Message from Rabbi Dr. Aaron Glatt, Director of RAA/Igud’s Halacha and Medicine Commision:

What should you do if you are exposed to a COVID-19 person?

The CDC states you must quarantine if you have been in close contact (within 6 feet of someone for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period) with someone who has COVID-19, unless you have been fully vaccinated.

Fully vaccinated individuals do NOT need to quarantine after contact with someone who had COVID-19 unless they have symptoms. However, even fully vaccinated people should get tested 3-5 days after their exposure, even if they don’t have symptoms, and they should wear a mask indoors in public for 14 days following exposure, unless they get a negative test after 5-7 days.

Testing a second time between day 5-7 is therefore a very reasonable option to identify COVID-19 infected individuals. This is indeed what is recommended for health care workers (next paragraph).

Fully vaccinated health care workers with a high-risk exposure should be tested at day 3, and between days 5-7 post-exposure.

If signs or symptoms develop at any time in the 14 days following an exposure, one should seek testing asap and isolate at home.   

What should you do if you are newly diagnosed as COVID-19 positive?

It is critically important for a newly diagnosed COVID-19 patient to seek medical attention with a knowledgeable physician who can promptly examine and evaluate you. There are potential therapeutic options such as monoclonal antibody infusions or injections that MIGHT be appropriate, as well as other treatments pending FDA authorization. Plus, there may be warning signs of impending severity of illness that may not be obvious, and follow-up assessment of oxygenation status (how well you are breathing) is very important, especially for people at higher risk.

In addition, family members who are exposed should be evaluated regarding COVID-19 testing and whether they need to quarantine.