4.21.22 – What’s Happening with COVID and the Variants?

Hi, I’m Dr. Nilesh Kalyanaraman, the health officer for Anne Arundel County. Welcome to our Weekly Health Update. The COVID-19 vaccines, masks, at home testing, and treatment are how you can continue to protect you and your loved ones from COVID. Today, let’s talk about what’s happening with COVID.

What’s happening with COVID and the variants?

The variants, and variants of variants, of COVID are continuing to spread. We are seeing a sustained increase in cases in our county, with a daily case rate of over 10 per 100,000 today. We also know that there are many people who are testing at home and not reporting their results, so our true case rate is even higher.

How do I protect myself and my family?

While COVID is spreading, our situation is different now. We have vaccines and boosters, readily available at-home tests, high quality masks, and oral treatment. We have the tools to decrease the severe consequences of COVID. These tools only work when we use them consistently.

  • Get vaccinated and boosted. Vaccines are your best line of defense, so stay up to date.
  • If you have symptoms, get tested, either with at-home tests or by PCR.
  • If you have COVID and are at higher risk for severe disease, see your doctor or go to an urgent care center right away. They can prescribe oral treatment that will help you fight COVID.

Also,

  • While COVID is spreading, people at higher risk of severe disease should consider masking in indoor public settings until rates go down. And while masking is no longer required on public transportation, you can still mask to decrease your risk.

What should I do next?

  • You can find vaccination sites at aacounty.org/covidvax
  • Stock up on masks and at-home tests. They’re available for free at libraries and health department sites near you. You can also buy them in stores and online.
  • Have your primary care provider’s number and an urgent care center’s number available if you do have COVID so that you can get evaluated for treatment.

We’re in a much better position to handle this variant and every variant that comes next. We have the tools we need to keep people safer and healthier. If you use all these tools, you can protect you and your family from the severe effects of COVID.

Stay safe and be kind to yourself and others. We’ll see you next week.

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