MONTGOMERY, Ala. – Cases, hospitalizations and deaths from COVID-19 have declined greatly in Alabama. However, it is unknown if the BA.2 subvariant or other emerging variants may escape the immune’s systems response from either a previous COVID-19 infection or vaccine-induced protection. If so, mitigation measures such as masking and physical distancing will again be needed.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently announced a change to Community Levels from the previous Community Transmission to streamline public knowledge about which and when individuals should consider masking. Community levels for COVID-19 can be viewed at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/science/community-levels.html.
The guidance for isolation and quarantine have not changed. Isolation and quarantine help protect the public by preventing exposure to people who have or may have a contagious disease. These practices have resulted in reducing the number of people infected and the number of deaths from COVID-19. To simplify guidance, the CDC has developed a new COVID-19 Quarantine and Isolation (Q&I) Calculator at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/your-health/quarantine-isolation.html.
CDC created this calculator to take the stress out of figuring when, and for how long, people with COVID-19 and close contacts need to stay home, get tested and wear a well-fitting mask. The Q&I Calculator provides important information about what precautions people with COVID-19 and their close contacts can take to protect loved ones and slow the spread of the virus in their communities.
The CDC states that this online, mobile-friendly calculator provides an easy-to-use way to help people follow CDC’s quarantine and isolation guidance and get customized information to address their unique situation. It can be used by individuals, healthcare providers, businesses and organizations that are managing COVID-19 cases and close contact exposures.
The CDC advises the public that the Q&I Calculator is not for people with COVID-19 who are moderately or severely ill or those who have a weakened immune system (immunocompromised). Parents of children in K-12 schools and early child care and education programs, and people in high-risk congregate and healthcare settings should refer to CDC recommendations for COVID-19 Quarantine and Isolation.
COVID-19 testing can help people determine whether they are infected, regardless of whether they have symptoms. The Alabama Department of Public Health reminds the public that in-home COVID-19 tests are still available from the federal government at no charge. Every home is eligible to order two sets of four free at-home tests that will be mailed to residences. Ordering information is available at https://www.covidtests.gov/.