COVID-19: Streamlined CDC guidance stresses vaccination

August 19, 2022
Elke Shaw-Tulloch, Public Health Administrator

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released new, streamlined guidance last week to help people better understand their risk for getting COVID-19, how to protect themselves and others, what actions to take if exposed to COVID-19, and what actions to take if they are sick or test positive for the virus.

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COVID-19 continues to circulate in Idaho and around the globe, but with so many tools available to reduce COVID-19 severity, there is much less risk of severe illness, hospitalization, and death compared to earlier in the pandemic.

The best, most consistent protection against serious illness, hospitalization, and death continues to be obtained with use of vaccination and boosters. As children head back into the classroom, please make sure they are up to date on all their recommended vaccinations, including those for COVID-19.

If you are exposed to COVID-19 the guidance now is:

  • You should wear a high-quality mask for 10 days after the day you were exposed and get tested five days after the day you were exposed.

If you have COVID-19, the guidance now is:

  • Regardless of vaccination status, you should isolate from others.
  • Stay home for at least five days after your positive test and isolate from others in your home. You are likely most infectious during these first five days. Wear a high-quality mask when you must be around others at home and in public for 10 days after your positive test.
    • If after 5 days you are fever-free for 24 hours without the use of medication, and your symptoms are improving, or you never had symptoms, you may end isolation. Wear a high-quality mask for 10 days after your positive test result.
    • Regardless of when you end isolation, avoid being around people who are more likely to get very sick from COVID-19 for 10 days after your positive test.
  • If you had moderate illness (if you experienced shortness of breath or had difficulty breathing) or severe illness (you were hospitalized) due to COVID-19 or you have a weakened immune system, you need to isolate for the full 10 days after your positive test result.
    • In addition to isolating for 10 days after a positive test, if you had severe illness or have a weakened immune system, consult your doctor before ending isolation. If you are unsure if your symptoms are moderate or severe or if you have a weakened immune system, talk to a healthcare provider for further guidance.
  • If your COVID-19 symptoms worsen after you have ended isolation, restart your isolation the day your symptoms become worse. Talk to a healthcare provider if you have questions about your symptoms or when to end isolation.
  • Physical distance is just one component of how to protect yourself and others. It is important to consider the risk in a specific setting, including local COVID-19 Community Levels and the important role of ventilation.

Elke Shaw-Tulloch is the administrator of the Division of Public Health, and the state’s public health officer. She has worked for the department since 1996 and was promoted to division administrator in 2012. Since February 2020, she has focused most of her time on responding to the coronavirus pandemic. 

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