What to Do After Testing Positive for COVID-19 in Massachusetts – NBC Boston

With COVID-19 cases on the rise in Massachusetts and most of the state now considered high-risk for community transmission, it may be time to revisit quarantine guidance.

What should you do if you test positive for COVID-19?

The latest virus quarantine guide, as published in the Massachusetts Department of Public Health websiteIt’s based primarily on two factors: how long it’s been since your positive test result, and whether or not the activity you want to do allows you to wear a mask.

If you test positive, you must stay home and isolate for at least the first five days. If you have never experienced symptoms, or if your symptoms are improving, you can resume most of the normal activities you can do while wearing a mask on day 6. You must wear a mask around other people for a full 10 days, including people you live with.

If you cannot wear a mask, or the activity you want to do does not allow a mask, you must stay home and self-isolate for 10 days. If you have never had symptoms or your symptoms are improving, you can resume normal activities on day 11. You are still encouraged to wear a mask around others in your household for 10 days.

This guidance is the same whether or not you are vaccinated against COVID-19.

How do I count the days to isolate myself?

  • Day 0 of isolation must be the first day of symptoms OR the day the positive test was taken, whichever comes first.
  • Days 1-4 are strict isolation days, unless you are going to receive medical care.
  • Day 5 is the last full day of isolation if you were asymptomatic or if symptoms have improved.
  • Day 6 is when you can come out of isolation, if you wear a mask.
  • Day 11 is when you can come out of isolation without a mask.

Mass. DPH notes that there may be circumstances where people are allowed to return to day care, school, or a health care job earlier under certain conditions. more about that here.

What if I was exposed to someone with COVID-19?

This is where guidance differs based on your vaccination status. If you are a close contact of someone who has tested positive for the virus and are up to date on COVID-19 vaccinations, you do not need to self-quarantine, but you should wear a mask around other people for 10 days, including at home. You should also have a rapid antigen or PCR test done on day 5, or if you develop symptoms. If you test positive, follow isolation guidance. If you are unable to mask, you must self-quarantine for 10 days after exposure and follow the same testing guidelines as above.

If you are a close contact and are not up to date on COVID-19 vaccinations or are unvaccinated, it is recommended that you self-quarantine for five days after exposure, wearing a mask around others, including at home. It is also recommended that you wear a mask around other people for an additional five days after that quarantine period, including at home. If you can’t wear a mask, extend that quarantine to 10 days. You should test on day 5, or if symptoms develop. If you do not take a test on day 5, you must self-quarantine for a full 10 days.

When should I seek emergency medical attention?

The CDC recommends that you watch for the following emergency warning signs* for COVID-19:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
  • new confusion
  • Inability to wake up or stay awake
  • Pale, gray, or bluish skin, lips, or nail bed, depending on skin tone

*This list does not include all possible symptoms. Call your healthcare provider if you have any other symptoms that are serious or worry you.

Leading Boston doctors discuss COVID cases in Massachusetts, the omicron BA.2.12.1 subvariant, and whether masks should be required for schools in high-risk communities during NBC10 Boston’s weekly “COVID Q&A” series.

When should I get tested?

The CDC outlines several scenarios for getting tested: If you have symptoms, have been exposed to someone with COVID-19 (as described above), or are going to an indoor event or large gathering. The latter is especially important if you are attending a meeting with high-risk individuals, older adults, anyone who is immunocompromised, or anyone who is not up-to-date on their COVID-19 vaccinations, including young children who cannot yet be vaccinated.

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

COVID-19 can manifest itself in a variety of ways. These are the most common symptoms. Symptoms can appear between 2 and 14 days after exposure to the virus.

  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Throat pain
  • stuffy or runny nose
  • nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea

The latest COVID-19 data from Massachusetts

All but three of the 14 Massachusetts counties are now considered high-risk for COVID-19, according to the latest data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Massachusetts COVID metrics, tracked at the Department of Public Health coronavirus interactive boardhave decreased since the rise of omicron, but case counts and hospitalizations are beginning to rise once again.

State health officials reported 5,576 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday. The last time more than 5,000 new cases were reported in a single day was in late January. The state’s seven-day average positivity rate rose to 8.24% on Thursday, compared to 7.89% on Wednesday. The number of new COVID-19 cases in Massachusetts schools has also skyrocketed.rising 62.6% in the last week.

What about the rest of New England?

In New Hampshire, the entire state is now considered high or medium risk. Grafton, Rockingham and Sullivan counties are designated as high risk, while the rest of the state is medium risk.

In Vermont, only Essex County remains low risk. Addison, Bennington, Chittenden, Franklin, Orange, Rutland Washington, and Windsor are at high risk, while Caledonia, Grand Isle, Lamoille, Orleans, and Windham counties are at medium risk.

Four counties in Maine, Aroostook, Hancock, Penobscot and Piscatiquis, are considered high risk, with the rest of the state in the medium risk category.

In Connecticut, Hartford, Litchfield, Middlesex, New Haven, Tolland and Windham counties are all high risk, with Fairfield and New London in the medium risk category.

All of Rhode Island remains in the medium risk category for the second week in a row.

Residents in high-risk counties are urged to wear masks indoors in public and on public transportation, to stay up-to-date on vaccinations and get tested if they have symptoms, according to the CDC.

Residents in medium-risk areas are encouraged to wear a mask if they have symptoms, a positive test, or exposure to someone with COVID-19. Anyone at high risk for severe illness should also consider wearing a mask in public places and indoors. taking extra precautionssays the CDC.

Most cases in New England at this time are still attributed to BA.2 “stealth” omicron variantalthough cases of subvariant BA.2.12.1 are on the rise. Case increases in South Africa and other countries are raising concerns that the US could soon experience another wave of COVID-19.

Despite the surge in cases here, Massachusetts and the other New England states have yet to take steps to bring back mask mandates or any other COVID-related restrictions that were relaxed after January’s omicron surge.

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