Who would have thought we would still be writing about, talking about, dealing with, and continuing to be just sick of COVID-19 still in 2022? This is not how we wanted to start our New Year, but working together and supporting our members as the pandemic continues is a priority for us.
No member has been untouched by COVID; whether it’s your staff or their families or friends, everyone seems to have a COVID-19 story. The calls for assistance here at NHADA headquarters have diminished somewhat, but we know it’s not because you aren’t dealing with COVID; it’s because we have all become somewhat experts on it.
On Jan. 6, 2022, the NH Department of Health and Human Services Division of Public Health Services Bureau of Infectious Disease Control released updated Isolation and Quarantine Recommendations for the General Public. These guidelines are available here:
The State of NH did not go with the CDC Guidelines exactly; some areas are different. The biggest difference is with quarantine guides. According to the CDC, persons who are unvaccinated or not “up to date” on receiving all recommended COVID-19 vaccine doses (including booster shots) should quarantine for at least five days. Then, they should wear a well-fitting face mask for an additional five days when around other people at home or in public locations after exposure to someone with COVID-19. In contrast to the CDC, the State of NH guidelines recommend quarantine only for household contact exposures. The state recommends everyone exposed to COVID-19 seek testing five days after the exposure. The CDC recommendations are here:
Business owners are reminded that the Isolation and Quarantine Recommendations for the General Public are what we all should be following to limit the spread of COVID-19 but remember, you can do more. Use these as the minimum guideline and consider going further; consider doing more. A business can choose to be more conservative and use the CDC guidelines. You can consider mask mandates, and you can choose to add other mitigation measures to your business. We can always do more, but we should never do less.
Another big change is using the term “fully vaccinated.” That is no longer a term used per the CDC and the state. The new term is “up to date.” All the recommendations now refer to “unvaccinated” or “up to date” people. An up-to-date person has received all recommended vaccine doses, including the booster shots. If the person is not considered “up to date,” they will be recommended to follow the same recommendations as the “unvaccinated” person.
With the availability of home test kits, a challenge has arisen with the state gathering numbers. At the recent governor’s press conference, it was shared that if people test at home and find themselves positive for COVID-19 but do not report this status to their healthcare provider or the state, the number of positive cases will no longer be accurate. If you have symptoms of COVID-19 and seek testing, you should always keep your healthcare provider in the loop. Treatment options for COVID-19 aim to keep people out of the hospital, but most need to be initiated before day five of illness. Informing your healthcare provider of a positive result from a home test may be the link you need to a treatment option. Here is a recent article on home test kits:
The CDC recommends right now that if you have symptoms of a cold, the flu, or COVID-19, you should assume it’s COVID-19 until found not to be. This is a good reminder that these illnesses are all so similar. Testing can be a challenge with the limited availability of rapid home tests and the long lines you may encounter to get a PCR test. Even if you are found not to have COVID-19 but are ill, stay home and take care of yourself. COVID-19 is taxing employers to the max with staffing issues, but going to work with the flu or a bad cold can also lead to more lost days from work. The best guide is to stay home if you are sick and always keep your healthcare provider in the loop.
As always, we are here for all your COVID-19 questions and concerns. Please don’t hesitate to reach out. Keeping up to date on the latest COVID-19 information is a priority for us to assist our members during this difficult time.