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November 10, 2020

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  • Be aware that COVID-19 cases are increasing rapidly in King County. Hospitalizations are rising as well and are expected to further increase as cases continue at high levels more high-risk people become infected.
  • Counsel all patients with the following key messages to reduce their risk of getting COVID-19 and spreading it to others.
    • Avoid unnecessary activities, gatherings and travel
      • Limit the number, size and duration of contacts with others.
      • Avoid crowded indoor spaces and keep visits short in duration.
      • If visiting indoors, open windows and doors to increase air flow.
    • Wear a well-made and well-fitting face mask whenever around others who are not part of the household, especially indoors and even if 6 feet of distance can be maintained.
    • Stay at least 6 feet apart from others who are not part of your household.
    • Current guidance is to limit gatherings to 5 people outside of the household per week. Holiday celebrations ideally should be household members only.
    • Cover coughs and sneezes and wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol often.
    • Stay home and away from others if you are sick except to get medical care.
    • Get a flu shot to prevent influenza infection.
  • Persons with symptoms of COVID-19 or who have had close contact* with someone with COVID-19 should be tested promptly.
    • Until testing can be performed and while awaiting results, patients should be instructed to isolate themselves away from others.
    • If test results are positive, all close contacts* should be notified to self-quarantine away from others for 14 days and get tested (if a close contact tests negative, these individuals still need to remain in quarantine for 14 days after their last date of exposure).
    • A negative test during the quarantine period indicates absence of SARS-CoV-2 at the time of testing but the patient may become positive subsequently in the 14-day incubation period and should continue to quarantine.
    • Community testing site locations and information are available.
  • Inform patients with COVID-19 who have symptoms to discontinue isolation under the following conditions:
      • At least 10 days* have passed since symptom onset and
      • At least 24 hours have passed since resolution of fever without the use of fever-reducing medications
      • Other symptoms have improved.
  • Inform patients with COVID-19 who never developed symptoms to discontinue home isolation when 10 days have passed since they had a positive viral test for COVID-19.

* Close contact definition: Someone who was within 6 feet of an infected person for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period starting from 2 days before illness onset (or, for asymptomatic patients, 2 days prior to test specimen collection) until the time the patient is isolated.