Hi, I’m Dr. Nilesh Kalyanaraman, the health officer for Anne Arundel County. Welcome to our Weekly Health Update. The COVID 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 you should do if you get COVID.
What’s our situation now?
Our case rate is up to 35 and there are about 30 people hospitalized between our two hospitals. Just six months ago, at a similar case rate, the hospitalizations were much higher. The vaccines and oral treatments are making this surge less severe than in the past. That’s good news. To keep it that way please stay up to date on your vaccines, test if you have symptoms, mask, and get treated if you have COVID and are at higher risk.
So what should I do if I have COVID now?
If you test positive for COVID, isolate for 5 days. If your symptoms are getting better, and you haven’t had a fever for at least 24 hours, you can stop isolating on day 6. From days 6 to 10, you can go about your daily activities while masked. After 10 days, you can stop masking.
When should I get treatment?
If you test positive for COVID and are at risk for severe disease, you can get treated with prescription medication you can get from your pharmacy. People who are at higher risk include:
- 65 years and older
- Being obese or overweight
- Chronic kidney disease
- Having a condition or receiving treatment that weakens or suppresses your immune system
- Heart or circulatory conditions
- Chronic lung diseases
- Sickle cell disease
- Neurodevelopmental disorders
- Having a medical device
If you are at higher risk, please see your doctor or go to an urgent care center as soon as you can to get evaluated for treatment. It’s important to start treatment within 5 days of when your symptoms started.
Should I report my positive COVID test?
If you tested positive on an at home rapid test, please report that to the state Health Department. Many employers and schools require documentation of a positive test, and this may help with that. For people who expect to travel internationally, you will need a PCR test, not just an at home rapid, as proof of a positive test to avoid testing on return within 90 days.
Of note, if you were tested by your doctor, urgent care, hospital or a testing site, those results are automatically reported to the health department.
Stay safe and be kind to yourself and others. We’ll see you next week.