The following is a press release issued by Mendocino County Public Health
California and the nation have ended many COVID Emergency Orders, and many people and institutions are wondering what to do. Mendocino County has no current COVID Orders, and no new orders are planned after receiving feedback from clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, and the general public.
Public Health has used the best scientific evidence to preserve the health of our communities. Orders were required when the pandemic was raging and healthcare resources were threatened. But COVID rates have fallen into the range of a bad year for influenza, for which we do not write general orders. Nevertheless, no one size fits all and for those who are vulnerable, or who live with or care for more vulnerable people, additional precautions can and should be taken.
So, what are the current recommendations to avoid COVID, long COVID, and hopefully another pandemic?
I. Staying current with all vaccines and boosters is the best way to stay free of COVID. These are no longer required except for a primary series for Health Care Workers. The new boosters are more effective than the old and are recommended for all, especially those who are immune compromised, very young (to 6 months old), older, pregnant, new parents, houseless, in congregate living, and/or have underlying illnesses.
II. Masks are very effective at preventing all respiratory illnesses. Vulnerable people should consider masks always, while others should consider them in indoor public places such as transportation hubs, shelters, and correctional facilities. Individuals should use recommendations based on the CDC Community Level (posted on the County’s website) to help decide when to mask up. Health Care Workers should use CDC Transmission Levels to help make similar decisions. People who have any symptoms of respiratory illness should mask to protect others, though children under 2 years old and some others are exempt. Those who work should check with their employers for additional CalOSHA requirements at work.
III. Improve hygiene behaviors (handwashing, cleaning surfaces, covering coughs) and increase ventilation to clear the air of germs.
IV. Testing is recommended within a day after a close contact with an infected person. If the test is negative, a mask is recommended for 5 days, but no quarantine is needed. Health care workers should test negative on days 1, 3, and 5 – but do not have to lose work.
V. A person is infectious if their COVID test is positive and should isolate (from work, school, and gatherings) for 5 days. To get a prescription for PAXLOVID, they could call their provider or Sesamecare at 833-686-5057 to get a free prescription. This treatment shortens the course of the illness and decreases the risks of transmission and Long COVID. If symptoms are resolving and fever is resolved for 24 hours without using fever reducing medication, they may end isolation after day 5 (without a test), but should continue to wear a high quality mask until the 10th day. If they do not test, they may return to work/school after 10 days. If two tests on different days are negative they may return to usual activities after 5 days as above without a mask.