CDC updates COVID-19 protective measures and isolation guidelines
NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC – Last week, the CDC announced new guidelines to help the public navigate the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. These new guidelines apply to everyone, regardless of vaccination status, and are designed to help the public know the risks, how to protect themselves, what to do if they are exposed and what to do if if they test positive for COVID-19.
“At this point, it’s safe to say that COVID isn’t going anywhere, and as the virus continues to change and evolve, the way we protect each other continues to do the same,” said David Howard, director of health for New Hanover County . “These new guidelines underscore the fact that we’re doing things right and if we continue to take precautions where needed and stay current with our community levels, we can continue to make positive progress.”
In particular, the CDC recognizes that high levels of immunity to vaccines and infections, along with the availability of other preventive tools, have reduced the risk of serious illness from COVID-19. Individuals should understand their risk factors and how best to protect themselves. The CDC is moving away from the emphasis on social distancing and focusing on providing information about treatment options, better ventilation practices, and awareness of high-risk environments. Individuals are also encouraged to keep their vaccinations and booster shots up to date to provide the best possible protection.
For those exposed to COVID:
- Take immediate precautions, like wearing a mask for 10 full days.
- Take a test 5 days after your exposure, regardless of symptoms. If negative, continue precautionary measures for 5 days. If positive, follow isolation instructions.
- Quarantine, regardless of vaccination status, is no longer required.
For those who have tested positive for COVID-19:
- If you have no symptoms, Day 0 is the day you were tested and you should stay home and isolate for at least 5 days.
- If symptoms appear, the isolation time will reset to 0 on the day the symptoms start and you must isolate for at least 5 days.
- If you develop a moderate or severe illness such as shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, require hospitalization or have a compromised immune system, isolation should be done by day 10.
- After the isolation period, masks should be worn until day 10 or until you test negative twice, with 48 hours between tests.
Click here to read the CDC’s latest guidance.
The Pandemic Operations Center continues to offer resources including COVID-19 vaccines, boosters and testing. Community members are also encouraged to pick up free tests and masks to take home during business hours at 1507 Greenfield Street in Wilmington.
Initial vaccines and booster shots are available throughout the week at the Pandemic Operations Center (1507 Greenfield Street). Appointments are recommended but not required and can be arranged at TakeMyShot.NC.gov. Vaccines and booster shots are available on the following days and times:
- Mondays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m
- Tuesdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m
- Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m
- Fridays from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m
The Pandemic Operations Center also offers free quick tests. An appointment is recommended and can be made via this link, but again is not required. Rapid tests are available on the following days and times:
- Wednesdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m
- Fridays from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m
Free COVID-19 testing is also available for people in eligible zip codes thanks to Project ACT, a partnership between NCDHHS and the Rockefeller Foundation. To check eligibility and order tests, visit accesscovidtests.org.
For more information about the Pandemic Operations Center, vaccines, booster shots, or testing, visit Health.NHCGov.com/Coronavirus or call the Pandemic Operations Call Center at 910-798-6800.
Medium COVID-19 community level
According to their weekly review of county-specific data, the CDC has maintained New Hanover County at a moderate COVID-19 community level. Recommended precautions for this stage include speaking to a healthcare provider if you are at high risk about recommended mask wearing and eligibility for treatment, being fully vaccinated and refreshed, and being tested for COVID if you develop symptoms or before coming into contact with a high-risk individual. The CDC also recommends having a plan for rapid testing and following current quarantine and isolation guidelines when needed. The use of masks at this community level is optional. The CDC plans to update community levels weekly so residents can check the CDC website here for the current level of community impact.
COVID-19 community data as of August 19:
- New Hanover County’s percent positivity over the past 7 days is 18.7 percent (this represents positive molecular testing (PCR) as a percentage of all PCR tests performed statewide).
- About 64 percent of New Hanover County residents are considered fully vaccinated with either two doses of Pfizer or Moderna or one dose of J&J.
- As of March 1, 2020, New Hanover County has had 58,357 confirmed cases of COVID-19, resulting in 409 deaths.
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