Norfolk County COVID-19 Community level is now at High risk

COVID-19

Sunday 5/15/2022

We remain in the HIGH level of community transmission today here in Norfolk County, along with multiple other counties within the state. The cases are coming fast and furious  (increased numbers of PCR testing being done)- only PCR tests are reported to the state for calculation of the positivity rate and the current recommendation is home testing- so we could surmise that the positivity rate is drastically under reported. THERE IS NO REPORTING NEEDED FOR HOME TESTING (unless you have a school aged child - then please report to the schools).

There are slight increases in hospitalizations, inpatient bed needs, intubations and intensive care bed utilization. Deaths remain low. Of concern, is the wastewater data which gives us a look 10-14 days into the future and there has been almost a vertical climb in the amount of RNA found- we are now at the level seen in January. Positivity rates have creeped upward and today are > 8.5% - but have been holding in this area for the last 3 days.

These are the sites where everyone can follow along for metrics:

MWRA - Wastewater COVID-19 Tracking

COVID-19 Response Reporting | Mass.gov

https://covid.cdc.gov/covid-data-tracker/#county-view?list_select_state=Massachusetts&data-type=CommunityLevels&list_select_county=25021&null=

THERE IS NO TOWNWIDE MASK MANDATE IN PLACE- HOWEVER, the new Omicron variant BA.2.12.1 is currently overspreading our area- accounting for about half of the cases testing positive at the beinning of the week (again through PCR). Please remember, that even if you have recently had COVID, you may still become infected again with the new variant and PLEASE test/ take precautions if you develop symptoms!

 

PLEASE REMEMBER THAT ANY PRIVATE BUSINESS, SCHOOL OR HOUSE OF WORSHIP CAN MAKE MORE STRINGENT GUIDELINES!

These are the recommendations from the Sharon Board of Health:

When Norfolk County COVID-19 Community level is HIGH:

  • We strongly recommend that everyone two years of age and older wear a well-fitting, high-quality mask indoors in public, regardless of vaccination status.
  • If you are immunocompromised or at high risk of severe illness, we recommend you wear a mask or respirator (e.g., a N95 or KN95) and consider additional precautions, such as avoiding nonessential indoor activities. Talk with your individual health care provider about what additional precautions you should take.
  • If you live with someone or have frequent contact with someone who is at high risk of severe illness, we recommend you consider self-testing prior to contact and consider wearing a high-quality mask when indoors with them.
  • Have a plan for rapid testing (e.g., have home tests on hand or access to local testing sites).
  • When spending time in a crowded or densely populated indoor setting, we recommend wearing a well-fitting mask.

 

Ongoing Recommendations:

  • Stay home if sick!
  • Wash hands frequently and with exuberance!
  • Practice respiratory etiquette (cover coughs or sneezes).
  • Get vaccinated if you are able, get boosted if you are due to stay up to date.
  • Make a plan for testing- rapid at home antigen testing is the easiest and fastest way to get results. They are available at pharmacies, grocery stores, and for free through the US Postal Service- COVID Home Tests | USPS

 

Additional details:

Day zero is the day of a positive test (not when the results of the test were received) for someone who has no symptoms. Day zero is the day symptoms start (for someone who later tests positive).

Once you are positive- isolate at home (sleep in a different room, don’t eat meals together, etc) for 5 days.

If you have the ability to test- do it on day 5- if you are positive, remain at home- in isolation- and retest in 1-2 days. If you do not have the ability to test but are feeling better, symptoms are improving and you have needed no fever reducing medication for over 24 hours, you can return to public with STRICT mask wearing through Day 10.

 

The difference between PCR testing (where you go to a lab or CVS etc) is that the PCR can remain positive for up to 90 days from infection and rapid at home antigen testing is telling you about having enough virus in your body (viral load) to infect someone at that moment and you have the results in approximately 15 minutes.