Sept. 2 Last Day to Order Free Test Kits from Federal Government
The US covid.gov website will no longer take orders for free COVID test kits as of Sept. 2. If you are in need of at-home test kits, please place your order through covid.gov prior to Friday, Sept. 2. Please note there is a limit to how many tests a household can order. The program allows 3 orders of free at-home tests (16 tests total) per residential address. The Union County Health Department, Marysville, Raymond and Richwood libraries continue to provide free at-home test kits through curbside pickup while supplies last. Please call before arriving to ensure kits are in stock. It is unknown how long the state of Ohio will continue to supply free test kits. You can also reserve a kit online for pick up through the Union County Health Department.
New Omicron Specific COVID Boosters
The FDA should meet this week to discuss authorizing new updated COVID boosters. If the FDA gives authorization, the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices will then have to meet to determine if they will recommend the booster, provide recommendations on who should receive the booster, and guidance on how healthcare providers should administer it. Our Union County Health Department nursing team is currently planning and training in an effort to be prepared to provide this updated booster shot should it receive FDA authorization and CDC recommendation.
Community COVID Level Drops to Medium
The CDC’s COVID-19 Community Level for Union County, Ohio dropped to medium after several weeks at the high level. COVID-19 Community Level is based upon the rate of newly reported COVID-19 cases, the rate of COVID-19 hospital admissions, and COVID-19 patient volume impact on hospitals within our region.
At this level of COVID activity, the CDC recommends making sure you are up-to-date on COVID vaccinations, get tested if you have symptoms, wear a mask if you have symptoms, a positive test, or exposure to someone with COVID-19. If you are at high risk for severe illness, consider wearing a mask indoors in public and taking additional precautions.
REMINDER from Last Update:
What to do if you have COVID or are exposed to someone with COVID
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 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 or 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.
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 is 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.