Health Advisory: Counsel Patients on How to Reduce COVID-19 Spread as Cases Spike in King County, November 10, 2020

Action requested:

  • Be aware that COVID-19 cases are increasing rapidly in King County. Hospitalizations are rising as well and are expected to further increase as cases continue at high levels more high-risk people become infected.
  • Counsel all patients with the following key messages to reduce their risk of getting COVID-19 and spreading it to others.
    • Avoid unnecessary activities, gatherings and travel Limit the number, size and duration of contacts with others. Avoid crowded indoor spaces and keep visits short in duration. If visiting indoors, open windows and doors to increase air flow.
    • Wear a well-made and well-fitting face mask whenever around others who are not part of the household, especially indoors and even if 6 feet of distance can be maintained.
    • Stay at least 6 feet apart from others who are not part of your household.
    • Current guidance is to limit gatherings to 5 people outside of the household per week. Holiday celebrations ideally should be household members only.
    • Cover coughs and sneezes and wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol often.
    • Stay home and away from others if you are sick except to get medical care.
    • Get a flu shot to prevent influenza infection.
  • Persons with symptoms of COVID-19 or who have had close contact* with someone with COVID-19 should be tested promptly.
    • Until testing can be performed and while awaiting results, patients should be instructed to isolate themselves away from others.
    • If test results are positive, all close contacts* should be notified to self-quarantine away from others for 14 days and get tested (if a close contact tests negative, these individuals still need to remain in quarantine for 14 days after their last date of exposure).
    • A negative test during the quarantine period indicates absence of SARS-CoV-2 at the time of testing but the patient may become positive subsequently in the 14-day incubation period and should continue to quarantine.
    • Community testing site locations and information is available here.
  • Inform patients with COVID-19 who have symptoms to discontinue isolation under the following conditions:
    • At least 10 days* have passed since symptom onset and
    • At least 24 hours have passed since resolution of fever without the use of fever-reducing medications and
    • Other symptoms have improved.
  • Inform patients with COVID-19 who never developed symptoms to discontinue home isolation when 10 days have passed since they had a positive viral test for COVID-19.

* Close contact definition: Someone who was within 6 feet of an infected person for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period starting from 2 days before illness onset (or, for asymptomatic patients, 2 days prior to test specimen collection) until the time the patient is isolated.

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