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Island County Public Health's community guidance:
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You can help slow the spread of the COVID-19 variants
To minimize the spread of COVID-19 and its variants in our community, the Island County COVID Response Team wants you to have the best information available to avoid getting sick with the virus.
COVID-19 variant BA.5 is one we all need to be concerned about because of how easily it can be transmitted and how deviously it evades immunities built up from COVID-19 vaccinations and prior infections.
Earlier variants of COVID-19 mostly affected just the spike protein. The BA.5 variant, however, has multiple mutations across its structure that allow it to grab onto and infect our cells. That means if you become infected with the BA.5 variant, and you are vaccinated and boosted, or previously had COVID-19, you may develop mild symptoms or be asymptomatic, but you also risk spreading it to those who are more vulnerable, including the immunocompromised.
You can also become infected with the BA.5 variant as soon as four weeks after being infected with a previous variant of COVID-19.
National medical experts say the best way to avoid becoming sick and spreading the COVID-19 virus is to take the following simple steps:
- Avoid large gatherings, especially indoors. If you are holding an event,
keep it outdoors, spread apart as much as possible. Consider wearing a
well-fitted mask and encourage others to mask up.
- If you gather indoors, make sure the space is well ventilated and practice
social distancing. Consider wearing a well-fitted mask and encourage
others to mask up.
- Take a COVID-19 rapid home test to ensure you are infection-free before
attending gatherings or traveling. Even if you don't display symptoms,
you may be infected with the virus.
- Consider people in your circle who may be high-risk. Spreading COVID-19
to the immunocompromised or unvaccinated is more likely to cause
serious illness and require hospitalization.
- Obtain a rapid home test kit by calling the Island County COVID
Response Call Center at 360-678-2301 or to have free test kits mailed to
your home go online to www.sayyescovidhometest.org
- Make sure you and your family members have COVID-19 vaccinations and boosters up to date.
- Wash your hands with soap and water, or use hand sanitizer when soap
and water aren't available.
- Stay home if you are sick.