What You Need to Know About COVID-19
The CDC recently (December 27, 2021) updated and shortened the recommended isolation and quarantine period.
The change is aimed at people who are not experiencing symptoms. People with symptoms during isolation, or who develop symptoms during quarantine, are encouraged to stay home. The new CDC guidance is not a mandate; it's a recommendation to employers and state and local officials.
Given what we currently know about COVID-19 and the Omicron variant, CDC has shortened the recommended time for isolation from 10 days for people with COVID-19 to 5 days, if asymptomatic, followed by 5 days of wearing a mask when around others. The change is motivated by science demonstrating that the majority of SARS-CoV-2 transmission occurs early in the course of illness, generally in the 1-2 days prior to onset of symptoms and the 2-3 days after. Therefore, people who test positive should isolate for 5 days and, if asymptomatic at that time, they may leave isolation if they can continue to mask for 5 days to minimize the risk of infecting others.
Additionally, CDC updated the recommended quarantine period for those exposed to COVID-19. For people who are unvaccinated or are more than six months out from their second mRNA dose (or more than 2 months after the J&J vaccine) and not yet boosted, CDC now recommends quarantine for 5 days followed by strict mask use for an additional 5 days. Alternatively, if a 5-day quarantine is not feasible, it is imperative that an exposed person wear a well-fitting mask at all times when around others for 10 days after exposure. Individuals who have received their booster shot do not need to quarantine following an exposure, but should wear a mask for 10 days after the exposure. For all those exposed, best practice would also include a test for SARS-CoV-2 at day 5 after exposure. If symptoms occur, individuals should immediately quarantine until a negative test confirms symptoms are not attributable to COVID-19.
As has happened throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, officials have been following the science and updating public health recommendations to best reflect the current state of the pandemic. Taking steps to prevent spread of COVID-19 remains important so we can reduce severe illnesses and deaths and protect our health care system. We continue to recommend that people get vaccinated, get a booster when eligible, wear masks in indoor public places, get tested when recommended, wash hands frequently, and stay home when sick.
Further Breakdown of Current Guidance
Per CDC Guidance:
The isolation rules are for people who are infected. They are the same for people who are unvaccinated, partly vaccinated, fully vaccinated or boosted.
- The clock starts the day you test positive.
- An infected person should go into isolation for five days, instead of the previously recommended 10.
- At the end of five days, if you have no symptoms, you can return to normal activities but must wear a mask everywhere — even at home around others — for at least five more days.
- If you still have symptoms after isolating for five days, stay home until you feel better and then start your five days of wearing a mask at all times.
The quarantine rules are for people who were in close contact with an infected person but not infected themselves.
- The clock starts the day someone is alerted they may have been exposed to the virus.
- People who got booster shots can skip quarantine if they wear masks in all settings for at least 10 days.
- People who got their initial shots but not boosters are in the same situation as those who are partly vaccinated or are not vaccinated at all: They can stop quarantine after five days if they wear masks in all settings for five days afterward.
- Omicron has been detected in most states and territories and is rapidly increasing the proportion of COVID-19 cases it is causing. The Omicron variant likely will spread more easily than the original SARS-CoV-2 virus and how easily Omicron spreads compared to Delta remains unknown. CDC expects that anyone with Omicron infection can spread the virus to others, even if they are vaccinated or don’t have symptoms. Current vaccines are expected to protect against severe illness, hospitalizations, and deaths due to infection with the Omicron variant. However, breakthrough infections in people who are fully vaccinated are likely to occur. With other variants, like Delta, vaccines have remained effective at preventing severe illness, hospitalizations, and death. The recent emergence of Omicron further emphasizes the importance of vaccination and boosters.
- If you have more questions, public health is a great resource. You can reach Otter Tail County Public Health at 218-998-8320 or visit their website https://ottertailcountymn.us/content-page/covid-19-situation-update/
COVID-19 medication, called monoclonal antibodies or mAbs, can help people fight their illness. The Omicron variant has induced dramatic change to the procedures for COVID-19 mAbs in Minnesota. Only one COVID-19 mAb is known to retain activity against Omicron. Because of this, the Minnesota Department of Health has directed exclusive use of sotrovimab as of December 20, 2021. Supply of sotrovimab is very limited.
The timing of your booster shot depends on the vaccine you received for your initial vaccine series and your age.
- For some immunocompromised children aged 5–11 years old, CDC now recommends an additional dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine to complete the primary series – a total of three doses. See media statement | Spanish.
- CDC now recommends booster shots at 5 months after the completion of the primary series of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for those aged 12 and older. See media statement.
You can read more about boosters on the CDC website here.
- Due to a current uptick in illness in our area, we are currently offering COVID swab testing in our drive thru and patient care department only for those that are ill, experiencing symptoms or have been exposed. Call the appointment line for appointments with providers or the drive-thru, or visit our Walk-In-Clinic. Please note these tests are sent out to the Mayo clinic and are not rapid tests. If you are in need of testing for travel or extra curricular school or family activities, we encourage you to utilize one of the options below.
- MDH has a testing site in Moorhead Monday-Thursday from 11am-6pm at the former Thomas Edison Elementary School. You can sign up online for an appt time at https://mncovidtestingappt.as.me/schedule.php
- MDH also offers a test at home option through Vault. To order an at-home test at no cost visit https://learn.vaulthealth.com/state-of-minnesota/
- Walgreens (and potentially other pharmacies) has free testing available in Fergus Falls utilizing the same rapid test LRH uses. To make an appt visit their website at https://walgreens.com
- Antigen tests can be purchased over the counter at local pharmacies.
