Earlier this week, the coronavirus case rate per 100,000 residents over seven days exceeded 200, which is the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention threshold to move a community into a “medium” COVID-19 level. As reported COVID-19 cases are increasing locally and statewide, the Erie County Department of Health is sharing CDC safety recommendations.
“We have the tools to protect ourselves and each other from COVID-19: masking, testing – including at-home tests – if you have a known COVID-19 exposure or symptoms, and staying home and away from others when ill,” Commissioner of Health Dr. Gale Burstein said. “These measures are especially important to protect people who are most vulnerable to serious COVID-19 illness, like those who are not fully vaccinated or boosted, and people who have immunocompromising conditions, including older adults and pregnant women.”
“Throughout the pandemic, household COVID-19 transmission has been an incredibly common occurrence,” she continued. “With family and religious gatherings this weekend and this month, and the end of a vacation or travel week for many, we are asking all residents to consider the COVID-19 risks for themselves and their loved ones, and take steps to reduce those risks.”
In communities with a medium COVID-19 level, individual- and household-level COVID-19 prevention strategies include:
√ If you are immunocompromised or high risk for severe disease:
•Talk to your health care provider about whether you need to wear a mask and take other precautions (e.g., testing)
•Have a plan for rapid testing, if needed (e.g., having home tests or access to testing)
•Talk to your health care provider about whether you are a candidate for treatments like oral antivirals, PrEP, and monoclonal antibodies
√ If you have a household or social contact with someone at high risk for severe disease:
•Consider self-testing to detect infection before contact
•Consider wearing a mask when indoors with them
√ Stay up to date with COVID-19 vaccines and boosters
√ Maintain improved ventilation throughout indoor spaces when possible
√ Follow CDC recommendations for isolation and quarantine, including getting tested if you are exposed to the coronavirus or have symptoms.
“From a public health perspective, we are doing all we can to ensure access to vaccines, testing and treatment,” Burstein said. “While total COVID-19 case numbers are rising, current local hospitalizations and deaths have not increased substantially. Available COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective and contributing to keeping our COVID-19 hospitalization numbers down. Though a majority of eligible people in Erie County have completed a vaccine series, a significant proportion have not. And we still have more to do to encourage booster doses, which strengthen that protection even further.”