By Paul Goldfinger, MD, FACC. Editor Tropicanaforum.com
New CDC risk guidelines are based on assessment of each county in the country.
CDC: “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.
“Layered prevention strategies — like staying up to date on vaccines, screening testing, ventilation and wearing masks — can help limit severe disease and reduce the potential for strain on the healthcare system.
“CDC recommends using county COVID-19 Community Levels to help determine which COVID-19 prevention measures to use for individuals and communities.
Types of COVID-19 tests”
- PCR Test (nasal swab) – Considered the gold standard of COVID tests and can detect whether you’re actively infected. Results are typically available between 48-72 hours after taking the test.
- COVID-19 Rapid Antigen (nasal or throat swab) – Can also detect whether you’re actively infected, but negative results should be confirmed through PCR. Results are typically available the same day you take the test.
- Antibody testing (blood test) – Will show if you have antibodies toward a coronavirus, but it can’t confirm an active infection. Results are typically available within 72 hours of taking the test
Where to get COIVID-19 test:
Florida Department of Health Drive-thru site
3920 Michigan Ave. Fort Myers, FL 33916
- Free PCR testing for ages 2 and up, results available within 48-72 hours
- Open Monday-Friday 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday
- Schedule an appointment online or call (904) 295-0562 for more information
- FOR HIGH RISK COUNTIES (Such as Lee): Everyone ages 2 years and older should properly wear a well-fitting mask indoors in public in areas where the COVID-19 Community level is high, regardless of vaccination status.
- Wear a well-fitting mask indoors in public, regardless of vaccination status or individual risk (including in K-12 schools and other community settings)
- If you are immunocompromised or at high risk for severe illness
- Wear a mask or respirator that provides you with greater protection
- If you are sick and need to be around others, or are caring for someone who has COVID-19, wear a mask.
- If you are at increased risk for severe illness, or live with or spend time with someone at higher risk, speak to your healthcare provider about wearing a mask at medium COVID-19 Community Levels.
- People who have a condition or are taking medications that weaken their immune system may not be fully protected even if they are up to date on their COVID-19 vaccines. They should talk to their healthcare providers about what additional precautions may be necessary.
Editor’s note: Physicians are on the verge of recommending a 4th vaccine dose (ie a second booster) for those who are immunocompromised now and for seniors soon. The Moderna president says that a 4th dose will be required for maximum protection.
Here is some information I was sent by the AMA (American Medical Association) for its members:
COVID-19 Vaccines in Pregnancy: Safe, Proven, Effective
“The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) strongly recommends that women get a COVID-19 vaccine, who are pregnant, breastfeeding, or thinking about getting pregnant.”
ABC News reports, “U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy told lawmakers on Tuesday that the pandemic has had a ‘devastating’ impact on the mental health of America’s young people.” Murthy said, “I’m deeply concerned as a parent and as a doctor that the obstacles this generation of young people face are unprecedented and uniquely hard to navigate and the impact that’s having on their mental health is devastating.”
“N95, KN95 masks provide greatest protection from coronavirus infection, CDC data suggest.”
The Washington Post (2/4,) reported that “wearing any kind of mask indoors is associated with significantly better protection from the coronavirus, with high-quality N95 and KN95 masks providing the best chance of avoiding infection,” according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“The Post added, “In indoor public settings, surgical masks reduce the chances of testing positive by 66%, the CDC estimated,” while “top-of-the-line N95 and KN95 masks…cut the odds of infection by 83%.”
So, if some of you believe that masks are ineffective, consider that there is data that say otherwise. When in doubt, wear a mask especially in crowded indoor situations.