Quarantine Duration: The CDC continues to recommend a 14-day quarantine after known exposure to someone with COVID-19. This 14-day quarantine is the best option for reducing the risk for spreading COVID-19. Public health officials understand 14-days can be very difficult for some individuals. When a 14-day quarantine is not feasible, the Union County Health Department and the Ohio Department of Health are adopting CDC’s 10-day option for shortened quarantine. The 10-day option allows an individual to resume daily activities after 10 days from last known exposure as long as the individual has NOT developed symptoms. The Union County Health Department encourages the exposed individual to be vigilant in continuing to symptom monitor, social distance, and wear a mask for an additional four days to provide additional protection for family, friends and our community.
The Union County Health Department is not currently recommending the CDC’s 7-day and negative test option for shortened quarantine. This 7-day and negative test strategy is currently not a practical nor an equitable strategy for our community.
- Test results often take 2-4 days or longer to return;
- Testing without symptoms is not covered by many insurance plans;
- We must continue to ensure wide access to testing for ill people. This is a critical step in identifying and isolating COVID-19 patients as quickly as possible – a critical tool to protect our community. We don’t yet know how testing to shorten quarantine may impact our local testing capacity. The supply chain for testing supplies and lab capacities are still sensitive to disruptions and thus we are cautious in implementing strategies that could increase demand and impact access to testing for ill individuals. For these reasons, the Union County Health Department is not currently recommending a 7-day and negative test option as a practical strategy for our community.
The Union County Health Department will continue to review all of the quarantine recommendations as new information or the situation in the community evolves.
It is also important to note, if you share a home with a person with COVID-19, quarantine of household contacts is a critical strategy for protecting our community. On-going exposure often linked with sharing a home with someone with COVID-19 increases the risk for household contacts to contract COVID-19. Therefore, it is important that members of the home quarantine as soon as possible and for at least 10-days after the LAST member of the household is released from their 10-day isolation. Only if contact with others in the home can be substantially reduced during the entire infectious period (either the ill person completely isolates in their own bedroom and bathroom with meals brought to their door on disposable dishes/utensils or the healthy members of the home can separate completely from the ill person), should the quarantine for household members without symptoms start concurrently with the ill person’s isolation.
COVID-19 Vaccination: Our team and response partners continue to prepare for receipt of a COVID-19 vaccination. Governor DeWine has announced initial doses will be very limited and will go to healthcare workers with direct contact with patients, residents and staff of nursing homes and other high-risk congregate living settings like assisted living facilities and group homes for persons with developmental disabilities or mental illness, and EMS personnel. The first doses of vaccine in Ohio are expected as early as next week (week of Dec. 15) and will go directly to hospital systems for their healthcare workers and to some pharmacies who have registered to vaccinate residents and staff of long-term care facilities. Additional doses are expected to be delivered weekly after these initial doses. We have planned and our committed to be ready to vaccinate individuals in Ohio’s phase 1a priority group as quickly as possible, with hopes the vaccination effort could begin as early as the week of Dec. 22.
Situation Update: Sadly, and with condolences to the families, we are reporting three additional COVID-19 related deaths. As of 5pm on Dec. 09, 16 cumulative deaths have been reported. An additional 22 hospitalizations have been reported since Nov. 22, bringing the cumulative total to 95. 497 cases have been reported since Dec. 01.
You can view the full data report from our epidemiologists https://unioncountycovid.org/latest-news/
Generally, the past couple of weeks have shown a stabilization in the rate of new cases. For several weeks we were seeing a continual growth in the rate of new cases–that appears to have begun to level off. This is positive news in many regards. It is important to keep in mind this potential plateau in the rate of community transmission is still at a substantially high rate. The current high level of community transmission is continuing to impact vulnerable populations. We have seen hospitalizations double and deaths triple in the past month in comparison to our previous six-month total. This impact on vulnerable population does not appear to be slowing down.
Additionally, we are keeping a close watch on viral gene fragments for SARS CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19) in local wastewater monitoring. This metric has been trending up since Nov. 17 (more than a 5-fold increase from Nov. 17 to Dec. 01). This metric can help serve as an early warning when viewed in context with other data like case counts and outpatient visits. We are hopeful this metric may level off, but are continuing to watch it closely as part of a comprehensive look at the data.