Otter Tail County Public Health offers COVID-19 testing and you Can find the details on types of tests and dates on the site Otter Tail County Testing Information. Appointments are preferred and can be made on their website, but walk ins are welcome.
- Testing options in the Horizon Public Health five-county area can be found here.
- Links to state sites may be found here ottertailcountymn.us/covid-19-testing-information/
- LRH/PRH are offering vaccines at provider visits and occasional vaccine clinics. Please call the appointment line at 218.739.2221 to schedule.
- Otter Tail County Public Health is also hosting weekly COVID vaccine clinics. You can schedule online by calling 218-998-8320or visiting their website at https://ottertailcountymn.us/content-page/covid-19-vaccine/
- You may also check with Horizon Public Health for their vaccine opportunities by visiting their website at this link.
- Several local pharmacies also offer the vaccine.
- You can search for vaccine locations near you at this website: https://mn.gov/covid19/vaccine/find-vaccine/locations/index.jsp
The COVID-19 vaccine is being provided at no cost. We will ask for insurance information to submit an administration fee to your insurance company if applicable. If insurance does not cover this fee, it will not be passed on to you.
The American Hospital Association has a resource that answers many of the frequent concerns we hear about the vaccine. It can be found at https://www.aha.org/vaccine.
Several of our providers have offered some video comments regarding vaccine safety and efficacy as well. Those can be viewed on our website here.
- You can get a COVID-19 vaccine and other vaccines at the same visit. You no longer need to wait 14 days between vaccinations. Experience with other vaccines has shown that the way our bodies develop protection, known as an immune response, after getting vaccinated and possible side effects of vaccines are generally the same when given alone or with other vaccines.
- Learn more about the timing of other vaccines.
Masks are still required in healthcare settings, including all our locations. While the masking recommendation by the CDC and the Governor for vaccinated individuals in certain area has lifted, local businesses and workplaces may continue with individual requirements for masking at their discretion as well. Please be respectful of posted signs and guidelines for the places you visit.
Vaccine Information & Resources
All Minnesotans 5 years and older are now eligible for the COVID-19 Vaccine. All adults are now recommended to get the vaccine booster. We have created a dedicated page for COVID-19 Vaccine information & resources and you can find it here.
Our current visitor policy is:
- All patients & visitors entering our facility continue to be asked COVID screening questions and are required to wear masks in the facility in accordance with CDC and MDH guidelines for healthcare settings.
- No visitors are allowed for COVID-positive in-patients.
- A limit of one visitor per patient at the Cancer Center.
Due to a current uptick in illness in our area, we are currently offering COVID swab testing in our drive thru and patient care department only for those that are ill, experiencing symptoms or have been exposed. If you are in need of testing for travel or extra curricular school or family activities, we encourage you to check the additional options listed in the FAQ above.
Visit this link for COVID-19 Testing Prices
Where you can get MDH Saliva Testing in Minnesota
How to get the MDH Test at Home Kit
Other Helpful Resources Related to Testing
If your COVID test is positive, you may qualify for monoclonal antibody (mAb) treatment. If you are more likely to get very sick from COVID-19 your healthcare provider might recommend that you receive a monoclonal antibody infusion. Read more about this treatment here.
What Should You Do if You Think You Have COVID-19?
Because most cases of coronavirus are able to manage and recover from the illness by staying home, resting and drinking plenty of fluids, as of today we are offering the following guidance:
- Patients who think they may have COVID-19 are asked to call us before coming to a healthcare facility.
- If you experience the symptoms of COVID-19 we ask you to call first for a phone consult for us to gather specific patient health history. After screening, you will be given guidance on whether to manage at home following the “Home Management Strategies” below or if appropriate, how to access testing or schedule an appointment with us.
- If you have been tested for COVID-19 and are awaiting your test results, or you have received a positive test results, please follow these guidelines for self-isolation and learn more about how & when to quarantine here.
Home Management Strategies:
- Stay home except to receive medical care.
- Separate yourself from other people and animals in your home (preferably own bedroom and bathroom).
- Call ahead before visiting your healthcare provider.
- Wear a face mask if around others.
- Cover your coughs and sneezes.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds.
- Avoid sharing personal household items.
- Monitor your symptoms – if illness is worsening (ex: difficulty breathing), call your healthcare provider.
- Remain on home isolation until your healthcare provider and state/local health department confirms it is safe to discontinue.
Foundation COVID-19 Relief & Response Funds
Virtual Appointments Available
In The News
For recent announcements related to COVID-19 at our facility, please visit our newsroom.
How to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses such as Coronavirus
- Get the COVID-19 Vaccine.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
- Follow the CDC’s recommendations for using a face mask in certain settings or when not vaccinated or high risk, along with any state or local masking requirements.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
- If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.
- Maintain a 6 ft. distance from others if not vaccinated.
Important Phone Numbers:
Lake Region Healthcare Fergus Falls Clinic: 218-739-2221
Lake Region Healthcare Fergus Falls Hospital (24 hours): 218-736-8000
Prairie Ridge Hospital & Health Service Elbow Lake Clinic: 218-685-7300
Prairie Ridge Hospital & Health Services Morris Clinic: 320-589-4008
Otter Tail County Public Health Hotline: 218-998-8320
Resources are available to keep you up-to-date on COVID-19 and to help you reduce the risk of infection for yourself and your family.
The CDC website offers abundant, current information about COVID-19. It is updated often. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html
Continue to visit our website and our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/lakeregionhealthcare/. We will continue to provide regular updates and new information as it becomes available.