RALEIGH – North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Dr Mandy K. Cohen released a secretariat notice on Monday urging the public to take certain steps to prevent serious illness, hospitalizations and illnesses. deaths from COVID-19.
COVID-19 cases are increasing statewide due to the Delta variant, according to the advisory.
“The highly contagious variant, Omicron, is starting to spread rapidly and is expected to cause the highest rates of COVID-19 infections of the pandemic in the coming weeks,” according to the advisory. The Omicron variant is “two to three times more contagious than the Delta variant” and “four to six times more contagious than the original COVID-19 virus”.
“With the holidays approaching and people gathering, it is essential and urgent to act now to protect yourself and your family and friends. Vaccination and booster against COVID-19 remain the most effective ways for people to protect themselves against serious illness, hospitalization and death. The first evidence shows that boosters offer a significant level of protection against Omicron, ”says the advisory.
This winter and this holiday season, everyone should:
• Vaccinate and boost: Get vaccinated now, including a COVID-19 booster as soon as you are eligible. This is especially critical for people over 65, those with underlying health conditions, and healthcare workers. Moderna and Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines are the best choice for most people. Protective layer when getting a flu shot.
• Test: Take a COVID-19 test before joining indoor gatherings with others who are not in your household and before and after travel, regardless of your immunization status. Get tested if you have symptoms of COVID-19 or have been exposed to someone with COVID-19.
• Mask: Wear a face cover indoors in public, even if you are vaccinated. If possible, wear a medical grade mask for added protection (eg, surgical mask, procedure mask, KN95, N95).
• Wear a mask when traveling. If possible, wear a medical grade mask.
• Get tested one to two days before and three to five days after your trip, and get fully immunized against COVID-19, including boosters, and the flu.
• Do not travel if you are not fully immunized and boosted. If you are traveling and are not fully vaccinated and boosted, in addition to testing, stay home and quarantine for a full seven days after travel, even if your test is negative.
• Follow CDC guidelines for travel during COVID-19 and NCDHHS guidelines for public transportation.
Gathering during the holidays
• Require that guests and family members be immunized and vaccinated if they are eligible prior to the event.
• Get tested a day or two before joining indoor gatherings with other people outside your household.
• Guests over 2 years of age who are not fully immunized should wear a mask and maintain a physical distance from others, especially when indoors. If possible, wear a medical grade mask.
Keep gatherings small and hold them outdoors, if possible.
• If you congregate indoors, use a space large enough to allow physical distancing. Increase outdoor air circulation by opening windows and doors. Follow the CDC’s advice on improving ventilation in your home.
• If you are sick or have symptoms, do not organize or attend a gathering. Get tested and seek treatment. More information about the treatment is available at https://covid19.ncdhhs.gov/treatment.
For more information on boosters and additional doses, visit the NCDHHS website. To find a location for vaccines or for more information on COVID-19 vaccines in North Carolina, visit MySpot.nc.gov or call the state’s COVID-19 Vaccine Help Center free of charge at 888-675-4567.