COVID isolation times shortened

Image courtesy of the Georgia Department of Public Health

WATERTOWN — The Jefferson County Public Health Service on Friday updated isolation protocols for people with COVID-19 and quarantine protocols for people exposed to COVID-19, following the shortened periods set by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the state Department of Health late last month.

The CDC and New York again updated their guidance for the general population Tuesday.

The county has also issued its monthly COVID-19 index report for December.

Of the 145 total COVID-19 deaths in Jefferson County since the pandemic began, 12 of those occurred last month, according to the latest Public Health Service index.

Of those who were vaccinated who died of COVID-19 in December, all had significant pre-existing conditions. Of the six people who died of COVID-19 in December and were unvaccinated, it was noted that one had a significant pre-existing condition. Because vaccine efficacy is waning, risk for contracting COVID-19 is increasing in fully vaccinated individuals, and Public Health continues to stress the importance of immunocompromised people receiving a third dose, and that all eligible people receive a booster dose as soon as possible.

A total of 86,557 county residents, or 73.7% of the total population, had received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine through Dec. 31. A total of 23,182 had received a booster by the same date. The county’s community transmission level remains high.

Jefferson County is now adopting the following protocols:

An isolation period of five days for people infected with the coronavirus is intended for those who are asymptomatic or mildly ill during peak infectiousness. If asymptomatic at the end of five days or symptoms are resolving, isolation ends. Masks should then be worn for an additional five days.

A 10-day isolation period is still required for childcare workers and non-school aged children, immunocompromised people, and others who cannot wear a mask.

The county’s new recommendations similarly shorten the quarantine period for people who have been exposed to the virus.

For those not vaccinated and those vaccinated with initial doses but not with a booster shot, the county is adopting a five-day quarantine period, with the expectation that people will wear a mask when around others for an additional five days.

If asymptomatic, fully vaccinated and boosted, with the booster administered at least two weeks prior to the first date of close contact, a quarantine is not required. Close contact means a person has been within six feet of the infected person for a total of at least 15 minutes in a 24 hour period.

Those who test positive using at-home tests can enter their results at or call 315-786-3730.

Those who have tested positive for COVID-19, regardless of symptoms, are asked to not leave their homes except to receive medical care.

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Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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