New Year, New Us, right? Well, Covid cases are on the rise, North Korea keeps firing off new missiles, tomorrow marks the anniversary of the capital attacks, and we are still mourning over Betty White's passing on New Year's Eve! This year is starting GREAT! YaAaY! There are plenty of things that many of us can (and should) discuss with our therapists, but for the sake of this article, we are going to focus on Covid-19, and what to expect if you get it.

Covid-19 Updates

Active COVID cases and related fatalities continue to plague Ulster and Dutchess counties. Yesterday, Ulster's statistics included 210 new cases, along with four more deaths. Dutchess County's active case count rose by 221, with one additional passing. The number of people hospitalized due to COVID is topping the ten-thousand mark. It's the first time in 20-months the number has been that high, with almost 99-percent of the cases caused by the Omicron variant. New York health officials also say the risk of breakthrough cases more than quintupled last month and hospitalizations nearly doubled. In addition, they say those who are unvaccinated are getting infected at more than six times the rate when compared to vaccinated New Yorkers. 

Let's face it, Omicron is spreading like wildfire, and while it is typically less severe compared to other variants, it is still a major health risk to anyone who gets it, along with the development of other variants. At the moment, I am quarantining because of potential exposures. Even though I can easily stay separated from the rest of the outside world, what do I do about everyone in the house? Keeping my family safe is a major concern. Fortunately, I came across this article from KidsHealth.org that lays out what you should do within your household in the case you were exposed and contracted Covid. I'm going to do my best to sum up some key points, but I highly recommend giving the initial article a read.

Quarantine Vs Isolation

I think one big thing to discuss is the difference between quarantining versus isolation. One is to quarantine when they had close contact with someone with the virus, have no symptoms, and are either not vaccinated or not fully boosted. They should stay home for 5 days to prevent the spread of the virus if infected. Then, if possible, test by the 5th day. If they test positive, turn to isolation. If they test negative, they should wear a mask for another 5 days whenever they are around people. The site recommends keeping 6 feet apart from other household members and pets while quarantining, along with wearing a mask and washing your hands as often as possible.

One should isolate themself when they are infected with the virus for they are contagious. Again, stay home for at least 5 days. When isolating, sleep in a bedroom not used by anyone else. If that is not possible, try to keep as much distance as possible between beds. If sharing a bed, even sleeping head to toe can make a positive difference. Use a separate bathroom, if possible, along with using one's own personal items (cups, towels, toothpaste, etc). Eating apart from the rest of the family is also wise to prevent spread. If someone has a fever, stay home until the fever subsides.

What Those Around You Should Do

In the case where you live with others, such as your family, your roommates, whatever the arrangement, there are several things that they can do to stay safe. It is recommended that they should all wear a mask if they need to be in the room with someone who is in isolation or quarantine. Good airflow within spaces is important, as well. Opening a window or turning on an air filter or air conditioner would suffice. There should be no visitors in the household during this time, and again, everyone should be washing their hands often. When laundry is being done, set the cycle for the hottest temperature possible, loads should not be shared, and consider wearing gloves. It's also smart to wipe off household materials that are touched often, like doorknobs, switches, remotes, counters, and more. 

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