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  • 08/01/2022 12:46 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Knowing how long to isolate is complicated.  Do you need a negative COVID test before you stop isolating?  When are you contagious?  

    The guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are  a little confusing.  And the guidelines are always under review and being updated.  For example, CDC doesn't require a negative antigen test before you leave isolation, even though some infectious disease experts recommend it.  And, the guidelines can only provide a framework because every COVID case is unique.

    The coronavirus is transmissible even before the infected person has symptoms. In general, peak contagion starts about a day or two before symptoms appear and continues two to three days after symptoms appear.   Experts advise that people continue to spread the virus for about eight days after testing positive and are unlikely to pass the virus to others  10 days after contagion. 

    CDC recommends that infected individuals isolate for a minimum of five days.  If your symptoms have improved after five days, and you have not had a fever in the last 24-hours without fever-reducing medications,  you might be ready to quit isolation.   CDC has a calculator on its webpage to help people figure this out.

    Day 1 of your isolation is the day after you start symptoms or test positive. After five-days of isolation, continue to wear a mask through Day 10 if you leave home.  If you test positive after five days of isolation, extend your isolation to ten days.

    Read more at The Washington Post and at CDC

  • 07/19/2022 9:09 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Hundreds of millions of people in the United States have safely received COVID-19 vaccinations. These vaccines have undergone the most intensive safety monitoring in U.S. history that includes both established and new safety monitoring systems.

    The CDC maintains a database on COVID-19 vaccination, infection, hospitalization and deaths rates by county.  Their website information is updated daily.

    So, whether you are looking for the latest COVID-19 statistics, travel guidelines, or recommendations on vaccines and boosters, the first place to look is the CDC COVID-19 Index. Click here to get the latest information on COVID -19 from the CDC

  • 06/13/2022 9:24 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    At 12;01 AM, June 12, the CDC has ended the Covid-19 testing requirement for air travelers entering the United States.  The testing requirement  has been in place since January 2021

    Read more at the CDC website

  • 05/18/2022 12:06 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    All of us want to do an individualized risk assessment to determine our personal COVID-19 risk.  Unfortunately, it's impossible to do. So, focus on risk reduction instead.  Think about what you can control and the evidence-based strategies:  wearing masks, getting vaccinated and boosted, avoiding indoor crowds, and improving ventilation.

    Risk for scientists is a probability of a particular outcome.  Like if you flip a coin you have a 1 in 2 probability of it coming up heads.  Public health researchers say " the probability that an unvaccinated person will die of COVID-19 if they catch it is about 1 in 200, and as many as 1 in 8 people with COVID-19 will have symptoms persisting for weeks or months after recovering."

    So how can you manage the RISK of COVID-19?  The answer is to do what you can.  If it is reasonable to wear a mask, wear one, even if it is not required. Take an at-home antigen test before you travel and after  you return or before you visit an unvaccinated grandchild.  Get vaccinated and boosted. Choose to meet friends and eat outdoors.  Open a window to improve ventilation.  In other words, do what you reasonably can do to manage your risk of catching COVID-19.

    Read more at The Conversationa nonprofit organization working for the public good through fact- and research-based journalism.

  • 05/16/2022 12:07 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    During the second Global COVID-19 Summit co-hosted May 12 by the White House, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies’ (IFRC) Secretary General Jagan Chapagain underlined the network’s commitment to delivering COVID-19 vaccines, tests and treatments to the most vulnerable and building back stronger health systems.

    While many countries have successfully rolled out COVID-19 vaccination campaigns, vaccine coverage remains below 10 per cent in many low-income countries including, Papua New Guinea, Democratic Republic of Congo, Haiti or Madagascar. Low-income countries can also not afford tests and other lifesaving tools such as antiviral drugs or oxygen supplies, leaving millions at risk of contracting the virus and suffering its deadly consequences.

    Mr. Chapagain said:

    “World leaders must step up and ensure that everyone, everywhere has access to vaccines, tests and treatments. This means targeting those who are most vulnerable, have the greatest needs and are the hardest to reach. This pandemic is still spreading and killing people. It is too soon to drop our guard and give up our global efforts against COVID-19.”

    Read more at IFRC
    Watch the video

    This May, the American Red Cross is teaming up with community partners to install 50,000 free smoke alarms in more than 50 at-risk communities, as part of its annual Sound the Alarm initiative.

  • 04/29/2022 1:20 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Blood Drives and Donation Centers Mask Guidance

    The American Red Cross continues to assess our COVID-19 safety protocols and are now sharing that mask requirements at blood drives and donation centers will be removed effective April 25  for employees, volunteers, blood drive hosts and blood donors.  

    With that being said, if a blood drive host has a mask requirement at their facility, Red Cross will honor that requirement. Red Cross will also accommodate mask requests from donors where close interaction occurs.

    Employees and volunteers should bring requests for special mask considerations to the attention of their manager. There are many reasons individuals may need additional safety protocols during the pandemic, and as a humanitarian organization, Red Cross will continue to be understanding and caring to all. Safety remains our top priority.

    Unvaccinated volunteers and employees with accommodations will continue to be required to wear masks. Local management will be responsible for enforcing this policy, as each manager has access to the vaccination status of their team members. 

    For non-staff members at blood drives, the Red Cross is also in the process of developing new signage recommending unvaccinated and/or high-risk individuals wear masks.  

    Of course, individuals may choose to continue to wear a mask for any reason and Red Cross will continue to make masks available for those in attendance at blood drives and donation centers. The Red Cross will also continue to socially distance wherever possible at our blood drives, donation centers and facilities in alignment with CDC guidance.

