Hi, I’m Dr. Nilesh Kalyanaraman, the Health Officer for Anne Arundel County. Welcome to our Weekly Health Update. Recently, the CDC updated the COVID guidelines, so let’s go over what’s new.
Why did the CDC update the COVID guidelines?
While COVID is still infecting people and getting them sick, we’re in a different place now. About 95% of people have antibodies to COVID, either from vaccination, infection, or both. We’re seeing fewer hospitalizations and deaths compared to earlier in the pandemic. We have more tools: vaccines, at home testing, oral treatment, and high quality masks. With continued monitoring of COVID activity, we can adjust our recommendations when needed.
What should I know about quarantine?
People who are exposed to COVID no longer need to be quarantined, regardless of their vaccination status. They should wear a high-quality mask, either a KN95 or surgical mask, for 10 days after exposure and get tested on day 5.
Are there any changes to isolation?
People who test positive for COVID should continue to isolate at home for at least five days. If they are getting better they can end isolation and wear a high-quality mask around others for another 5 days and try to avoid being around people who are more likely to get very sick from COVID, those who are older or immunocompromised.
What about testing?
The CDC now recommends that people without symptoms who haven’t been exposed to someone with COVID should no longer get tested. Of course, if you have symptoms or have been in close contact with someone with COVID, you should get tested.
What about vaccines?
Stay up to date on your COVID vaccine. Over time your immunity goes down, so get your booster shots when it’s time. Also, there are a lot of young kids who haven’t been vaccinated, so please get them vaccinated. Talk to your pediatrician if you have any questions or concerns.
As long as you continue to use all the tools we have, you can protect you and your loved ones from the worst effects of COVID.
Stay safe and be kind to yourself and others. We’ll see you next week.