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Asymptomatic COVID-19 Cases Are Still Concerning

If you test positive for COVID-19 but are ‘asymptomatic’ – meaning you have none of the classic symptoms, are you still at risk for health problems yourself and at risk to spread it to others? The answer to both questions is “Yes.”

Multiple studies have shown that COVID-19 can impact the heart and lungs of individuals who were asymptomatic. The long-term effect of those impacts is not yet fully understood. In addition, the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) says that asymptomatic individuals may transmit the virus to others. This is a real concern, given that national figures show up to 40% of people (1 or 2 out of every 5) who are COVID-19 positive are asymptomatic – or ‘pre-symptomatic’ meaning their symptoms are simply slow to materialize.

“The basic premise that a significant portion of the population may be transmitting COVID-19 well before they know that they have it makes the epidemic especially difficult to control,” said Dr. Louis Dandurand, Medical Director of the NMC Emergency Department.

On March 26, Vermont reported 251 new COVID-19 cases, setting a record for a one-day total. “This is a concerning number of new cases and should not be dismissed,” said Dr. Mark Levine, the Commissioner of the Vermont Department of Health. The VT Digger has reported that “half of the cases announced in the past two weeks were in people under the age of 30,” who Dr. Levine characterized as more mobile and social, particularly with warmer weather encouraging activity.

Individuals of all ages must continue to take COVID-19 seriously and be attentive to avoiding transmission of the virus. “The measures that we have taken to control COVID-19 have blown influenza out of the water,” said Dr. Dandurand, reflecting on the low rates of influenza this year. The fact that COVID-19 continues to spread despite these efforts is “a testament to how difficult it is to control COVID-19” said Dr. Dandurand.

This reinforces the importance of proper mask wearing, good hand hygiene, maintaining social distancing, being cautious with social distancing, and getting vaccinated as soon as you are able. For more information on vaccination, please visit the Vermont Department of Health website at: https://www.healthvermont.gov/covid-19/vaccine/getting-covid-19-vaccine If you have medical questions about COVID-19 or are concerned you may have symptoms, please call  your  primary care provider. If you do not have a primary care provider, please call Northwestern Medical Center’s Community Relations Office at (802) 524-1280 for a referral to primary care.