This figure is a graphic describing guidance to help you make informed decisions to prevent severe COVID-19. This includes four steps: know your risk, protect yourself, take action if exposed, and take action if you are sick or test positive.

Summary of Guidelines for Minimizing the Impact of COVID-19 on Individuals, Communities and Healthcare Systems – United States, August 2022

COVID-19 prevention strategies

Monitor COVID-19 community levels to guide COVID-19 prevention efforts. People can use information about the current level of impact of COVID-19 on their community to determine which prevention behaviors to use and when (at all times or at specific times), based on their risk of severe illness and those of their family members. risk tolerance, and specific factors. The CDC’s COVID-19 community levels reflect the current impact of COVID-19 on communities and identify geographic areas that may experience increases in severe COVID-19-related outcomes, based on hospitalization rates, hospital bed occupancy, and the incidence of COVID-19 during previous period period *** (1). Prevention recommendations based on community levels of COVID-19 have clear goals of reducing medically important diseases and reducing stress on the health care system. At all levels of the COVID-19 community (low, medium, and high), recommendations emphasize keeping up with vaccination, improved ventilation, testing of symptomatic people who have been exposed, and isolation of infected people. At the average community level for COVID-19, recommended strategies include adding protections for people at high risk of developing severe disease (for example, the use of masks or respirators that provide a higher level of protection for the wearer). At the high community level for COVID-19, additional recommendations focus on all people who wear masks in public and increase protections for high-risk populations.††† As SARS-CoV-2 continues to spread, changes in the jurisdiction’s COVID-19 community levels help indicate when some prevention strategies should be used to be stopped or increased, based on an individual’s risk of serious illness or the family level. or social contacts. COVID-19 community levels provide a broad framework for public health officials and jurisdictions to use and adapt as needed based on the local context by combining local information to assess the need for public health interventions.

Non-pharmaceutical interventions. Implementing multiple prevention strategies helps protect individuals and communities from exposure to SARS-CoV-2 and reduce the risk of medically significant disease and death by reducing the risk of infection (Table). Implementation of multiple non-pharmaceutical preventive interventions can complement the use of vaccines and therapies, especially as community levels of COVID-19 increase and among people at risk of serious illness. The CDC’s COVID-19 prevention recommendations no longer differentiate based on a person’s vaccination status because superinfections occur, although they are generally mild (16), and people who have had COVID-19 but have not been vaccinated have some degree of protection against severe illness from previous infection (17). In addition to strategies recommended at all levels of the COVID-19 community, education and messages to help individuals understand their risk of exposure to a medically significant disease complement recommendations for risk-based prevention strategies.

Test for current infection. Diagnostic testing can identify infection early so that infected people can take action to reduce the risk of transmitting the virus and receive treatment, if clinically indicated, to reduce the risk of severe illness and death. All people should seek testing for active infection when they have symptoms or if they have known or suspected exposure to a person with COVID-19. When considering whether and where screening testing will be implemented for asymptomatic people with no known exposure, public health officials may consider prioritizing high-risk gathering environments, such as long-term care facilities, homeless shelters, correctional facilities, and venue settings. Work involving communities. Housing with limited access to medical care.§§§ In these types of high-risk pooled environments, screening testing may complement diagnostic testing of symptomatic people by identifying asymptomatic infected persons (18And the19). When implemented, screening test strategies should include all people, regardless of vaccination status. Screening tests may not be cost-effective in general community settings, especially if the prevalence of COVID-19 is low (20And the21).

Isolation. Persons showing symptoms or who are infected should be isolated immediately, and infected persons should remain in isolation for 5 days and wear an appropriate, high quality mask or respirator if they must be around others. Infected people may finish isolation after 5 days, only when they have been without fever for 24 hours without medication and all other symptoms have improved, and should continue to wear a mask or respirator around others at home and in public through day 10¶¶¶ (appearance) (22And the23). People who have access to antigen tests and who choose to use the test to determine when they can stop masking should wait for the first test until at least the sixth day they are without fever for 24 hours without using antipyretic drugs and all other symptoms have improved. Using two antigen tests with 48 hours between tests provides more reliable information due to the improved test sensitivity (24). Two consecutive test results must be negative in order for people to stop masking. If either test result is positive, people should continue to wear the mask around others and continue testing every 48 hours until they have two consecutive negative results. ****

Management of exposures to SARS-CoV-2. The CDC now recommends case investigation and contact tracing only in health care settings and some high-risk pooled environments.†††† In all other circumstances, public health efforts can focus on notifying the case and providing information and resources to vulnerable people about access to testing. People who have recently had confirmed or suspected exposure to an infected person should wear a mask for 10 days around others when indoors in public and should get tested 5 days after exposure (or earlier, if they have symptoms), regardless about their vaccination status.§§§§ In view of the high population levels of anti-SARS-CoV-2 seroprevalence (7And the16), and to limit the social and economic impacts, quarantine of exposed persons is no longer recommended, regardless of vaccination status.

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