I wish that I could give definitive answers and predictions for the way the COVID-19 pandemic (and flu season) will go this winter. Unfortunately…I can’t.
What I can do is give you some resources that will allow you to assess the current situation and make choices about your personal safety. I hope you will also consider the health of the communities around you and of people who may be more vulnerable.
How do I know how common COVID-19 is in my community?
Check the community transmission levels where you live and where you travel. These reflect the number of new hospitalizations and inpatient beds used due to COVID-19. Our best predictor of future COVID levels is regional wastewater testing, which can indicate trends for the next one to two weeks.
How do I use the CDC’s “community level”?
The CDC currently recommends these strategies for all levels (additional strategies are given for areas with medium or high levels) of infection:
- Stay up to date on vaccination, including recommended booster doses (find out when you can get a booster). As of last week, children five years and up can receive the updated bivalent booster.
- Maintain ventilation improvements.
- Avoid contact with people who have suspected or confirmed COVID-19.
- Follow recommendations for isolation if you have suspected or confirmed COVID-19.
- Follow the recommendations for what to do if you are exposed to someone with COVID-19.
- If you are at high risk of getting very sick, talk with a healthcare provider about additional prevention actions.
Where can I get the COVID-19 vaccine and boosters?
COVID-19 vaccine is available statewide, find locations here. In the Twin Cities, vaccine and boosters are available at Boynton Health Pharmacy, and Pfizer bivalent updated booster shots are available by appointment at upcoming vaccination clinics.
Where can I get a flu shot?
What else might be helpful for me to know?
- COVID-19 boosters and flu shots can be given at the same time.
- This article from the Scientific American explores how experts assess individual risk.
- If you experience long-term effects from a COVID-19 infection, now described as Post-COVID Conditions, you may want to contact your healthcare provider.
- There is an association reported between having COVID-19 during pregnancy and an increased incidence of pre-eclampsia (the original article from the Washington Post is behind a paywall).
- Please remember to respect other peoples’ decision whether they mask or not.
- Want a weekly summary of U.S. COVID-19 statistics? See the CDC’s “COVID Data Tracker Weekly Review.”