Ashley Jowett
/ Categories: WELLNESS, 2022

Questions from the Hotline

As cases go up, the Southwestern Vermont Health Care COVID-19 Info Hotline gets busy. Here are some of the most common questions coming across the wire along with their answers from Donna Barron, RN, infection preventionist at Southwestern Vermont Medical Center.  

How is COVID transmitted?
Most often, COVID is transmitted when an uninfected person breathes in air that an infected person breathed out. It can also travel in droplets from coughs and sneezes and, less so, on surfaces. Being outside greatly reduces the chances that air from an infected person will find you. Masking also reduces the risk.

When should I test?
If you have COVID-like symptoms (fever, cough, shortness of breath, or others), test for COVID. If you are unvaccinated and have been exposed to someone with COVID, test on the seventh day after the exposure. If you are vaccinated and have been exposed, there’s no need to test, but you can test on the fifth day after exposure.

If I test positive with an antigen test, do I also need a PCR test? No.

How do I get treatment?
If you test positive and have symptoms, it is important to get treatment fast. Contact your primary care provider or visit SVMC ExpressCare/Respiratory Evaluation Center as soon as possible after symptoms begin. You must begin treatment within 5 days of symptom onset.

What do I need to know about isolation?
Isolate from others in your household to the greatest degree possible, even if they also have COVID. Clean common surfaces frequently. You can end isolation once you have isolated at least 5 days AND you are feeling better and you have been fever free without fever-reducing medications for 24 hours. You should mask when with others for the following 5 days. 

Do I have to test negative to end isolation?
No. Some employers require employees to have a negative antigen test in order to return to work. If this is the case, wait 5 – 7 days after the onset of symptoms to take an antigen test. PCR tests will continue to read positive for as long as 90 days after you have recovered.

How many times can I get COVID?
According to the
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, we are still learning about how often we can get reinfected. While there is some protection gained when one becomes infected, variants and other variables affect how long that protection lasts.

If you have questions, call the COVID-19 Info Hotline at 802-440-8844 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. Monday – Friday.

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