With the new surges in COVID-19 cases across the country and more locally, the Delta variant spreading, the CDC has recently updated its guidelines for those who are vaccinated and unvaccinated.
Last week, Ballad Health reported 72 positive COVID-19 cases which was a significant increase from the 49 positive patients last week and the region’s testing positivity rate has climbed up to 12.4%; a jump from only 3.4% in early July. Also, since March, 95% of the COVID-19 related deaths have been patients with no history of COVID-19 vaccination or an incomplete vaccine dose. Similarly, 95% of COVID-19 patients admitted to Ballad Health are under the same circumstances. None of this is good news and the updated CDC Guidelines are a reflection to types of numbers.
The guidelines, such as wearing masks and maintaining social distancing, for persons who have not fully completed obtaining a COVID-19 vaccine remain the same. The big difference is the recommendations for those who are fully vaccinated. These new recommendations for the fully vaccinated include wear a mask in public indoor settings in areas of substantial or high transmission. They also recommend fully vaccinated people choose to wear a mask regardless of the level of transmission, particularly if they are immunocompromised or at increased risk for severe disease from COVID-19, or if they have someone in their household who is immunocompromised, at increased risk of severe disease or not fully vaccinated.
An added recommendation is for fully vaccinated people who have a known exposure to someone with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 to be tested 3-5 days after exposure, and to wear a mask in public indoor settings for 14 days or until they receive a negative test result. The CDC also recommends universal indoor masking for all teachers, staff, students, and visitors to schools, regardless of vaccination status.
It looks like the “New Normal” we are waiting on has still not been defined so everyone stay diligent and safe in whatever means you feel is best as we look forward to better days.