As COVID-19 cases continue to rise in Tulare County and local hospitals continue to be overwhelmed with patients severely sick with COVID-19, Tulare County Health Officer Dr. Karen Haught is recommending all Tulare County residents and visitors wear face coverings when indoors.
“I am extremely concerned with the continued increases in cases locally with the Delta variant being more contagious and spreading rapidly in Tulare County. It is strongly recommended that all individuals wear a face covering or mask when indoors in public buildings or businesses and when outdoors in crowds. Masking and vaccines are the two best tools we have to prevent transmission and severe illness from COVID-19,” said Dr. Haught. “We strongly urge our residents and the public to mask indoors, regardless of vaccination status, to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.”
This recommendation applies to those who are vaccinated as well as those who are not vaccinated against COVID-19. Masking is required for those not vaccinated. While vaccines remain the most effective against COVID-19, universal indoor masking is the least disruptive and most immediately impactful additional measure to curb the spread of the virus and reduce the demands being placed on our hospitals and the health care system. Everyone needs to take all necessary precautions to limit the spread of COVID-19, so that we refrain from continuing to overwhelm our local hospitals. Getting vaccinated against COVID-19 is proven most effective, and implementing prevention measures to limit the spread of COVID-19 can also make a safer environment for our children who are not yet able to be vaccinated.
As the rate of transmission of COVID-19 continues to be extremely high, Tulare County Public Health reminds all residents and the community to isolate if you become sick with COVID-19 and quarantine if exposed as a close contact to someone with COVID-19:
Isolation for Individuals with Positive COVID-19 Test Report
All individuals who test positive must isolate for 10 days from the onset or start of symptoms OR isolate for 10 days from their positive test if asymptomatic and should remain home and away from others for that entire period. This includes those who have received a positive result from a home test or rapid antigen test.
Quarantine for Close Contact:
- Close Contacts who are Unvaccinated - Must stay at home for 10 days after last contact with the positive case, should continue to monitor for symptoms, avoid high-risk individuals throughout 14 days and maintain masking.
- Close Contacts who are Fully Vaccinated - If no symptoms, do not need to quarantine but should monitor for symptoms and maintain masking.
Testing for Close Contact:
- Unvaccinated Individuals - Get tested immediately. If test negative, must still remain at home until the quarantine period is over. Be tested again in 5–7 days after last contact with the COVID case or immediately if symptoms develop. If test is negative, quarantine can end on day 8. If testing is not done, quarantine should continue for 10 days, with leaving quarantine on day 11.
- Fully Vaccinated Individuals - Get tested at 3–5 days after last contact with the COVID case, even if not having symptoms.
- Individuals should get tested either through pharmacies, health care provider offices, or at any of the free testing sites in the county, which can be found on the HHSA website.
Everyone eligible for the vaccine who has not yet been vaccinated should get vaccinated now to protect yourself and protect your family. If you have had COVID-19 in the past, getting vaccinated significantly decreases the risk of a repeat infection. Everyone also needs to adhere to other essential layers of prevention, including face coverings in indoor public spaces and crowded situations, avoiding crowds and gatherings, and physical distancing as much as possible. In addition, everyone is encouraged to frequently wash their hands with soap and water or use hand sanitizer and stay home if sick or instructed to isolate/quarantine by a medical or public health professional.
Individuals experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 should contact their doctor or health care provider to get tested as soon as possible. Those who test positive for COVID-19 are urged to speak and cooperate with representatives from Tulare County Public Health when contacted, to help slow the spread of the COVID-19 variants. COVID-19 vaccines continue to be highly effective at protecting and preventing severe disease, hospitalization, and death. Visit the Tulare County COVID-19 Vaccine webpage at: https://covid19.tularecounty.ca.gov/covid-19-vaccine/ for vaccination locations, including a full listing of health care providers and local pharmacies offering COVID-19 vaccinations. Those seeking to get vaccinated can also visit MyTurn.ca.gov and schedule an appointment.