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Coronavirus literature: Vaccinations, precautions, local case counts, and more

Since the earliest days of the pandemic, the response to coronavirus has varied from person to person, regardless of age, gender, race, and religion. Some people disregarded the severity of COVID-19 and precautionary measures entirely while others found themselves on the opposite end of the spectrum. Of course, yet another group exists—the people “in the middle.” Wherever you find yourself aligned in regard to coronavirus, here’s the latest literature as provided by the CDC in an update last week.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective at preventing COVID-19, including severe illness and death. The CDC also contends these vaccines reduce the risk of people spreading COVID-19 and are effective against variants of the virus that cause coronavirus currently circulating in the United States, including the Delta variant.

In general, people are considered fully vaccinated:

• 2 weeks after their second dose in a 2-dose series such as the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines or

• 2 weeks after a single-dose vaccine such as Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine

If you have been fully vaccinated, you can resume activities that you did prior to the pandemic without wearing a mask or staying 6’ apart, except where required by federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial laws, rules, and regulations, including local business and workplace guidance.

If you travel, you still need to take steps to protect yourself and others. If traveling in the United States, you don’t need to get tested before or after traveling, nor do you need to self-quarantine after travel.

However, you still need to pay close attention to the situation at your international destination before traveling outside the United States; you do not need to get tested before leaving the United States unless your destination requires it, and you still need to show a negative test result or documentation of recovery from COVID-19 before boarding an international flight to the United States. You should still get tested 3-5 days after international travel as well, and you do not need to self-quarantine after arriving in the United States. Masks are required on planes, buses, trains, and other forms of public transportation traveling into, within, or out of the United States and in U.S. transportation hubs such as airports and stations. Travelers are not required to wear a mask in outdoor areas of a conveyance (like on a ferry or the top deck of a bus). The CDC recommends that travelers who are not fully vaccinated continue to wear a mask and maintain physical distance when traveling.

If you’ve been around someone who has COVID-19, you do not need to stay away from others or get tested unless you have symptoms.

However, if you live or work in a correctional or detention facility or a homeless shelter and are around someone who has COVID-19, you should still get tested, even if you don’t have symptoms.

If you are not fully vaccinated and are aged 2 or older, you should wear a mask in indoor public places. In general, you do not need to wear a mask in outdoor settings. In areas with high numbers of COVID-19 cases, consider wearing a mask in crowded outdoor settings and for activities with close contact with others who are not fully vaccinated. People who have a condition or are taking medications that weaken their immune system may not be protected, even if they are fully vaccinated. This group of people, according to the CDC, should continue to take all precautions recommended for the unvaccinated, including wearing a well-fitted mask, until advised otherwise by their healthcare provider.

How you can protect the unvaccinated, at-risk in your life

These are the best ways to protect your child, a child you care for, or someone who cannot get vaccinated yet:

• Get vaccinated yourself. COVID-19 vaccines reduce the risk of people getting and spreading COVID-19.

• If your child is 2 years and older, make sure that your child wears a mask in public settings and takes other actions to protect themselves. (To set an example, you also might choose to wear a mask.)

• If your child is younger than 2 years or cannot wear a mask, limit visits with people who are not vaccinated or whose vaccination status is unknown and keep distance between your child and other people in public.

When you can be around others after you have definitively or likely had COVID-19

The best way to protect yourself and others is to stay home for 14 days if you think you’ve been exposed to someone who has coronavirus. Check the local health department’s website for information about options in your area to possibly shorten this quarantine period. Someone who has been fully vaccinated and shows no symptoms of COVID-19 does not need to stay home.

Also, anyone who has had close contact with someone with COVID-19 and who meets the following criteria does not need to stay home:

• Has had COVID-19 illness within the previous 3 months,

• Has recovered, and

• Remains without COVID-19 symptoms (like coughing and shortness of breath, for example).

People who are severely ill with COVID-19 also might need to stay home longer than 10 days and up to 20 days after symptoms first appeared.

The latest numbers

The conditions in which people live, learn, work, and play can affect a wide range of health risks and outcomes. Differences in the prevalence of many risks and outcomes differ by metropolitan and non-metropolitan areas. Long-standing systemic health and social inequities have reportedly put some rural residents at increased risk of getting or having severe illness from coronavirus. The cumulative death rate in non-metropolitan areas has exceeded that of metropolitan areas since December 2020.

Emanuel’s local active numbers have been creeping up in the last few weeks. On June 28, there were 2 active cases of coronavirus here. That number held on July 6, then rose to 6 on July 12. On July 19, the active case count had increased to 18.

In the latest update, provided by the county commission on Facebook every week, this week’s active cases stood at 28 on Monday, July 25. That same update indicates a total of 2,632 confirmed cases since the beginning of local tracking; 2,512 of those patients have recovered. Emanuel logs 92 deaths related to COVID-19 since that time as well.

The board of commissioners works jointly with Emanuel Medical Center, East Georgia Healthcare Center, and Emanuel County Health Department to provide these weekly updates.

Prior to the July 19 active case count of 18, the last time Emanuel had an active case count of 10 or more was March 24.

The local active case count reached a peak of 224, according to a January 7 update.

In late January, the board of commissioners began releasing vaccination updates for Emanuel as well. So far, as of the latest update on July 6, there have been 5,069 first-round vaccines issued, followed by another 4,632 second rounds. Another 225 rounds of Johnson & Johnson vaccinations have been administered here as well.

To receive these weekly updates, follow the Emanuel County Board of Commissioners and turn on your notifications.

In the meantime, look to The Chronicle to provide substantial updates and developments related to the coronavirus pandemic.

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