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What Do New CDC Guidelines for COVID-19 Mean for Seniors?

shutterstock_1898873002Have you taken the plunge to receive your COVID-19 vaccination? Has it been at least two weeks since your second dose? If so, then you are considered fully vaccinated, and that’s worth celebrating! As more people take advantage of the vaccine, we can expect to see a gradual return to normal.

In Ohio, more than half of the adult population has received the vaccine, prompting the state to lift the state of emergency declaration and most of the COVID-19 health orders. 

The question in everyone’s mind now is: when can we see our loved ones again? Thankfully, there’s plenty of good news on that front. 

What Are the Updated COVID-19 Recommendations?

If you and your loved ones are fully vaccinated, you can start living life a little more normally, according to the Centers for Disease Control. That includes visiting (and hugging!) your senior loved ones. Here’s what the CDC recommends:

  • Vaccinated people no longer need to wear a mask or social distance except where required by local business or workplace guidelines. In other words, the vaccine does a good job of keeping you safe. There are some situations (such as public transportation or healthcare facilities) where masks may still be required or recommended, but you won’t need one in most scenarios.
  • Non-vaccinated people should still take precautions. While higher vaccine rates will slow the spread of COVID-19, those who have not yet received the vaccine should continue to wear masks and remain six feet apart. Vaccinated people can interact with unvaccinated people safely, but multiple unvaccinated households should still refrain from mingling.
  • Vaccinated people do not need to quarantine after exposure to someone with COVID-19 unless they have symptoms. If you come into contact with someone who is diagnosed with COVID-19, you no longer need to quarantine. However, it is still possible (though unlikely) that you could contract the virus or share it with someone else. If you begin to show symptoms, the CDC recommends that you get tested.
  • Most Ohio COVID-19 restrictions have been lifted. The only restrictions remaining in place apply to unvaccinated staff members at nursing homes and assisted living facilities. That means Ohio residents may visit family members in these facilities without making an appointment, and there will no longer be a limit on the number of visitors in the facility. Individual facilities may still put restrictions in place based on their unique circumstances.
  • Immunocompromised individuals should still take precautions. If you or your senior loved one have a health condition or a medication that weakens the immune system, talk to your doctor about what precautions you should take. You may still be vulnerable to the virus.

What Do the New Guidelines Mean for Seniors?

shutterstock_147309194As you begin making plans to visit your senior loved ones, it’s a good idea to talk to your family doctor about what he or she recommends in terms of health and safety precautions. If your mom or dad is at increased risk due to an underlying health condition, your needs may be different from what the CDC recommends. In general, however, here are some activities you can look forward to:

  • Family gatherings - Have you been longing for a summer barbecue or family reunion? Go ahead and put it on the calendar!  As long as everyone is vaccinated, getting together with family is a low-risk activity. The CDC still recommends that unvaccinated households avoid mingling and take prevention measures.
  • Day trips or outings - Eating out at a restaurant, going shopping, or planning a day trip are all low-risk activities for fully vaccinated seniors.
  • Visits with friends - If everyone in attendance has been vaccinated, it’s safe for seniors to make plans with friends. Again, however, unvaccinated people from different households should continue to take precautions and avoid mingling.
  • Religious services - If religious services are important to your loved one, they may be missing the social interactions and support they offer. Fully vaccinated seniors can safely begin attending services and interacting with their community.
  • Doctor or dentist visits - If you’ve been putting off a dental cleaning or check-up for safety reasons, now is a great time to get that scheduled. 

Remaining healthy and safe is still a priority as Ohio begins to open up again. The CDC recommends that we all continue to watch for symptoms of COVID-19, even following vaccination. The vaccine is highly effective, but there is still a small chance of transmission. That’s why it is critical that everyone who can get the vaccine does so. As more people gain immunity through vaccination, the chances of contracting a serious case of COVID-19 will continue to diminish. 

 

One word of caution is that the new Delta variant is becoming more prevalent across the United States and is now responsible for more than 80% of new COVID-19 cases. The Delta variant is considered to spread faster and be more contagious than previous strains. However, since current vaccines are over 90% effective in preventing hospitalization, vaccination is still the best protection against the Delta variant. In the weeks ahead, it will be important to follow the news closely as cases increase. As experts learn more about the Delta variant, there will likely be changes in federal, state, and local recommendations. 

If you or your loved one haven’t received the vaccine yet, talk to your doctor about what steps you should take next. 

How Cherished Keeps Your Senior Loved Ones Safe

We’re so excited to see restrictions being lifted and activities being opened up again. As we begin navigating this return to normal, Cherished Companions is still following all safety protocols and precautions to ensure the lowest level of risk for your senior family member. We’re committed to doing everything we can to keep your loved ones safe and to keep our caregivers healthy. If you have questions about how we are prioritizing your family’s health and safety, we’re always available to help!  

For further questions, to request resources, or to inquire about getting or becoming a caregiver, contact Cherished Companions today on our website or call (440) 484-5390!