Local health care workers worry about CDC’s new guidelines

Published: Dec. 28, 2021 at 3:26 PM EST
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GREENVILLE, N.C. (WITN) - The Centers for Disease Control released new isolation and quarantine timelines regarding COVID-19. It alleviates some issues caused by people not being able to return to work after being sick, but one Jacksonville doctor is worried it will cause more harm than good.

Dr. Arin Piramzadian is the chief medical officer with StarMed Healthcare. He said StarMed’s North Carolina omicron cases jumped to 10 percent from 2 percent last week. With the new variant spreading rampantly across the country and the state, he’s worried that national health experts are prioritizing the economy over the country’s health.

“I definitely think this is going to have a terrible effect on health,” Piramzadian said.

Some COVID patients are bouncing back faster with the omicron variant, only experiencing mild symptoms for a few days but then having to wait out the 10-day quarantine period before being able to return to their lives. The CDC’s new adjustments will prevent those who are sick from being out of work for so long, but Piramzadian said he’s worried that people won’t follow the guidelines as they’re laid out, and that will lead to more spread.

“There’s always the possibility that the CDC reverses it stand,” he said, “that’s happened before. Something like this, it’s a big change so we are hoping that the CDC looks into reality more so than just basic science and understands that people are not wearing their masks the way they should and that they will spread this virus. ... There’s absolutely no reason why someone that’s contagious should be going to work.”

Lori Knopp is an Onslow County resident who says she doesn’t mind waiting in the long lines to be tested. She and her family are vaccinated-- and she’s in no rush to be aggressive returning to “normal life.”

“We’ve been home for almost two years now with virtual school and home schooling and so I don’t feel like this is any time to let up.”

The new CDC guidance cuts the quarantine period in half, only requiring people to isolate for five days. Then, if they show no symptoms after those five days, they can exit quarantine as long as they wear a mask around others for five more days.

“Since this is so much more contagious it is definitely gonna tax the health care system much more than it already has,” Piramzadian said. “I mean we’ve been doing this for two years. Your health care workers are tired. We are overextended as is and having another viral infection on top of it, that’s just going to increase the usage of your health care system. It’s just going to be terrible for all of us.”

“I actually had two cousins die of COVID who were my age,” Knopp said, “and I can’t imagine leaving my kids you know without a parent or without both parents so I just feel as if it’s not really any time to let up.”

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