Lawrence-Douglas County health department updating respiratory virus guidelines to align with CDC, KDHE

photo by: Kevin Anderson/Journal-World File Photo

The Lawrence-Douglas County health department's home at the Community Health Facility, 200 Maine St., is pictured in this file photo from July 2010.

Lawrence-Douglas County Public Health on Wednesday announced that it’s updating its guidance around respiratory viruses to align with new guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released earlier this month.

On March 1, the CDC updated its guidance for respiratory viruses like COVID-19, influenza and RSV. Previously, the CDC recommended that individuals who test positive for COVID isolate for at least five days, but the updated guidance recommends only that people stay home and away from others until at least 24 hours after their symptoms begin to improve and they haven’t had a fever without the use of fever-reducing medication.

From there, the new guidance recommends that people take the following precautions for five days once resuming normal activities:

* Enhancing hygiene practices.

* Wearing a well-fitting mask.

* Keeping a distance from others.

* Letting more fresh air from outside into your home or taking other steps to purify your air.

* Getting tested to inform your actions and prevent the spread of disease.

The new guidance doesn’t apply to health care settings.

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment announced its own alignment with the new CDC recommendations Tuesday. The LDCPH release from Wednesday says that unifying the recommendations for common respiratory viruses makes the guidance “easier to follow and more likely to be implemented.”

“Although respiratory viruses remain a public health threat, the CDC is making updates to the recommendations now because we are in a different place regarding COVID-19,” the release reads. “We now have more tools than ever to combat flu, COVID-19 and RSV, as well as vaccines for all three of those viruses.”

The release adds that there are now far fewer hospitalizations and deaths associated with COVID-19 and there’s a higher degree of population immunity against the virus, causing its health impacts to become similar to other respiratory viruses.

While individuals who are at high risk if they contract COVID are still encouraged to take extra precautions to remain safe, the release urges Douglas County residents to focus on the core prevention strategies outlined in the new CDC guidance, including staying up to date on vaccinations for respiratory viruses.


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