General COVID-19 Frequently Asked QuestionS
Disclaimer: The guidance provided in our FAQ is ONLY applicable to the GENERAL PUBLIC.
Isolation and Quarantine Guidance provided is not applicable to the following institutions: Long-Term Care, Detention Centers/Jails, or Local School System.
***WEDCO District Health Department has discontinued the issuance of release letters. If a written document is required for schools or employers, it is suggested that a copy of a positive lab or statement from the testing physician’s office be provided instead of a release letter.***
What are COVID Symptoms?
People with COVID-19 have had a wide range of symptoms reported – ranging from mild symptoms to severe illness. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. People with these symptoms may have COVID-19:
- Fever or chills
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Muscle or body aches
- New loss of taste or smell
- Sore throat
- Congestion or runny nose
- Nausea or vomiting
- Nose bleeds (In some reported cases locally)
For more Information: https://bit.ly/37Rd5F5
When to Seek Medical Attention
If someone is showing any of these signs, seek emergency medical care immediately:
- Trouble breathing
- Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
- New confusion
- Inability to wake or stay awake
- Pale, gray, or blue-colored skin, lips, or nail beds, depending on skin tone
Please call your medical provider for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning to you. Call 911 or call ahead to your local emergency facility: Notify the operator that you are seeking care for someone who has or may have COVID-19.
For more Information: https://bit.ly/37Rd5F5
What is the difference between Isolation versus Quarantine?
- People who test positive for COVID-19 are asked to complete a minimum of 5-day isolation if they have never had symptoms. Isolation means staying at home and away from other people. This includes any household members. The CDC recommends staying in a specific room and away from other people as much as possible in your home. If possible, you should use a separate bathroom and bedroom to sleep. If you need to be around other people in or outside of the home, wear a mask. The CDC recommends that If you still have symptoms after isolating for five days, you should stay home until you have been fever-free for 24 hours without medication assistance.
- Those exposed to a positive person are asked to complete at minimum a 5-day quarantine starting from the last date of exposure. Exposure means being within 6 feet for a combined total of 15 minutes or more of an infected person. Guidelines for self-quarantine means staying home, monitoring your health, and maintaining social distancing (at least 6 feet) from others at all times. If in doubt, the best way to protect yourself and others is to stay home for 10 days if you think you’ve been exposed to someone who has COVID-19. *See question “I’ve Been Exposed. What Should I Do?” for the different quarantine recommendations based on vaccination status and timeline.*
More information: https://bit.ly/3j3nnst
Why are isolation recommendations the same for those who are unvaccinated, vaccinated, and boosted?
The science finds anyone who tests positive for COVID-19, regardless of vaccination status, is most infections for approximately the same amount of time. Data from the Omicron variant confirmed that breakthrough infections produce a similar risk of transmission and length of infection compared to infections in unvaccinated individuals. Regardless of vaccination status, the risk of spreading COVID to others is highest in the 1-2 days prior to the onset of symptoms and the 2-3 days after.
Why is only a face mask and not an N95 required to end isolation after 5 days?
Transmission occurs in the 1-2 days prior to the onset of symptoms and the 2-3 days after. Wearing a well-fitted face mask following isolation will decrease the risk of spreading the virus to others.
Why are the recommendations for quarantine different for those who are fully vaccinated and those who are boosted?
The science supports that those boosted or those less than 6 months out from their second dose (or less than 2 months from the Johnson & Johnson vaccine) have the highest level of protection. Research has found protection decreases several weeks after completing a 2-dose mRNA vaccination, but increases after a booster dose. Given the increased protection following a booster dose, those who receive a booster are at lower risk of catching and spreading COVID-19 to others after exposure.
Do I need to wear a mask at home following an exposure (or during isolation and in the 5 days following)?
The CDC has always recommended that during periods of quarantine (and isolation) all members of the household should wear a well-fitted mask, even inside the home. If possible, one member of the household should care for the person who is in quarantine (or isolation) to limit exposures. This is especially important for those inside the home who are unvaccinated, vaccinated and not yet boosted, or immunocompromised. Following exposure (or during isolation and in the 5 days following), individuals MUST wear a mask for the remaining 5-days.
Do I have to quarantine after exposure to a positive person?
The CDC recommends that anyone who comes into close contact with someone who has COVID-19 should get tested at least five days after exposure (exposure is less than 6 ft. more than 15 minutes), or sooner if you develop symptoms. The CDC also recommends different courses of action after exposure, depending on vaccination status and timeframe from the last dose:
- If you are unvaccinated, or if you are eligible to be boosted and have not yet received your booster, the CDC recommends that you quarantine alone and away from others for at least five days. After a five-day quarantine period, you must wear a mask around others for five additional days, and get tested for COVID-19.
- ESSENTIAL WORKER GUIDANCE: If quarantine is not possible, it is critical to wear a well-fitted mask at all times when around others for 10 days after exposure. If you develop symptoms at any point within ten days after exposure, get a test and stay home.
- If you have been boosted, or have been fully vaccinated and are not yet eligible to be boosted, the CDC recommends that you wear a mask around others for 10 days, but you need not quarantine unless you develop symptoms. Testing is recommended on day 5.
Does mask use determine if someone is considered a close contact and need to quarantine?
