ST. LAWRENCE COUNTY, N.Y. (WWTI) — Local communities are making changes following eased COVID-19 guidelines released by the Center for Disease Control on August 11.

According to the St. Lawrence County Public Health Department, COVID-19 remains an ongoing public health threat. But due to high vaccination rates, infection-induced immunity and treatment options, the risk for serious illness, hospitalization and death has substantially declined.

New recommendations from the CDC now focus on preventing severe illness and death to more vulnerable populations.

Guidance is broken down into two categories: Steps to take when an individual is exposed or when an individual tests positive for COVID-19.

One of the largest changes for those exposed is unvaccinated individuals no longer are advised to go through a five-day quarantine period.

However, individuals can still get COVID-19 ten days after being exposed. SLCPH says the following precautions should be taken immediately regardless of vaccination status:

  • Wear a mask around others as soon as possible
  • Take extra precautions around people who are likely to get very sick from COVID-19
  • Watch symptoms for ten days
  • Get tested at least five days after last exposure
    • If negative, continue to take precautions through day ten

If individuals test positive for COVID-19, they are still required to isolate immediately. All positive at-home tests should be reported to the St. Lawrence County Public Health Department online.

Health officials recommend sick individuals take the following steps to prevent the spread of COVID-19:

  • Stay home for at least five days and continue to wear a mask from days 6 through 10
  • Separate from others as much as possible
  • Monitor symptoms
  • Wear a well-fitted mask if around others
  • Cover cough and sneezes
  • Wash hands often
  • Avoid sharing personal household items
  • Clean surfaces regularly
  • Take steps to improve indoor ventilation

Treatments are also available for older adults or those at high risk of getting extreme cases of COVID-19. Contact your healthcare provider to determine eligibility.