Recommendations include streamlined guidance for those who test positive and close contacts
Vermont Business Magazine With low levels of severe disease and effective tools to prevent COVID-19, Vermont health officials announced that starting today, March 14, COVID-19 public health recommendations have been updated.
The new prevention guidance focuses on recommending Vermonters consider their own circumstances and risk in deciding what precautions to take – including wearing a mask around others – to protect themselves, loved ones and those at higher risk from COVID-19. The guidance had previously recommended wearing a mask in all indoor public spaces.
The state has also simplified its guidance for anyone who tests positive or is in close contact with someone who tests positive. Vermonters are still strongly urged to be up to date on vaccinations against the virus.
“As we continue moving forward and evolving our management of this virus, it’s important to reflect on the progress we’ve made, and how much Vermonters have stepped up over the last two years,” said Governor Phil Scott. “Although Covid isn’t going away, we’re in a much different place than we were not too long ago, and we know how to protect ourselves. Vaccination remains the best tool in our toolbox to protect yourself and others, and we continue to encourage anyone who hasn’t to get vaccinated and boosted.”
The updated guidance calls for people who test positive to isolate for five days — even if you are vaccinated or never have symptoms. Recommendations no longer include a negative test to end isolation or masking for an additional five days after isolation.
For people who are considered close contacts of someone who tested positive, quarantine is no longer recommended.
However, if you are not vaccinated or not up to date on your vaccines, you should get tested around five days after your contact occurred. Any close contact should get tested if they develop symptoms, regardless of vaccination status.
These changes do not apply to health care settings, including long term care facilities, or other congregate settings that follow separate guidance.
With less risk of COVID-19 and the critical tools to protect ourselves — through vaccines, testing and treatment, Health Commissioner Mark Levine, MD said we can live more safely, with the virus causing less disruption in our daily lives.
“The COVID-19 virus will be with us for a long time, but the data tells us we have arrived at a point where people can decide for themselves if they want to take precautions based on their own personal level of risk,” Dr. Levine said.
Dr. Levine emphasized, however, that low levels of virus is not the same as no virus, and that we need to remain prepared in case the virus changes again.
“If we have learned anything about COVID-19 over these past two years, it is that the virus is good at evolving,” Dr. Levine said. “With many surges and new variants, nearly all of us have been affected in some way, and too many have suffered serious illness and tragic losses. I am hopeful we are finally coming to the end of the pandemic, but that will only be the case if people are thoughtful about their safety and activities – and stay up to date on vaccinations.”
Vermonters can find the information and tools they need to protect themselves and others from getting or spreading the virus at healthvermont.gov/covid-19/protect-yourself-others.
To find where to get a COVID-19 vaccine near you, visit healthvermont.gov/MyVaccine.
Covid-19 guidance and information are available in multiple languages: healthvermont.gov/media/translation/covid-19-translations
The COVID-19 virus will be with us for a long time. Vermonters have the tools needed to protect themselves and others from getting or spreading the virus.
STAY UP TO DATE ON VACCINATIONS
Vaccines are the best tool we have to protect ourselves against COVID-19, especially from severe illness, hospitalization and death.
Unvaccinated people are at a much higher risk of getting and spreading the virus. We strongly encourage everyone who is eligible to protect themselves by getting vaccinated as soon as possible, and get their booster shot for full protection when eligible. Find out where you can get your shot.
GET TESTED WHEN NEEDED
You can protect others by getting tested if you have COVID-19 symptoms or if you are a close contact of someone who tested positive for COVID-19 and you are not vaccinated or not up to date on your vaccines. It's especially important to get tested if you are at higher risk for COVID-19, so you can reach out to your health care provider to ask about treatment. Find out where to get tested.
STAY HOME IF SICK
Whether you have symptoms of COVID-19, the flu, or another contagious illness, please stay home if you are sick and call your health care provider if needed. This helps keep germs from spreading, protects those who may be at risk of serious illness, and gives you a chance to get well.
MASKING AND OTHER PRECAUTIONS YOU CAN CHOOSE
As the level of severe disease is low in our communities, each person can decide if they want to take precautions based on their own personal level of risk.
Decisions about additional precautions depend on your risk
Your decisions might be influenced by:
- your age or health condition
- if you are immunocompromised
- if you spend time with people at higher risk or who are unvaccinated
These precautions might include wearing a mask, which helps protect you and the people around you from getting or spreading COVID-19. Examples of high-quality masks are N95 or KN95 masks, which are very good at blocking droplets. You can also wear a well-fitting mask with at least two layers of tightly-woven fabric or layer a disposable mask under a cloth mask to increase effectiveness.
Know if you are at higher risk for COVID-19
If you are at higher risk for COVID-19, you can consider taking additional precautions, make sure you have quick access to testing, and be ready to reach out to your health care provider for treatment if you do test positive. Talk to your health care provider if you have questions about your risk.
We have been the state's public health agency for more than 130 years, working every day to protect and promote the health of Vermonters.
3.14.2022. BURLINGTON, VT – Vermont Department of Health. healthvermont.gov