~ Submitted by Heidi Porter, Health and Human Services Director
Prevent the Spread of COVID-19 During the Holidays
Pick up a free COVID-19 rapid test kit.
At-home rapid tests are an important strategy to protect you, your friends and family from getting exposed to COVID-19. Help us stop the spread of COVID-19 in Bedford. Test kits are currently available for Bedford residents at the following locations:
|Bedford Free Public Library (Circulation Desk)||Mon-Thu 9am-9pm; Fri 9am-6pm; Sat 9am-5pm; Sun 1-5pm|
|Council on Aging (Town Center Building – Ground Floor)||Mon-Fri 8am-4pm; Sat 10:30am-2:30pm|
|Health Department (Town Center Building – 2nd Floor)||Mon 8am-7pm; Tue-Thu 8am-4pm; Fri 8am-1pm|
|Town Manager’s Office (Town Hall – 2nd Floor)||Mon 8am-7pm; Tue-Thu 8am-4pm; Fri 8am-1pm|
Below, you will find some best practices for preventing the spread of COVID -19 during holiday gatherings:
- Plan around the highest-risk member of your family – Individual risk tolerance may vary among your family members. That means taking more precautions if you have a family member who is older than 60, on immunosuppressant medications, received a transplant, or is a cancer patient. It is possible to have an asymptomatic case of COVID-19. Even if you do not have symptoms, you can still spread the virus, which makes it important to test right before gathering with a vulnerable person.
- Get the new bivalent booster. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends the new booster for people who are at least two months out from their last COVID vaccination or three months from testing positive for COVID. Anyone 5 years and older can currently receive the COVID bivalent booster. You can get your booster at the same time as your flu shot.
- Pay attention to your symptoms. In the days leading up to a holiday gathering watch out for COVID-19 symptoms: sore throat, congestion, coughing, fatigue, headaches and muscle pain. If you do feel sick, stay home, even if you are negative on a COVID-19 rapid home self-test. Negative results from self-tests do not rule out SARS-CoV-2 infection. A negative self-test result may not be reliable, especially if you have symptoms associated with COVID-19. Consider repeating the test 24-48 hours later. Anyone who isn’t feeling well should stay home. If you test positive, call your healthcare provider immediately to see if you are eligible for COVID-19 treatment called Paxlovid.
Update regarding expiration dates: On July 8, 2022, the FDA granted another three-month shelf-life extension for the iHealth COVID-19 Antigen Rapid Test, which extended the shelf-life of all iHealth tests from 6 months to 12 months. To confirm the expiration date of an iHealth test kit, navigate to: https://ihealthlabs.com/pages/news and enter the lot number on your test kit box. Please note that this extension is only in regard to the iHealth test kits (which is the brand distributed by the Town at the Health Department, Town Manager’s office, Council on Aging and the Bedford Free Public Library).
If you have additional questions, please contact the Health Department at [email protected] or 781-275-6507.