Even as vaccination rates have topped 80 percent in the city and the pandemic nears the two-year mark, Covid-19 continues to leave its mark in Chelsea and across the country.
Recently, City Manager Tom Ambrosino provided an update to residents on new Covid-19 procedures and what they can continue to do to keep themselves and their family and neighbors safe.
“We are in the midst of a surge of the new highly transmissible, but less severe Omicron variant of the Covid-19 virus,” said Ambrosino. “The Centers for Disease Control and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health have adopted new rules to address this variant and to allow the public to end isolation and quarantine and allow people to return to the workplace in a quicker fashion. In many cases, these rules are more lenient and less dependent upon testing and far more accommodating to people who are fully vaccinated with the available booster shot.”
Ambrosino said everyone is strongly encouraged to get vaccinated and receive the available boosters as soon as they are eligible.
The new state and national guidelines, he said, fall into three categories.
The first is for those who test positive for Covid. Ambrosino said those who test positive need only isolate for five days as long as they are symptom-free for at least 24 hours without medication. After leaving isolation, they must wear a mask for an additional five days.
The second group is people who are close contacts of someone who tested positive but are fully vaccinated with an eligible booster shot.
These people do not need to quarantine as long as they are symptom-free, but do need to wear a mask for 10 days from the last day of close contact.
“If possible, you should try to get a test on day five, but no test is required,” said Ambrosino. “If you have symptoms, you should get a test and if it is positive, you do need to isolate for five days.”
The third category is people who are a close contact to someone who tests positive, but are not fully vaccinated. That includes people who have received the initial rounds of the vaccine, but have not gotten a booster after more than six months.
Those people need to quarantine for five days after coming in close contact with someone who is Covid positive. If they are symptom free after that time, they can leave isolation, but do need to wear a mask for the next five days.
“The Covid guidelines can be complicated, and they have changed considerably, we would recommend that if you have questions, go to the city’s website to the Covid section, and all these rules are laid out in what we hope is simple language,” Ambrosino said.
If someone continued to have questions, Ambrosino said they should contact the city’s public health department.
“What we always emphasize is that the best way to keep your loved ones safe and to protect the community is to get vaccinated with the booster as soon as possible,” Ambrosino said.
The city runs a vaccination clinic at the Chelsea Senior Center on Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and on Mondays from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.
“In addition to the vaccine, we still have PCR testing happening here in the city, but we caution that this type of testing at this time is quite limited,” said Ambrosino.