FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 4, 2022
Revised Guidance for Child Cares and Vaccine Updates
Changes done to align with recent state and federal revisions
SNOHOMISH COUNTY, WA – Following last month’s changes to isolation and quarantine guidance for the general public and for K-12 schools, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Washington State Department of Health (DOH) have issued updated guidance for child cares and related settings.
The guidance for child cares, youth development groups and day camps went into effect immediately in Snohomish County. While these service providers can elect to require stricter guidelines, the updated guidance includes the following:
- Length of isolation for a positive case.
- Children under 2 years of age should not wear a mask, so they must continue to stay home for the full 10 days and fever-free for at least 24 hours with other symptoms improving.
- Children ages 2-4 and staff may return after 5 days, as long as they are fever-free for at least 24 hours and other symptoms improving. They must continue to wear a mask when around others and all children in their cohort should be consistently masked for the following 5 days.
- School-age children will continue to follow their K-12 guidance. Masks should continue to be worn when around other people for the full 10 days.
- Length of quarantine for close contacts.
- Those fully vaccinated and up to date on all recommended COVID-19 vaccines do not need to quarantine unless they develop symptoms. Masks should continue to be worn when around other people for the full 10 days.
- Children 2 years of age and older and staff not participating in serial testing can return to care/work after five days, as long as they have tested negative on or after Day 5. They must continue to wear a mask when around others and all children in their cohort should be consistently masked for the following 5 days.
- Children under 2 years of age should not wear a mask, so they must continue to stay home for the full 10 days.
For calculation purposes, Day 0 is considered the day symptoms began, the day the positive test sample was collected if not symptomatic, or the day a close contact was last exposed to a confirmed case. Child care providers may accept PCR or rapid antigen tests witnessed by a third party, such as a child care staff member. Credible parent or guardian reports of negative at-home test results may be accepted at the child care provider's discretion.
For isolated or quarantined individuals returning to work, school or child care on Day 6, they must continue monitoring for symptoms and wearing a well-fitting mask around others through Day 10. This is both in and out of the facility, including during breaks, extracurricular and sports activities, even after all symptoms have ended. From Days 6-10, individuals who return from isolation or quarantine should avoid being around other people who are at higher risk for severe illness as much as possible. Mask wearing should continue even after Day 10, as long as the Secretary of Health’s masking order for indoor public places remains in effect.
An individual is considered fully vaccinated 2 weeks after they have received their primary series of COVID-19 vaccines. COVID-19 vaccines must be authorized for emergency use, licensed, or otherwise approved by the FDA; or listed for emergency use or otherwise approved by the World Health Organization.
An individual is considered up to date when they have received all recommended COVID-19 vaccines, including booster or additional doses, when eligible depending on their age and health status. Please note that quarantine guidance requires an individual to be up to date on their COVID-19 vaccines. See the CDC’s information on Staying Up to Date with Your Vaccines.
RESOURCE: Summary of Isolation & Quarantine Guidance by Group
“These updates are likely welcome news to the families and providers for the more than 18,000 children in child care programs throughout Snohomish County,” said Dr. Chris Spitters, Health Officer for the Snohomish Health District. “More relief for this age group is likely on the horizon as the FDA and CDC consider requests to expand vaccine eligibility to those six months of age and up. This will bring an added layer of protection for our youngest residents.”
From November through December, the Snohomish Health District had more than 400 confirmed cases of COVID-19 among child care staff and children. Those 400 cases were linked to more than 5,300 close contacts who missed days of work or child care.
“We recognize that the pandemic continues to bring very real social and economic challenges to our community,” said Board of Health Chair Stephanie Wright. “In addition to vaccination and other prevention measures that people can take, we have been working with our local legislators to identify ways the state and federal government may be able to protect working families.”
One of the policy priority items in the Health District’s adopted 2022 legislative agenda supports legislation providing the extension of employment protections for impacted individuals and caregivers in compliance with quarantine and isolation orders, as well as funding to defray childcare expenses for parents or guardians when children must isolate or quarantine.
Some immunocompromised individuals should receive four doses of COVID-19 vaccine
People who are immunocompromised are especially vulnerable to COVID-19. A fourth dose of COVID-19 vaccine can help some people with weakened immune systems be less likely to catch COVID-19 and get severely ill. Certain individuals who are immunocompromised may receive up to four doses of COVID-19 vaccine, which includes two primary doses of an mRNA vaccine (Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna), an additional primary dose, and a booster dose.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends people ages 5 and older who are moderately or severely immunocompromised get an additional primary shot (third dose) of an mRNA vaccine 28 days after receiving their second dose. An additional primary shot may prevent serious and possibly life-threatening COVID-19 in people who may not have responded well to their two-dose mRNA COVID-19 vaccine primary series. Currently, no additional primary shot is recommended for people who received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
Everyone 12 years of age and older, including immunocompromised people, should get a booster shot when they are eligible, making that a total four doses for such individuals to consider themselves “up to date” on vaccination. Those who received Pfizer or Moderna should get a booster 5 months after completing their 3-dose primary series and people who received the single-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine should get a booster 2 months after their first dose.
According to the CDC, people are considered moderately or severely immunocompromised if they have:
- Been receiving active cancer treatment for tumors or cancers of the blood.
- Received an organ transplant and are taking medicine to suppress the immune system.
- Received a stem cell transplant within the last 2 years or are taking medicine to suppress the immune system.
- Moderate or severe primary immunodeficiency (such as DiGeorge syndrome, Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome).
- Advanced or untreated HIV infection.
- Active treatment with high-dose corticosteroids or other drugs that may suppress their immune system.
People should talk to their trusted healthcare provider about their medical condition, and whether getting an additional primary shot is appropriate for them. For more information, visit the Frequently Asked Questions section of the Washington State Department of Health’s website.