- The EG.5 variant’s rise corresponds with a 21% increase in U.S. Covid hospitalizations and deaths.
- CDC quarantine guidelines for vaccinated individuals have been modified in light of the emerging variants.
- Isolation, testing, and masking recommendations have evolved to counteract the threat.
- An understanding of when and how to act is essential to keep oneself and others safe.
The Challenge of the EG.5 Variant
The EG.5 variant, colloquially known on social media as “Eris,” has rapidly come into focus. Currently accounting for over 20% of Covid cases in the U.S., it has instigated a noticeable uptick in Covid hospitalizations and deaths. Another variant, BA.2.86, possessing numerous mutations, has piqued the interest of scientists, although only a few cases have been reported in the U.S.
CDC’s Masking Recommendations
Masking remains an instrumental weapon in our arsenal against the spread of Covid. The CDC suggests using masks based on the number of Covid hospital admissions within a particular county. Their online map can help individuals gauge the risk level in their vicinity. While most parts of the U.S. aren’t currently advised to mask up, public indoor transportation settings are exceptions. Additionally, the immunocompromised and their households should wear masks in areas with a medium risk.
Understanding Testing Protocols
Navigating the maze of testing recommendations is pivotal:
- Symptomatic individuals should seek testing immediately.
- If asymptomatic, it’s wise to wait five days post-exposure to someone positive for Covid for testing.
- Before interacting with high-risk individuals, especially in medium to high-risk locales, consider getting tested.
- Upon exposure to a positive case, mask up around others regardless of your vaccination status. If symptoms manifest, get tested ASAP. If symptom-free, a test after five full days is advisable. Multiple negative tests bolster confidence in results, says the CDC.
- People with prior positive tests have distinct recommendations based on the timeframe since their previous test.
Navigating Symptoms and Positive Test Results
Having Covid symptoms necessitates prompt isolation, pending test results. If the result is negative, one can end the isolation, though a second test after 48 hours is beneficial. For those testing positive:
- Isolate for at least five days post the positive result.
- Wearing quality masks around others is essential till day 10, unless two rapid tests, 48 hours apart, both show negative results.
- Evading contact with high-risk individuals until at least day 11 is crucial.
Life with a Covid Infection
For those diagnosed with Covid:
- If cohabiting, attempt to use separate rooms and bathrooms.
- Masks, frequent hand-washing, regular cleaning, and avoiding sharing items become the norm.
- Enhancing airflow by opening windows, turning on fans, or using air cleaners can minimize risks.
- It’s paramount to stay hydrated and rest. Over-the-counter medications can alleviate common symptoms.
- Individuals at heightened risk should promptly seek treatment. Various resources, including the CDC’s locator and Test to Treat sites, offer comprehensive care solutions.
- Severe symptoms merit an immediate hospital visit.
Exiting Isolation Post-Covid
Guided by the CDC quarantine guidelines for vaccinated, exiting isolation post-Covid hinges on several factors:
- Generally, isolation can end five days post the initial positive test if symptoms have subsided, and there’s been no fever for 24 hours without medication.
- If symptoms persist or a fever lingers beyond five days, it’s best to continue isolating until there’s improvement.
- Repeated positive tests beyond day 10 mandate continued masking until securing two consecutive negative tests, spaced at least 48 hours apart.
- More severe symptoms or hospitalization may necessitate extended isolation or consultation with healthcare professionals.
- If symptoms return or intensify post-isolation, it’s advisable to start the isolation process afresh.
In a constantly evolving landscape with new variants and challenges, staying informed about the CDC’s recommendations is paramount. The CDC quarantine guidelines for vaccinated individuals offer a roadmap to navigate these uncertain times, safeguarding not just oneself but the broader community. Adhering to these guidelines, combined with vigilance and timely action, will be crucial in the ongoing battle against Covid.