Public Health Shares Decision-Making Scenarios to Prevent COVID-19

EL DORADO COUNTY PUBLIC HEALTH PROMOTIONS

DECISION-MAKING SCENARIOS FOR PREVENTION OF COVID-19

(Placerville, CA) – El Dorado County Public Health is reminding El Dorado County residents and visitors to remain vigilant to prevent the spread of COVID-19. According to El Dorado County Public Health Officer Dr. Nancy Williams, cases of COVID-19 in California and El Dorado County have been at moderate to high levels this summer. Although levels are finally falling again, with students returning to school this month, ongoing transmission of the virus is likely to continue. “It’s a cause for concern because the variants seem to be getting more contagious,” Williams said. “Taking simple preventative measures is still the best way to reduce the chances of acquiring or spreading the virus.”

“Prior to 2022, spikes in COVID-19 cases in California were addressed through state-issued orders,” Williams explained. “However, since the state of California converted most of its COVID-19 orders to advisories earlier this year, almost all responsibility for protecting yourself and others from contracting COVID and from spreading it to others now rests with by each of us as individuals.” Some state restrictions remained for special settings, such as health care facilities.

Global recommendations for everyone to prevent the spread of COVID-19 continue to be:

  • Getting a vaccination and (once eligible) a booster,
  • Examination (or take a test at home) when symptoms appear,
  • Continue to wear good quality, properly fitted masks when you cannot adequately protect yourself in spaces shared with others who may expose you to COVID-19, and
  • Stay away from other people when you are sick (to keep them safe).

Beyond those recommendations, Williams says people will have to make decisions for themselves and their families about how and when to take precautions. “Deciding what precautions to take can be complicated,” Williams said. “Personal considerations, such as one’s own risk tolerance and susceptibility of household members to severe illness, may factor into these decisions.”

To help people, El Dorado County Public Health shares common scenarios that people are likely to face and provides decision-making options (from good to better to best). These decision-making scenarios include activities such as visiting vulnerable people, going to the gym, and socializing with people outside one’s community. Dr. Williams hopes this information will help people make decisions about which precautions make sense for them.

A common scenario is shown below. Other scenarios can be found on the El Dorado County Public Health Welldorado webpage – https://www.welldorado.org/.

Common scenario #1
How can I safely visit an elderly (or other vulnerable) person or how can others safely visit me if I am vulnerable?

good
  • Keep track of how seriously COVID is affecting the communities where you and the older/vulnerable person live or will visit. If you have symptoms similar to COVID, postpone your visit (even if you test negative for COVID).
  • Do an antigen test just before the visit.
  • If the sample is positive, postpone your visit.

    A tip: Complete your antigen test as close to the start of your visit as possible, but be prepared to postpone your visit if you test positive. If last-minute plan changes would wreak havoc, consider getting tested a day or two in advance (then again right before the visit).

Better

To the above, add more layers of protection:

  • Be careful a week (or two) before the visit – minimize going to indoor gatherings and other indoor events. (Schedule them for after your visit)
  • Consider masking whenever you are indoors with people outside your household, such as when traveling.
  • Take care of household members who are in situations that put them at risk for COVID.
The best

Plan to take the above steps andin advance:

  • Get antigen test kits* to keep on hand.
  • Plan your visit so that it can be canceled or changed if COVID illness occurs or the risks become too high.
  • Catch up on your COVID-19 vaccinations.

Regardless of the scenario, Williams says people should consider these questions when making decisions:

  • Is there anyone particularly vulnerable to severe COVID?
  • Have people in the group been vaccinated/boosted or recently had COVID?
  • Will we be meeting indoors or outdoors?
  • Is it likely that I or others will wear masks when we are together indoors?
  • Would I or others perform antigen tests and isolate from the group if the results are positive?
  • Will we experience higher risk exposures, such as close face-to-face communication while dining together without a mask in a restaurant? Or will the exposures be lower risk, such as sitting quietly while wearing a mask in a movie theater?

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