  • 04/19/2022 11:31 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    On Monday, April 18, 2022, the federal government stated that passengers traveling on airplanes and other public transportation will not be required to wear a face mask.  A federal judge in Florida voided the extension of the federal mask mandate saying that the mandate exceeded the authority of the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention.  The Transportation Security Administration-TSA, said it would no longer enforce the federal mask mandate rule, and large U.S. airlines and transportation companies announced that masks were now optional.  Before you leave your mask at home, check with local authorities for mask rules for local transportation.

    The mask mandate was set to expire on April 18, 2022, but the CDC had announced that it would extend the federal mask mandate 15 days due to the BA.2 omicron subvariant of the coronavirus currently responsible for the majority of positive COVID cases.

    Read more at  USA Today.

    Read more at CNN

    Read more at the Washington Post

  • 04/15/2022 1:58 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    What You Need to Know

    • Wearing a mask over your nose and mouth is required in indoor areas of public transportation (including airplanes, trains, buses) and indoors in U.S. transportation hubs (including airports, train and bus stations)
    • Delay travel until you are up to date with your COVID-19 vaccines.
    • Check your destination’s COVID-19 situation before traveling. State, tribal, local, and territorial governments may have travel restrictions in place.
    • Do not travel if you are sick, tested positive for COVID-19 and haven’t ended isolation, had close contact with a person with COVID-19 and haven’t ended quarantine, or are waiting for results of a COVID-19 test.
    • If you are not up to date with your COVID-19 vaccines and must travel, get tested both before and after your trip.

    Read more at CDC

  • 04/03/2022 9:12 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    On  March 29, 2022, the CDC expanded eligibility for an additional booster dose for certain individuals who may be at higher risk of severe outcomes from COVID-19. Boosters are safe, and people over the age of 50 can now get an additional booster 4 months after their prior dose to increase their protection further. This is especially important for those 65 and older and those 50 and older with underlying medical conditions that increase their risk for severe disease from COVID-19 as they are the most likely to benefit from receiving an additional booster dose at this time.

    Read more at CDC

  • 03/20/2022 8:35 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    As reported at redcross.org

    It’s been two years since the World Health Organization (WHO) declared COVID-19 a global pandemic, acknowledging the virus would likely spread to all countries around the globe. Since then, more than 220 countries and territories around the world have reported almost 447 million confirmed cases of the virus and more than 6 million have died. The U.S. has seen more than 79 million cases of coronavirus as of March 7 and more than 960,000 deaths due to the virus.

    THE BEGINNING On January 19, 2020, the first person in the U.S. diagnosed with COVID-19 was a resident of Washington state who had recently returned from a trip to China. In February 2020, the U.S. declared COVID-19 a public health emergency, followed by a national emergency declaration on March 13, 2020.

    VACCINES DEVELOPED In 2020 as the virus spread around the world, scientists began working to produce safe and effective coronavirus vaccines. Since December 2020 ,  more than 4.99 billion people worldwide have received a dose of a Covid-19 vaccine or about 65% of the world population. In the U.S., more than 553 million vaccine doses have been administered and 65% of the entire population is fully vaccinated.

    PRESENT STATEAll 50 states have done away with mandates on wearing masks. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports more than 90% of the U.S. population now reside in areas where masks are not necessary indoors.

    RED CROSS ROLE COVID-19 has not changed the American Red Cross mission — we provided the same support throughout the first two years of the pandemic as we always have. While the pandemic has weighed heavily on the nation and throughout the world, the Red Cross continues to offer support and care during a difficult time, bringing comfort, hope and light when individuals and families needed it most. A Virtual Family Assistance Center is available to assist anyone who has lost a loved one. 

    BIOMEDICAL SERVICES For a limited time, the Red Cross has resumed testing all blood, platelet and plasma donations for COVID-19 antibodies. With the surge of new variants, hospitals began to seek out more treatments for their most vulnerable patients, and new clinical trial data has shown that convalescent plasma may benefit immunocompromised patients. The Red Cross is resuming this program to ensure doctors have every tool available to support treatment. 

    DISASTER RELIEF During two very active disaster years, the Red Cross provided the same types of support we always do after emergencies.To help keep our workforce and the people we serve safe, we are used strong safety precautions including masks, health screenings, enhanced cleaning procedures and encouraging social distancing regardless of vaccine status. In addition, many Red Cross volunteers worked closely with partners to help support vaccination efforts in communities across the country during 2021. 

    TRAINING SERVICES The Red Cross continues to provide lifesaving training as the pandemic continues. Essential courses have been modified to include social distancing, face masks, virtual training and certification extensions. Online courses include new COVID-19 ones for safe work practices and psychological first aid. We’ve also provided responder guidance for companies and hospitals to adjust their training during COVID-19 to maintain their ability to save lives.

    SERVICE TO THE ARMED FORCES (SAF) While some services are now virtual, the Red Cross Hero Care Network  offers confidential assistance to veterans and their families by connecting them with local, state and national resources worldwide. The Red Cross Military Veteran Caregiver Network (MCVN) is also available for veterans and their caregivers to offer support for the country’s approximately 5.5 million caregivers of military and veteran wounded, ill or injured.

    INTERNATIONAL SERVICES COVID-19 knows no borders, and while each Red Cross society’s response to this pandemic has been different, coordinated efforts by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) have largely supported community-based health and hygiene promotion, access to basic services, support for containment and treatment, and fighting rumors and stigma with accurate information.  The American Red Cross has “virtually deployed” specialists with skills in mental health, communications, information management, assessment and planning and helped fund health and hygiene promotion, case detection, surveillance and contact tracing in the global fight against the coronavirus.

    Click here to read more at redcross.org

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