Spring Holidays & COVID-19

Photo of cherry blossoms.

Published April 14, 2022

After a period of decline in COVID-19 cases, we are now seeing another increase locally and across parts of New York State.

Fueled by the upcoming spring holidays, providers with UBMD Physicians’ Group are urging patients to stay vigilant, especially if part of a high-risk population.

What to do for the holidays?

  • With the weather turning nicer, consider opening the windows to increase air exchanges when gathering indoors
  • If you’re at high risk for complications from COVID-19, wear your mask indoors unless eating or drinking
  • If you have any COVID-19 symptoms or have been exposed to someone with COVID-19, stay home and do not participate in gatherings

What if I have COVID-19 symptoms?

  • Get tested ASAP: rapid at-home test, rapid test at a medical facility or PCR test
  • If negative with a rapid test but still have symptoms, get a PCR test to confirm
  • If positive and are high-risk, call your provider to discuss protentional medical interventions

I’m high-risk and positive for COVID-19, what can I take to reduce my risk of severe illness or hospitalization?

If you’re within 5 days of symptom onset, your medical provider may prescribe Paxlovid or Molnupiravir; both of which are antiviral pills that may reduce your chance of severe illness or hospitalization. Your doctor will ask you several questions and review your medical history to determine if one of these medications is right for you. Be sure to discuss your current prescriptions with your doctor and pharmacist as Paxlovid has several drug interactions. Molnupiravir is not recommended for those pregnant, trying to get pregnant or breastfeeding.

If you are within 7 days of symptom onset, you may be eligible for Monoclonal Antibody Therapy (mAb) or IV Remdesivir.

The use of early treatment care, such as with Paxlovid and Molnupiravir, will reduce symptom duration and the development of severe disease, hospitalization and death. 

If I’m high-risk, is there anything I can do to reduce my chances of getting COVID-19 before I’m exposed to it?

In addition to masking and practicing social distancing, you can talk to your provider about Evusheld, which is an injection series that can be used to prevent a COVID-19 infection in high-risk patients for up to three months.

  • This is recommended for those vaccinated who are moderately or severely immunocompromised (e.g., leukemia, transplants, those on immunosuppressive/immunomodulating medications that may not optimally respond to the vaccine, etc.)
  • Evusheld can be prescribed to those who are unvaccinated by medical necessity. It is not available for those who could be vaccinated but choose not to be. To be prescribed to someone unvaccinated, they must be in a high-risk age group or severely immunocompromised.

Who is considered high risk?

The immunocompromised and the unvaccinated, especially those who are 60 years of age or older, and those with underlying health conditions.

A complete list of those considered high risk is available on the CDC’s website, but a few of note are: 

Pregnant women or those trying to get pregnant

It’s especially important for this population to get vaccinated, as well as everyone in the household and those most frequently in contact with. Pregnant women who get Covid-19 have increased risks of complications and death. If diagnosed with COVID-19 during pregnancy, you should see your obstetrician as soon as possible. Intervention will depend on a variety of factors including underlying conditions such as gestational diabetes, etc.

The unvaccinated

If you are not vaccinated, you are at high-risk of getting COVID-19 regardless of your age. Regardless of age, if you have one of the high-risk conditions listed on the CDC’s website, you will be at an even higher risk of serious illness, hospitalization and death if you are unvaccinated versus those who are vaccinated.

Those with underlying health conditions taking immunosuppressant medications

Those on immunosuppressant drugs may have a decreased ability to fight an infection or may not have had an ideal response to the COVID-19 vaccine.

Those 60 years of age or older

Previous pandemic waves have suggested that those 60+ are more at-risk for severe complications from COVID-19.