep slope.” 

There is light at the end of the tunnel, though, he said, because vaccines will be seen soon, “we likely, almost certainly, are going to be vaccinating a portion of the individuals in the first priority before the end of December.” Going in to January, February and March, more and more people will be being vaccinated. 



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