COVID-19 Q&A: Out-of-state residents, symptoms of COVID-19, flu, and UVC lamps

Why don’t the state or local health districts count out-of-state residents who test positive for COVID-19 in Idaho?

Public health departments at the state and local levels often don’t receive test results for out-of-state residents. The lab that performs the test sends the result to the address given by the person tested. If test results are received in Idaho and it is determined that person isn’t a resident of Idaho, the results are sent to that person’s state of residence for investigation and follow-up. This is common and consistent public health practice throughout the United States – public health authority to have personal health information applies to residents in their states.

However, DHW staff are working with universities to see if and how we can get summary information on their student populations, many of whom may list an out of state legal residence when they are tested.

Do asymptomatic carriers of the virus that causes COVID-19 have a fever or increased temperature?

No – since they are asymptomatic, that would mean they are not experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, which would include a fever. However, some people who are asymptomatic initially may develop symptoms the following day, or a few days later.

The symptoms of COVID-19 can vary from none at all to very severe. This is why following the recommended guidelines – and especially wearing a face covering in public, maintaining 6-feet of physical distance, and staying home if you feel sick — is so important. It’s possible to spread the disease without knowing it.

Is it possible to get the flu and COVID-19 at the same time?

Technically, yes. They are two different viruses, and right now, we are not seeing much flu activity, so we haven’t seen this happen. However, as flu ramps up this fall, this could occur more often. That’s why it’s so important to be sure to get your annual flu vaccine this fall. The vaccine really is your best protection against the flu, which is a serious disease that kills up 61,000 people each year.

Can ultraviolet C lamps inactivate the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus?

UVC radiation is a known disinfectant for air, water, and nonporous surfaces. UVC radiation has effectively been used for decades to reduce the spread of bacteria, such as tuberculosis. For this reason, UVC lamps are often called “germicidal” lamps.

UVC radiation has been shown to destroy the outer protein coating of viruses related to the the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19. The destruction of the outer coating ultimately leads to inactivation of the virus. UVC radiation may also be effective in inactivating the SARS-CoV-2 virus. However, there is limited published data about the wavelength, dose, and duration of UVC radiation required to inactivate it.

In addition to understanding whether UVC radiation is effective at inactivating a particular virus, there are also limitations to how effective UVC radiation can be at inactivating viruses, generally.

  • Direct exposure: UVC radiation can only inactivate a virus if the virus is directly exposed to the radiation. Therefore, the inactivation of viruses on surfaces may not be effective due to blocking of the UV radiation by soil, such as dust, or other contaminants such as bodily fluids.
  • Dose and duration: Many of the UVC lamps sold for home use are of low dose, so it may take longer exposure to a given surface area to potentially provide effective inactivation of a bacteria or virus.

UVC radiation is commonly used inside air ducts to disinfect the air. This is the safest way to employ UVC radiation because direct UVC exposure to human skin or eyes may cause injuries, and installation of UVC within an air duct is less likely to cause exposure to skin and eyes.

There have been reports of skin and eye burns resulting from improper installation of UVC lamps in rooms where people spend time.

Source: FDA: https://www.fda.gov/medical-devices/coronavirus-covid-19-and-medical-devices/uv-lights-and-lamps-ultraviolet-c-radiation-disinfection-and-coronavirus

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