How to tell your network that you have detected Covid-19

As the epidemic enters its peak in the second half of its third year, highly contagious and immune evading variants of Covid-19 are fueling another spike in infections. While Covid-19 fatigue and official case data may point to a modest wave of positive cases, at-home test results are largely underestimated in the published data. Just as the testing infrastructure has largely shifted to individuals as many public testing sites have closed, so has contact tracing. Should someone contract the Covid-19 virus, it is now the responsibility of that person to inform their network.

“These conversations, compared to the past few years, have not only been more widely accepted, but more are already expected,” says Donald Yellie, chief medical officer of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. “It’s a nice business to be involved in.”

By telling those you’ve interacted with recently that you got sick, you’re empowering them with the knowledge to get tested and isolated, hoping to prevent spread – especially to people who are older or immunocompromised.

Who do I say

You don’t need to alert everyone on your contact list that you’ve contracted Covid-19, but you should inform the people who are most likely to have picked up the virus from you, Yealy says: People you’ve been within six feet of indoors – masked or exposed As well as people who had their hand outdoors during the two-day period before symptoms began, or the two-day period before the test, if you had no symptoms.

While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says to tell anyone about you for 15 minutes or more in a 24-hour period, “the virus is easily gaining a foothold now,” Yealy says. “Think about how close I am and for how long? If you two are very close to each other, or within feet of each other or in physical contact, you don’t even need that 15-minute period.” Think: close partners, roommates, family members, co-workers, friends you’ve seen recently, your child’s teacher (if your child tested positive), the hosts of a party or wedding you attended.

Party hosts or event organizers with more than a few people should tell as many attendees as possible if they or another guest has had Covid-19. We often don’t know all the health conditions [other attendees]“Yes,” he says. “We can really have a hard time determining how much and how close a contact is. I advise sharing the information more widely.” For example, when etiquette expert Lizzie Post, co-chair of the Emily Post Institute and author of a number of etiquette books, tested positive for Covid-19 after attending a friend’s 4th of July party, she sent A text message to its host the news, and then inform the rest of the attendees.

If you’ve been at the same event with someone who’s older, or you know they have underlying health conditions, even if you haven’t necessarily interacted with them, “I would have told them, because their risk of infection is higher,” yes he says.

Of course, there are people you may not know — servers at a restaurant, friends to your friends at a party — but you should do your best to connect with everyone you’ve been close to, Yealy says.

When do you share

If you feel sick enough to warrant testing, you should start telling your network that you likely have Covid. Due to the relative accessibility of rapid tests, you can get a diagnosis fairly quickly after symptoms appear. But if you’re waiting for an appointment or PCR test results, you can still tell your roommates that you’ve been exposed, for example, or have been under the weather in the meantime. Yes, a person is warned against attending social events, work or school if he has respiratory or gastrointestinal symptoms of any kind.

Of course, once you get a positive diagnosis, whether through a rapid test or a PCR test, you must work your way through your list of nearby contacts. The sooner you let your network know, the better, since available antiviral treatments and medications are often more effective early in the course of an infection.

How to inform your network

When it comes to the actual message and how to deliver it, communicate with your contacts the same way you normally would. Do you prefer text over phone calls? Go for it. Do you send email to book club members? Choose email. “Connect with people the way you normally communicate with them, because that’s what they are most likely to pay attention to,” Post says.

Be as honest as possible in the delivery process and stick to the facts: Tell them when you have tested positive and if you have any symptoms. Post suggests that you say something along the lines of “I wanted to tell you that I tested positive for Covid-19 today. It looks like the last time we saw each other was in the window when I could have picked it up and spread it to others.” The same approach applies to everyone, from friends and family to your boss or children’s school. “I’ll keep it very realistic and direct,” Yealy says.

While we may feel inclined to apologize for exposing others, remember that you didn’t intend to get sick, says Abby Crum, marriage and family specialist. Accidents happen. “We have a tendency to blame ourselves, because it’s hard to admit that we’re not in control,” she says. “So it’s almost easier to feel in control even if you blame yourself.” If you suggest indoor dining plans despite your friend’s preference for outdoor dining, for example, you could say something along the lines of, “I lowered the risk and realized this was a mistake,” Crum suggests.

If you are telling guests to the event on behalf of another guest who has contracted the disease, do not mention their names, and say “I just wanted to tell you that another guest has tested positive.”

Feedback management

While the Covid-19 diagnosis is mired in much less shame than it was two years ago — an estimated 82 percent of people in the United States have contracted the virus at least once, after all — some people may have less than positive reactions when sharing the news. . When people are angry or afraid, their sudden reaction may be to respond harshly; “How can you be so careless?” or “I was supposed to go to my cousin’s wedding. I can’t believe you’d threaten that.”

Take your time to think about whether what they’re saying is true: Have you been careless? Did you intentionally endanger their health or travel plans? “Our instinct is to apologize or blame, but that’s not a healthy instinct because it might not be our responsibility,” Crum says. You may need to allow the person space to cool off. Then, to continue the conversation later, say, “I can tell you’re very upset with me. Do you still feel that way? Can we talk more about it?” Crum suggests.

Genuine curiosity might be another reaction: a friend asking where they think you’ve contracted Covid-19 or to describe your symptoms. Post says that it could be useful for your network to have access to this information so they can decide when they should test and if they should start informing their networks of potential exposure. However, you are not obligated to disclose everything, says Chrome. If you’d prefer not to participate, try responding with “I’m a little surprised and still absorbing the news.”

The truth is, Post says, most people will be understanding and thankful for the insight. Of the nearly two dozen people she told of her diagnosis with Covid, no one was alarmed. “I definitely felt guilty about the party I was at and the fact that I had to tell these people, ‘Maybe I introduced you to Covid, and they were really generous about it,'” Post says. Don’t go into fear mode first. Go to information and questions. Be curious, and explore.”

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