March 6, 2024

CDC Issues New Guidance for COVID-19 and Other Respiratory Illness Prevention

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued new guidance on protection for common respiratory illnesses such as COVID-19, flu and RSV.

The nation is in a better place than it was in the early months of the COVID-19 health crisis. There are effective vaccines and new treatment options that lessen the severity of illness. More than 98 percent of the U.S. population now has some protective immunity from vaccination, prior infection or both.

With vaccines and treatment options, the nation is entering a new phase for COVID-19. It continues to circulate in the community, but hospitalization and death rates have decreased.

The CDC is now recommending the following prevention strategies for COVID-19 and other respiratory illnesses such as flu and RSV:
  • Stay up to date on vaccinations, including an annual flu shot, RSV vaccine for certain age groups and the latest COVID-19 shots.
  • Practice good hygiene habits, including regular hand washing and covering a cough.
  • If you do test positive for COVID-19 or flu, get treatment that will lessen the duration and severity of illness.
  • If sick, stay home and away from others. This goes for COVID-19, as well as other respiratory viruses. Stay home and isolate from others until symptoms are getting better and you are fever-free for 24 hours (without taking fever-reducing medication).
  • When leaving isolation, resume normal activities, but continue taking precautions for the next five days when around others indoors. This includes:
    • Masking
    • Physical distancing
    • Take steps for cleaner air such as opening a window
    • Testing
  • If you test positive for a respiratory illness such as COVID-19, but do not have any symptoms, take precautions for the next five days.
The prevention strategies can be especially helpful if respiratory viruses are causing a lot of illness in the community.

Montgomery County libraries are receiving new supplies of COVID-19 test kits over the next few weeks that will be available for free to residents.

Visit the County’s COVID-19website for additional information and for links to more detailed information from the CDC.