Oh, goodness…the number of cases of COVID is on the rise again, and the question of what to do in case you come in close contact with someone diagnosed with COVID has come up. The CDC website offers this information:
1. I was around someone who has been diagnosed…help! What do I do?
First of all, let’s look at the definition of close contact from the CDC:
Someone who was within 6 feet of an infected person for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period* starting from 2 days before illness onset (or, for asymptomatic patients, 2 days prior to test specimen collection) until the time the patient is isolated.
* Individual exposures added together over a 24-hour period (e.g., three 5-minute exposures for a total of 15 minutes). Data are limited, making it difficult to precisely define “close contact;” however, 15 cumulative minutes of exposure at a distance of 6 feet or less can be used as an operational definition for contact investigation. Factors to consider when defining close contact include proximity (closer distance likely increases exposure risk), the duration of exposure (longer exposure time likely increases exposure risk), whether the infected individual has symptoms (the period around onset of symptoms is associated with the highest levels of viral shedding), if the infected person was likely to generate respiratory aerosols (e.g., was coughing, singing, shouting), and other environmental factors (crowding, adequacy of ventilation, whether exposure was indoors or outdoors).
The information from the CDC if you were around someone diagnosed with COVID-19 is:
●If you were around someone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19, someone from the health department may call you.
●Stay home and away from others.
●Stay away from others, especially people who are at higher risk for getting very sick from COVID-19, such as older adults and people with other medical conditions, if possible.
●If you have been around someone with COVID-19, stay home and away from others for 14 days (self-quarantine) after your last contact with that person and monitor your health.
●If you have a fever, cough or other symptoms of COVID-19, stay home and away from others (except to get medical care or testing, if recommended).
●If you need support or assistance while in self-quarantine, your health department or community organizations may be able to provide assistance.
●Monitor your health.
●Watch for fever, cough, shortness of breath, or other symptoms of COVID-19. Remember, symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to COVID-19.
●Answer the phone call from the health department. If someone from the health department calls you, answer the call to help slow the spread of COVID-19 in your community.
●Discussions with health department staff are confidential. This means that your personal and medical information will be kept private and only shared with those who may need to know, like your health care provider.
●Your name will not be shared with those you came in contact with. The health department will only notify people you were in close contact with (within 6 feet for a total of 15 minutes or more) that they might have been exposed to COVID-19.
●Tell the health department staff if you develop symptoms of COVID-19. If your symptoms worsen or become severe, you should seek emergency medical care.
2. What if I was around the close contact, but we observed wearing masks and social distancing?
Here is the guidance from the CDC:
If you have been around someone who was identified as a close contact to a person with COVID-19, closely monitor yourself for any symptoms of COVID-19. You do not need to self-quarantine unless you develop symptoms or if the person identified as a close contact develops COVID-19.
3. What symptoms should I look for?
People with COVID-19 have had a wide range of symptoms reported – ranging from mild symptoms to severe illness. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. People with these symptoms may have COVID-19:
Fever or chills
Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
Muscle or body aches
New loss of taste or smell
Congestion or runny nose
Nausea or vomiting
This list does not include all possible symptoms. CDC will continue to update this list as we learn more about COVID-19.
Questions? Please check the CDC website for more information: >>https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html.
It is an invaluable resource.
And continue to wear your masks, wash your hands, keep your social distance. Together we will get through this time. I pray that each one of us will continue the protocols to mitigate the spread of this disease, and thus loving our neighbors as ourselves.
With prayers for your health and the health of those you love,