Updated December 23, 2022
WCHD COVID CALL CENTER: For questions and reporting positive tests, call: 419-292-6100
It's Cold and Flu Season. Here are Some Prevention Tips to Help Stop the Spread of RSV, Influenza and COVID-19
Help stop the spread of the triple threat of influenza, RSV and COVID-19, which can cause serious illness.
Influenza cases started early and increased rapidly this year. Flu season typically peaks between December and February but can last as long as May.
COVID-19 continues to circulate in our community.
RSV primarily affects young children and vulnerable adults. There was a rapid rise in RSV cases this fall, but we are now seeing declines in cases. RSV is still circulating, however, so prevention is key for RSV as there is no vaccine.
The following measures can help prevent the spread of these illnesses:
Stay home and away from others when you’re not feeling well.
Regular hand washing or hand sanitizing remain very important prevention techniques against many viruses.
Especially if you’re in a particularly vulnerable group, such as those 65 or older, those who are immunocompromised or have serious chronic health conditions, consider wearing a mask in public (N-95 is most helpful) if you may be in a crowded indoor space.
Get vaccinated for influenza and COVID-19. This year’s flu vaccine appears to be accurately targeting the most common types of flu that we’re seeing lead to severe illness. Get yourself and your children vaccinated for the flu and vaccinated or boosted with the COVID-19 vaccine if you haven’t done so already. They are highly effective and vaccination is the safest and most dependable to assure that you’re maximizing your immunity to flu and COVID-19.
Have COVID-19 tests on hand so you can test yourself or your family prior to gatherings or if you have symptoms that could be from COVID. You can obtain free COVID-19 tests by ordering them from covid.gov or you can get them from Wood County Health Department, Wood County Libraries and Wood County Senior Centers.
Contact your healthcare provider right away if you test positive for COVID or think you may have the flu. Antiviral treatments are available for COVID-19 and influenza if administered early. Treatment requires beginning the medication very shortly after starting to experience symptoms.
Bivalent Vaccines for Everyone 6 months and Up
CDC recommends everyone stay up to date with COVID-19 vaccination, including all primary series doses and boosters for their age group:
Ages 6 months through 4 years should get all COVID-19 primary series doses.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued emergency use authorizations (EUAs) for COVID-19 bivalent vaccines. In addition, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) expanded its recommendations to include the use of updated (bivalent) COVID-19 vaccines for children down to age 6 months:
Pfizer-BioNTech (6 months through 4 years) for use as the third dose in the primary series
Moderna (6 months through 5 years) for use as a booster dose.
Children ages 6 months through 4 years who are currently completing a Pfizer primary series will receive a Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 bivalent vaccine for their third dose of the primary series. Children in this age group who completed their 3-dose monovalent Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 primary series are not eligible for the bivalent product at this time.
Ages 5 years and older should get all primary series doses, and COVID-19 boosters if eligible.
For people ages 12 years and older, the only authorized mRNA booster is the updated (bivalent) booster. People ages 12 years and older can no longer get the original (monovalent) mRNA booster.
For people ages 5-11 years, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued emergency use authorizations (EUA) for COVID-19 bivalent vaccine boosters made by Pfizer-BioNTech (5 years through 11 years) and Moderna (6 years through 17 years).
People who are moderately or severely immunocompromised have different recommendations for COVID-19 vaccines, including boosters.
New COVID-19 Booster Provides Better Protection Against New Variant
On September 1, 2022, the CDC issued new recommendations for COVID-19 boosters, after the FDA authorized updated booster formulas from both Pfizer and Moderna.
These new boosters contain an updated bivalent formula that both boosts immunity against the original coronavirus strain and also protects against the newer Omicron variants that account for most of the current cases.
The CDC recommends that everyone ages 12 and up who completed their primary series or received one or two boosters, should get an updated COVID-19 booster this fall to stay up-to-date on vaccinations. They should get the updated booster dose at least two months after their last shot. Eligible individuals can get either the Pfizer or Moderna updated booster, regardless of whether their primary series or most recent dose was with Pfizer, Moderna, Novavax, or the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. At this time, WCHD has received the Pfizer bivalent booster and that will be available at WCHD clinics beginning on September 7, 2022. Appointments are strongly recommended. Walk-ins will be accepted as space allows.
For maximum effectiveness of the updated booster dose, individuals who recently had COVID-19 may consider delaying any COVID-19 vaccination, including the updated booster dose, by 3 months from the start of their symptoms or positive test.
As per the CDC’s recommendations, the new bivalent booster replaces the existing monovalent vaccine booster, therefore that vaccine will no longer be authorized for use as booster doses in people age 12 and up.
The CDC continues to recommend that children age 5 and up get a booster dose at least 5 months after completing their primary series. For this younger age group (children 5-11), the original booster dose formula is still authorized for use.
CDC Updates Quarantine and Isolation Guidance
The CDC has updated its recommendations for quarantine (staying away from others when you have been in close contact with someone with COVID-19) and isolation (staying away from others when you test positive for COVID-19).
If you are exposed to COVID-19, you should wear a high-quality mask for 10 days and get tested on day 5. The CDC no longer recommends quarantining if you are exposed.
If you test positive for COVID-19, or if you’re sick and suspect you have COVID-19 and are awaiting test results, you should isolate from others.
If you test positive for COVID-19, you should isolate from others for at least 5 days.
If you had mild or asymptomatic COVID-19 and are fever-free after 5 days and other symptoms are improving, you can end isolation and wear a high-quality mask through day 10. If you still have a fever or your other symptoms have not improved, continue to isolate until they improve.
If you had moderate or severe COVID-19 or you are immunocompromised, you should isolate through day 10. If you had severe illness or are immune compromised, consult with your health care provider before ending isolation.
You may resume activities without wearing a mask if you have two negative tests, 48 hours apart, on day 6 or later.
If you ended isolation but your COVID-19 symptoms recur or worsen, you should restart your isolation period back to day 0.
In most settings, the CDC also no longer recommends testing for COVID-19 if you are asymptomatic and have no known exposure.
COVID-19 Community Levels
CDC provides guidelines to help communities decide what prevention steps to take based on local COVID cases and hospitalizations. The guidelines use three measures to classify each county’s COVID level as low, medium, or high. Measures include the number of weekly new COVID cases and hospitalizations per 100,000 people and the percent of hospital beds used by COVID patients.
Wood County's current community and recommended prevention measures are highlighted in the dashboard above.