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HomeNewsLocal newsV.I.'s COVID Guidelines Change With End of Public Health Emergency

V.I.’s COVID Guidelines Change With End of Public Health Emergency

The V.I. Health Department announced Friday that is has updated the territory’s COVID-19 guidance following the end of the public health emergency worldwide after more than three years. The updates include guidelines for signage, mask-wearing, and testing, and instructions for individuals who have been exposed to or tested positive for the virus.

Dr. Esther Ellis, the territory’s epidemiologist. (Source photo by Susan Ellis)

Dr. Esther Ellis, the territory’s epidemiologist, issued the following guidelines:

Workplaces and Schools

Remove government-issued mandatory masking signage. Entities who choose to continue to mandate mask-wearing should supply their own signage to reflect their individual policy. Since the end of the mask mandate, decisions regarding mandatory masking continue to be at the discretion of the individual business.

Repeat testing (including testing for a negative result) is NOT recommended after an individual has tested positive. Return to work should be based on time recommendations and resolution of symptoms (as described below).

Testing Individuals in Congregate Facilities 

Testing of individuals within a congregate setting is at the discretion of the facility. There is no public health mandate to test individuals to be placed within a congregate setting or at any frequency during the placement.

If the facility chooses to implement a testing policy, all tests and necessary equipment must be conducted and procured by the facility. The facility may refer to private or commercial services at their own expense and agreed upon terms. Referrals are NOT to be made to the Emergency Departments.

Guidance for Individuals Who Test Positive  

If you tested positive for COVID-19, adhere to the following guidelines regardless of vaccination status.

For at least 5 days:
Stay away from work, school, church, and all public settings.
Separate yourself from family members and others in your home.
Stay in a separate room and use a separate bathroom.
Wear a well-fitting mask over your nose and mouth if you must be around others in your home.

On day 6:
If you did NOT have symptoms, end isolation.
If you HAD symptoms, end isolation after five full days if you are fever-free for 24 hours (without the use of fever-reducing medication) and your symptoms are improving.

If you got very sick from COVID-19 or have a weakened immune system:
Isolate for at least 10 days. Consult your doctor before ending isolation.
Take precautions through day 10:
Wear a well-fitting mask for 10 full days any time you are around others inside your home or in public.
Do not go to places where you are unable to wear a mask.
Avoid being around people who are more likely to get very sick from COVID-19.

Calculating your isolation:
Day 0 is the day your positive test was collected.
Example: For a positive test collected on Monday, day 5 is Saturday. End isolation as soon as day 6, Sunday.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Quarantine and Isolation Calculator can be accessed here.

Home tests:
If you test positive at home, stay in isolation to keep others safe.
Schedule a confirmatory test with your healthcare provider or a private laboratory.
Day 0 will be the day of your confirmatory positive test, regardless of the date of your home test.

Note, repeat testing (including testing for a negative result) is not recommended after you have tested positive.

Look for some emergency warning signs for COVID-19. Seek emergency medical care immediately if you are experiencing:
Trouble breathing
Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
New confusion
Inability to wake or stay awake
Pale, gray or blue-colored skin, lips or nail bed

If you need immediate medical care, call 911 or call ahead to your local emergency facility and notify the operator that you are seeking care, and that you have recently tested positive for COVID-19.

Call your medical provider for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning to you.

More information on COVID-19 is available on Health Department website, and the CDC website.

Guidance for Individuals Who Have Been Exposed

If you were exposed to the virus that causes COVID-19, adhere to the following guidance regardless of your vaccination status or if you have had a previous infection:
Wear a well-fitting mask as soon as you find out you were exposed.
Watch for symptoms and continue wearing a well-fitting mask for 10 full days after you have been exposed.
Day 0 is the day of your last exposure to someone with COVID-19.
Day 1 is the first full day after your last exposure.
Symptoms of COVID-19 include fever (100.4°F or higher), chills, cough, shortness of breath, fatigue, or muscle aches.
If you develop symptoms, isolate immediately and get tested.

How to schedule a test

Tests may be scheduled through your private provider or a local lab.
Even if the test results are negative for COVID-19, if you have symptoms, you should remain at home until symptoms are resolved.

Special information for caregivers (example: parent caring for COVID-19 positive child)

Follow preventive actions:
Improve airflow or ventilation in the home.
Monitor symptoms and follow healthcare provider instructions.
Practice hand hygiene, cleaning and avoid sharing personal household items.
Wear a well-fitting mask when around the person you are caring for withCOVID-19.
After the person has recovered, follow close contact guidance above.

Emergency warning signs for COVID-19.

Seek emergency medical care immediately if you or someone you are caring for is experiencing:
Trouble breathing
Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
New confusion
Inability to wake or stay awake
Pale, gray or blue-colored skin, lips or nail beds

If you need immediate medical care, call 911 or call ahead to your local emergency facility and notify the operator that you are seeking care and that you have recently tested positive for COVID-19.

Call your medical provider for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning to you.

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