Community COVID Level Remains High: COVID disease activity continues to remain at an increased level compared to the low level of disease activity experienced over the Spring and early summer. At this level of COVID activity, the CDC recommends making sure you are up-to-date on COVID vaccinations, consider wearing a high-quality mask or respirator when in crowded public places, and encourages anyone feeling sick to please stay home.
CDC Updates Isolation Guidance; No Longer Recommends Quarantine if Exposed: On Aug. 11, the CDC issued new guidance regarding what to do if you have COVID and what to do if you are exposed to COVID. The current CDC guidance recommends people who are positive for COVID should stay home for at least 5 days and wear a mask for 10 days. People who have moderate (difficulty breathing, shortness of breath) or severe illness (require hospital care) or who are immunocompromised may need to stay home longer. People who are exposed to someone with COVID do not need to quarantine at home, but should wear a high-quality mask for 10 days and should test if they develop symptoms or on day 6 after exposure if they do not develop symptoms. The current CDC guidance is as follows:
- Positive for COVID – If you test positive for COVID, stay home at least 5 days. Don’t return to public activities until at least 5 days have passed since your symptoms started. If you have mild illness, your symptoms are improving, and you are fever-free for at least 24 hours without the help of a fever-reducing medicine, you can resume public activities after 5 days but should wear a mask until 10 days have passed since your symptoms began. You should avoid contact with any loved ones who are at greater risk for severe illness and should avoid high-risk settings like nursing homes for a full 10 days.
If you prefer, you can use a test-based strategy to end masking. If you get two sequential negative home tests 48 hours apart, you may remove your mask sooner than day 10. However, if your antigen test results are positive, you may still be infectious. You should continue wearing a mask and wait at least 48 hours before taking another test. Continue taking antigen tests at least 48 hours apart until you have two sequential negative results. This may mean you need to continue wearing a mask and testing beyond day 10.
If you have significant shortness of breath or difficulty breathing during your illness, you should stay home for 10 days from when symptoms started. If you are immunocompromised, you should stay home for 10 days from when symptoms started. If you are severely ill and require hospital care, talk to your doctor or hospital about when you can end isolation.
- Exposed to COVID – If you are exposed to COVID you should wear a high-quality mask for 10 days and monitor for symptoms. If you do not develop symptoms, test on day 6 after exposure. If you do develop symptoms, stay home and test. If you test positive, follow isolation guidance.
NOTE: Masks are not recommended for children under ages 2 years and younger, or for people with some disabilities. Other prevention actions (such as improving ventilation) should be used to avoid transmission during these 10 days.
Novavax COVID vaccine available: The Union County Health Department has received and now administering the Novavax COVID vaccine. Vaccination is by appointment. Appointments can be made by calling 937-645-2058. The Novavax COVID vaccine is made in a traditional manner similar to other routine vaccines. Novavax can be used to begin an initial primary vaccination series for adults age 18 and older who have not previously received a COVID-19 vaccine. Novavax CANNOT be used as a booster for people who have already received one or more doses of Pfizer, Moderna or Johnson & Johnson vaccine. The Novavax primary series consists of 2-doses administered 3-8 weeks apart.
Stay Up-to-Date on COVID vaccinations: As the pandemic evolves, staying up-to-date on COVID vaccination is a key strategy in protecting your health. Staying on top of the latest recommendations can be challenging as scientific research on vaccine safety, effectiveness, and variants is being released rapidly. Here are the latest recommendations based on vaccine type:
- Ages 6 months through 4 years – 3 doses to complete primary series. No booster recommended at this time.
- Ages 5 years through 49 years – 2 doses to complete primary series. 1 booster dose is recommended at least 5 months after the final dose in the primary series.
- Ages 50 years and older – 2 doses to complete primary series. 2 booster doses recommended. First booster at least 5 months after the final dose in the primary series. Second booster at least 4 months after the first booster.
- Ages 6 months through 17 years – 2 doses to complete primary series. No booster recommended at this time.
- Ages 18 years and older – 2 doses to complete primary series. 2 booster doses recommended. First booster at least 5 months after the final dose in the primary series. Second booster at least 4 months after the first booster.
- Ages 18 and older – 2 doses to complete the primary series. No booster recommended at this time.
- JOHNSON & JOHNSON
- Ages 18 years and older – 1 dose to complete primary series. 2 booster doses recommended of either Pfizer or Moderna vaccine. First booster at least 2 months after the initial J&J shot. Second booster at least 4 months after the first booster.
- NOTE: People ages 18 through 49 years who received a J&J/Janssen COVID-19 vaccine for both their primary dose and booster can choose to get a 2nd booster of either Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine at least 4 months after their 1st booster. The 2nd booster is not required to be considered up to date for people ages 18 through 49 years who got a J&J/Janssen COVID-19 vaccine for both their primary dose and 1st booster.
COVID Test Kits: The Union County Health Department and libraries in Marysville, Richwood and Raymond are still providing free at-home antigen test kits. These kits are available via curbside pickup. Please do not go into these locations if you are symptomatic. Please call for curbside pickup. At the Union County Health Department, you can request up to four free test kits per household at www.unioncountycovid.org/testing.
Vaccination Against Monkeypox Not Needed for Most People: The Union County Health Department has received calls requesting monkeypox vaccine. Vaccination against monkeypox is not recommended for most people at this time. Monkeypox vaccination is only recommended for people who have been exposed to monkeypox or are at high risk for exposure.
Monkeypox does not spread easily between people. Evidence suggests monkeypox is spreading mostly through close, personal, often skin-to-skin contact with someone with monkeypox. While anyone could get monkeypox, people most likely to get monkeypox include people who had multiple sexual partners in the past 2 weeks in an area with known monkeypox, people who find out a sexual partner in the past 2 weeks has been diagnosed with monkeypox, people who have been told by their health department that they are a contact of someone diagnosed with monkeypox, and healthcare providers and people working in medical labs handling monkeypox specimens.
The small available national supply of vaccine to protect people most at risk from monkeypox is being distributed to areas with the most reported cases of monkeypox to help limit spread. Currently, Ohio’s large metropolitan areas such as Columbus, Cleveland, and Cincinnati are reporting the most cases and receiving vaccine.