COVID-19 Community Levels
Last week the CDC announced a new COVID-19 Community Level tool which classifies every county in the U.S. into low, medium, or high. This new classification system better reflects the realities of the virus's effects on communities and the local healthcare system and will help determine what prevention measures are needed to protect yourself and your loved ones, as well as decrease strain on hospitals and health systems.
With current high levels of vaccination and high levels of population immunity from both vaccination and infections, the risk of medically significant disease, hospitalization, and death from COVID-19 is greatly reduced for most people. However, at the same time, we know that people who are up to date on vaccines have much lower risk of severe illness and death from COVID-19 compared with unvaccinated people.
When making decisions about community prevention strategies and individual preventive behaviors in addition to vaccination, health officials and people should consider the COVID-19 Community Level in the county.
These layered prevention strategies can help limit severe disease and reduce the potential for strain on the healthcare system:
- staying up to date on vaccines,
- ventilation, and
- wearing masks
PLEASE NOTE: Some community facilities, including health care providers, may require more stringent prevention strategies, including continued masking.
The CDC's COVID-19 Community Levels dashboard was last updated on Feb. 24, 2022, and classifies Dubuque County's level at MEDIUM. Based on this designation, the CDC recommends these measures for county residents:
- If you are immunocompromised or high risk for severe disease:
- Talk to your healthcare provider about whether you need to wear a mask and take other precautions (e.g., testing)
- Have a plan for rapid testing if needed (e.g., having home tests or access to testing)
- Talk to your healthcare provider about whether you are a candidate for treatments like oral antivirals, PrEP, and monoclonal antibodies
- If you have household or social contact with someone at high risk for severe disease:
- consider self-testing to detect infection before contact
- consider wearing a mask when indoors with them
- Stay up to date with COVID-19 vaccines and boosters
- Maintain improved ventilation throughout indoor spaces when possible
- Follow CDC recommendations for isolation and quarantine, including getting tested if you are exposed to COVID-19 or have symptoms of COVID-19
For more information on COVID-19 Community Levels, including details on how levels are calculated, please visit https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/science/community-levels.html
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