- BOTH PARTIES WEARING MASK = Quarantine NOT REQUIRED
- NO MASK (EITHER PARTY) DURING EXPOSURE = QUARANTINE REQUIRED
When should I get tested? (Suspected exposure to COVID-19)
- Symptoms can develop 2-14 days after exposure to an infected person. If you develop symptoms of COVID-19, please seek testing.
- If you are asymptomatic, you should test 5 days from your last exposure to see if you may be positive. WEDCO offers testing Monday through Friday from 8:00 AM – 4:30 PM at Harrison and Scott County. Testing is available Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday from 8:00 AM – 4:30 PM at our Nicholas County location. Testing is closed from 12:00 – 1:00 PM at all locations.
I’ve been exposed. What should I do?
Quarantine guidance is different for those who are fully vaccinated/boosted and those who are unvaccinated/eligible to receive a booster dose. The following guidance is best practice for stopping the spread of COVID among others, especially those who are unvaccinated.
- Self-quarantine at home. Self-Quarantine means as much as possible, stay in a specific room and away from other people in your home, and do not allow visitors. If possible, you should use a separate bathroom and bedroom. If you need to be around other people in or outside of the home, wear a mask.
- If you develop symptoms of COVID-19, get tested.
- Regardless of symptoms and vaccination status, testing is recommended 5 days from the last exposure to an infected person.
Current CDC protocols for quarantine are as follows:
have been boosted
Have not received booster at recommended timeframe. (See vaccination section for recommended timeframe)
*Vaccinated mean completed 2-dose series of Pfizer within the last 5 months, Moderna within the last 5 months, or received J&J dose with last 2 months.
Can I work if I’m a contact to a positive case?
- Yes, if you are fully vaccinated, boosted, and symptom-free you may work under the condition you wear PPE (facemask) 100% of the time during work hours for 10-days.
- Those unvaccinated or eligible to be boosted are REQUIRED to complete a minimum 5-day quarantine, followed by five additional days wearing a mask. You can return to work on day six if you have been 24 hours fever-free without medication assistance on day five.
- Testing is recommended on day five. Testing may be done sooner if symptomatic. If at any time during the five days you develop symptoms of COVID-19, you should stay home until symptoms resolve.
*** Please consult your employer about their current COVID-19 guidelines and arrange a return to work date.
I’ve tested positive. Who should I notify about exposure?
In addition to isolating, you should contact people you have been in close contact with, which the CDC defines as someone who was less than six feet from you for at least 15 minutes. If you have had symptoms, you should notify all the people you had close contact with, starting from two days prior to the onset of symptoms up until you tested positive and began isolating. If you are asymptomatic, you should notify all of your close contacts within the two days leading up to your positive test. ** WEDCO District Health Department has discontinued the issuance of release letters.**
Guide on How to Talk to Your Close Contacts: https://bit.ly/3CWhMMn
How do I count my 5 days? (Positives or Close Contacts)
- Positives: Isolation starts when you first start symptoms. If symptom-free, your 5-days start the day of the COVID test. Patients must isolate completely through their 5th day. Return to work/normal activities can resume on the 6th day if symptoms have improved and fever-free for at least 24-hours. Release from isolation must be followed by wearing a well-fitted mask for an additional 5-days.
- If you were symptomatic at the time of the testing, the latest guidance asks you to isolate for 10 days. Should your symptoms resolve at day 5, you can be released and wear a mask for the additional 5 days.
- Contacts: The following situation applies only to those fully vaccinated, boosted, and symptom-free. Day ONE of quarantine starts the day you were last exposed to a COVID-positive person. If you were last exposed on the 1st your last day of quarantine will be the 5th. Return to normal activities can start on the 6th, but must be followed by wearing a mask for 5 additional days. If you develop symptoms get a test and stay at home. To view the complete quarantine guidance by vaccinations status, see the “I’ve been exposed. What should I do?”.
**CDC guidance requires those exposed or who tested positive to wear a mask for 10 days regardless of vaccination status.** Latest Guidance: https://bit.ly/318yyK1
I’m a Daycare or Business needing to report a Positive. Who do we contact?
Day Care Facilities:
- If you need to report a positive case at your facility, please follow our phone prompts to reach the COVID-19 phone line. 859-234-8750 (Dial 1; Then 2)
- If you wish to report an employee who tested positive for COVID-19, please follow our phone prompts to reach the contact tracing team at 859-234-8750 (Dial 1, Then 2).
- Guidance on measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19 for staff and visitors is available at the state website: kycovid19.ky.gov
- Minimum Guidance (All Entities) as of July 2021: https://bit.ly/2YfCd75
General Guidance for Employers:
- Employees who have a fever and/or symptoms of COVID-19 should be directed to a health care provider to be tested and instructed to isolate at home until they receive their test result. This includes employees who passed a temperature and health check prior to reporting to work but became ill during the course of the day. Sick employees who are not tested for COVID-19 may return when after 10 days.
*** WEDCO does not issue return to work documentation for those self-quarantining awaiting test results. Employees are responsible for notifying employers of exposure to an infected person and arranging a return to work date. WEDCO has also discontinued issuing return to work documentation for positive patients and their immediate household members. Please accept the positive lab report as confirmation that your employee should be isolating.