With low levels of severe disease and effective tools to prevent COVID-19, Vermont health officials announced that starting today, March 14, COVID-19 public health recommendations have been updated.
The new prevention guidance focuses on recommending Vermonters consider their own circumstances and risk in deciding what precautions to take – including wearing a mask around others – to protect themselves, loved ones and those at higher risk from COVID-19. The guidance had previously recommended wearing a mask in all indoor public spaces.
The state has also simplified its guidance for anyone who tests positive or is in close contact with someone who tests positive. Vermonters are still strongly urged to be up to date on vaccinations against the virus.
“As we continue moving forward and evolving our management of this virus, it’s important to reflect on the progress we’ve made and how much Vermonters have stepped up over the last two years,” said Governor Phil Scott. “Although COVID isn’t going away, we’re in a much different place than we were not too long ago, and we know how to protect ourselves. Vaccination remains the best tool in our toolbox to protect yourself and others, and we continue to encourage anyone who hasn’t to get vaccinated and boosted.”
The updated guidance calls for people who test positive to isolate for five days -- even if you are vaccinated or never have symptoms. Recommendations no longer include a negative test to end isolation or masking for an additional five days after isolation.
For people who are considered close contacts of someone who tested positive, quarantine is no longer recommended. However, if you are not vaccinated or not up-to-date on your vaccines, you should get tested around five days after your contact occurred. Any close contact should get tested if they develop symptoms, regardless of vaccination status.
These changes do not apply to health care settings, including long-term care facilities, or other congregate settings that follow separate guidance.
With less risk of COVID-19 and the critical tools to protect ourselves -- through vaccines, testing and treatment, Health Commissioner Mark Levine, MD, said we can live more safely, with the virus causing less disruption in our daily lives.
“The COVID-19 virus will be with us for a long time, but the data tells us we have arrived at a point where people can decide for themselves if they want to take precautions based on their own personal level of risk,” Dr. Levine said.
Dr. Levine emphasized, however, that low levels of virus is not the same as no virus, and that we need to remain prepared in case the virus changes again.
“If we have learned anything about COVID-19 over these past two years, it is that the virus is good at evolving,” Dr. Levine said. “With many surges and new variants, nearly all of us have been affected in some way, and too many have suffered serious illness and tragic losses. I am hopeful we are finally coming to the end of the pandemic, but that will only be the case if people are thoughtful about their safety and activities – and stay up-to-date on vaccinations.”
Vermonters can find the information and tools they need to protect themselves and others from getting or spreading the virus at healthvermont.gov/covid-19/protect-yourself-others.
Get tested when needed. Find where and how to get tested: healthvermont.gov/testing
To find where to get a COVID-19 vaccine near you, visit healthvermont.gov/MyVaccine.
COVID-19 guidance and information are available in multiple languages: healthvermont.gov/media/translation/covid-19-translations