As the number of COVID-19 cases continues to rise in Loudoun County and across the country, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) have provided updated guidance to local health departments regarding COVID-19 case investigations and contract tracing prioritization strategies.
“At this time of increased coronavirus activity in our community, I am encouraging anyone who tests positive for COVID-19 to notify your contacts as soon as possible,” said Loudoun County Health Director Dr. David Goodfriend. “While the health department continues to investigate cases, taking responsibility for notifying your own contacts will expedite the notification process and help to slow the further spread of the disease in our community.”
What You Should Do If You Test Positive for COVID-19
If you test positive for COVID-19 or are diagnosed with COVID-19, you need to stay home, away from others, and monitor your health for 14 days. Contact your health care provider for guidance on caring for yourself. If you experience serious symptoms of COVID-19, such as trouble breathing, pain or pressure in the chest, and confusion, seek medical attention right away.
Additionally, you need to help identify and notify the people that you had close contact with while you were contagious. This will allow the people with whom you’ve been in contact to quarantine right away so that they do not spread the virus if they become ill. You are considered contagious starting two days before you became sick (or two days before a test if you never had symptoms) until you complete isolation.
A close contact is anyone who:
- Has been within 6 feet of you for a total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period; or
- Has been directly exposed to your respiratory secretions (anyone you coughed or sneezed on, shared a glass/utensils, kissed, etc.); or
- Lives with you; or
- You provide care for.
Download and print the checklist from VDH to help you follow the necessary steps for notifying your contacts and caring for yourself.
Continue to Protect Yourself, Your Family and Your Community
Public health officials continue to urge everyone to remain vigilant by always following the proven steps for slowing the spread of COVID-19 in our community. These measures include:
- Covering your mouth and nose with a face covering when in public.
- Washing hands often; staying at least 6 feet away from others.
- Staying home when sick.
- Avoiding crowds of people, parties at peoples’ homes and other gatherings.
- Download COVIDWISE, the VDH exposure notification app.
- Getting a flu vaccine.
Contract Tracing Prioritization
VDH has announced guidelines for prioritizing contract tracing in communities that are experiencing substantially high levels of COVID-19 community transmission. As a result, some local health departments may not be contacting everyone infected with COVID-19 or close contacts to someone infected with COVID-19. In accordance with new guidelines from the CDC, local health departments may prioritize contract tracing for the following groups:
- People diagnosed with COVID-19 in the past six days and their household contacts.
- People living or working in or visiting congregate living facilities.
- People involved in known clusters or outbreaks.
- People at increased risk of severe illness.
“We said many times throughout 2020 that we are all in this together,” noted Dr. Goodfriend. “I am grateful for all that the people of Loudoun have done to lessen the impact of the pandemic on our community, and I appreciate the continued support from our residents, particularly following the prevention measures every day and now notifying your contacts if you test positive for COVID-19.”
VDH and CDC continue to recommend a quarantine period of 14 days as the safest option for quarantining after an individual’s last exposure to an infected person.
Learn more about when to quarantine on the CDC’s website.
Loudoun County encourages residents to stay informed about COVID-19.
- Visit loudoun.gov/coronavirus for more information about how to protect yourself and your family and to sign up for email and text updates on COVID-19.
- Opt in to receive text messages:
- English: Text LCCOVID19 to 888777
- Spanish: Text LCCOVIDESP to 88877
Residents with questions about COVID-19 may call the Loudoun County Health Department’s information line, 703-737-8300, or send an email.
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