With the increasing number of cases of COVID-19 in Massachusetts and the high risk of infection in most parts of the state, it may be time to revise the quarantine guidelines.
What should you do if you have a positive COVID-19 test?
The latest anti-virus guideline, published on the Massachusetts Department of Public Health’s website, is based primarily on two factors – how long a positive test result has been and whether or not the action you want to take will allow you to wear the mask.
If your test is positive, you should stay at home and be in isolation for at least the first five days. If you have never had any symptoms or your symptoms are getting better, you can briefly describe the usual actions you can take on the 6th day to wear a mask. You must wear the mask for a full 10 days in front of others, including those who live with you.
If you can’t wear a mask or the action you want doesn’t allow you to wear a mask, you should stay home and be isolated for 10 days. If you have never had any symptoms or your symptoms are getting better, you can resume your normal activities on the 11th day. You will still be advised to wear a mask in front of others in your home for 10 days.
This guideline is similar to whether or not you have been vaccinated against COVID-19.
How do I count the days to isolate?
- Day 0 of isolation should be the first day of symptoms OR the day before your positive test, whichever is earlier.
- Days 1-4 are days of strict isolation if you do not go out for medical attention.
- Day 5 is the last day of isolation.
- Day 6, you can get out of isolation if you wear a mask.
- Day 11 is the day to get out of isolation without a mask.
The mass notes that DPH may be circumstances in which under certain conditions children may be allowed to return early to school or health care. More about this here.
What if I get sick with COVID-19?
The instructions here vary depending on your vaccination status. If you are in close contact with someone who has tested positive for the virus and you are aware of COVID-19 vaccination, you do not need quarantine, but you should wear a mask with others for 10 days, including at home. You should also get a rapid antigen or PCR test on day 5, or if symptoms occur. If your test is positive, follow the isolation instructions. If you are unable to wear the mask, you should be quarantined for 10 days after contact and follow the same test instructions as above.
If you are in close contact and you have not been updated or vaccinated against COVID-19, it is recommended that you be quarantined for five days after infection, including at home, wearing a mask. For another five days after the quarantine period, it is recommended to wear a mask with others, including at home. If you cannot wear a mask, extend the quarantine to 10 days. You should check on day 5, or if symptoms appear. If you do not take the test on day 5, you must be quarantined for a full 10 days.
When should I seek emergency medical care?
The CDC recommends that you review the following emergency warning signs * for COVID-19:
- difficulty breathing
- Persistent pain or pressure in bed
- new chaos
- Inability to wake up or wake up
- Gray, gray or blue skin, lips or nail beds, depending on skin color
* This list is not all possible symptoms. Contact your healthcare provider for severe or other symptoms that concern you.
Boston’s top doctors will discuss cases of COVID in Massachusetts, the BA.2.12.1 omicron sub-variant, and whether masks for high-risk communities should be required in the NBC10 Boston weekly COVID Q&A series.
When do I have to take the test?
The CDC identifies several test scenarios – if you have symptoms, you have a person with COVID-19 (as mentioned above) or if you are going to an indoor event or large gathering. The latter is especially important when visiting people who are particularly at risk, the elderly, people with weakened immune systems, or young children who have not been vaccinated against COVID-19 vaccines.
What are the symptoms of COVID-19?
COVID-19 can be seen in a variety of ways. Here are the most common symptoms. Symptoms may appear 2 to 14 days after infection.
- fever or chills
- Difficulty breathing or breathing
- to be tired
- Muscle or body aches
- Head pain
- New loss of taste or smell
- sore throat
- Turning or runny nose
- nausea or vomiting
On the last COVID-19 in Massachusetts
All but three of the 14 counties in Massachusetts are now considered high-risk for COVID-19, according to the latest Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
COVID levels observed on the Massachusetts Department of Public Health’s interactive coronavirus chart have declined since the rise in omicron, but the number of cases and hospitalizations have begun to rise again.
State health officials reported 5,576 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday. At the end of January, more than 5,000 new cases were recorded in one day. The state’s seven-day average rose to 8.24% on Thursday from 7.89% on Wednesday. The number of new COVID-19 cases in Massachusetts schools has also increased significantly, up 62.6% in the past week.
What about the rest of New England?
The entire state of New Hampshire is now considered a high or medium threat. Grafton, Rockingham, and Sullivan counties are at high risk, while the rest of the state is at medium risk.
In Vermont, Essex County, the risk remains low. Addison, Bennington, Chittenden, Franklin, Orange, Rutland, Washington and Windsor are at high risk, while Caledonia, Grand Isle, Lamoil, Orleans and Windham are at moderate risk.
Maine’s four counties — Arostuk, Hancock, Penobskot, and Piskatikis — are considered high-risk, while the remaining states are medium-risk.
In Connecticut, Hartford, Litchfield, Middlesex, New Haven, Tolland and Windham counties, the risk is high, while Fairfield and New London are in the medium risk category.
All of Rhode Island remains in the medium risk category for the second week.
According to the CDC, residents in high-risk areas are encouraged to wear masks in public places and on public transport, get acquainted with vaccines, and get tested if they have symptoms.
Residents of medium-risk areas are advised to wear a mask if they have symptoms, a positive test, or a person with COVID-19. Everyone at high risk of contracting a serious illness should wear a mask in public and take extra precautions, the CDC said.
Most of the cases in New England are now associated with the “hidden” omicron variant BA.2, although the incidence of BA.2.12.1 subvariant is still increasing. Rising cases in South Africa and elsewhere have raised concerns that the United States may soon launch another wave of COVID-19.
Despite the increasing number of cases here, Massachusetts and other New England states have not taken any steps to restore soft mask mandates or other COVID-related restrictions after the January omicron fuel boom.