What to do when you are vaccinated but an infected contact or case?

A few days before Christmas, the number of new cases of covid has stabilized in Switzerland. This Tuesday, the Federal Secretariat of Public Health (OFSP) announced the detection of 8,167 new infections, four more than last week. However, in the face of the spread of the Omicron variant, authorities also announced the reduction of the period to four months after the second dose for booster vaccination from the age of 16, compared to the previous six months.

Still, despite vaccination, even after a booster dose, or recovery, it is still possible to become infected. “Being triple-vaccinated greatly reduces the risk of getting infected and greatly reduces the risk of developing a severe form of the disease. However, the risk exists despite everything and, if we know that we have been in contact with a sick person, the greatest caution is necessary”, recalls Aglaé Tardin, Geneva cantonal doctor.

As the holidays approach, vaccinated people who test positive or contact cases should therefore also take certain precautions.

Read too: Faced with Omicron, scientists advise hardening the tone during the holiday season

Mandatory isolation for everyone

In the event of a positive test, a vaccinated or cured person must follow the same quarantine rules as an unvaccinated person. She will therefore have to be in isolation for at least ten days, and the quarantine can only be lifted 48 hours after symptoms end, if any.

However, this isolation can be shortened under certain conditions and “unless contact with a case infected with the Omicron variant is suspected”, specifies the Valais cantonal doctor’s office.

From the 7th day of isolation, it is possible to do a new PCR or antigen test, funded by the Confederation, to end the quarantine. Authorization to end isolation is, however, subject to the approval of the cantonal health authorities upon presentation of the negative result. The mask must then be used strictly until the end of the ten day period.

Read too: Omicron variant: what vaccine efficacy data show

However, in case of a positive result, “you should then put yourself in isolation for another ten days”, reminds the FOPH. “People subject to quarantine must respect it regardless of the vaccination status of their contacts”, underlines the office of the Valais cantonal doctor. Therefore, it is impossible to spend holiday meals with your loved ones if you test positive for covid, even if they are fully vaccinated or have received their booster dose. Quarantine also applies to children over 6 years old.

No quarantine for vaccinated contact cases

If in the past year, close contact (less than 1.5 m for more than fifteen minutes) with a positive person led to a precautionary quarantine, the vaccination campaign has changed the situation. Vaccinated or cured people who have been in contact with a positive person are exempt from quarantine.

But this exemption is only valid for a period of 12 months after the second dose of the vaccine or after recovery, provided that the period begins eleven days after infection. It is also valid for 90 days after a positive serological test is performed. However, quarantine is recommended “if the positive contact is suspected of being infected with the Omicron variant”, recalls the Valais cantonal doctor’s office.

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In case of contact with a person who has tested positive, a test is necessary “only in case of symptoms, otherwise, we monitor ourselves closely and apply barrier gestures”, estimates Aglaé Tardin, who, however, recommends opting for the prudence. . “People who live with people at risk should consider getting tested,” advises the FOPH, which specifies that there is no rule in this area.

For the cantonal doctor’s office, a self-test can be performed with family gatherings “knowing that its sensitivity is less than that of a rapid antigen test, which is less sensitive than a PCR test.” And above all, in case of a positive result in a self-test, it must be confirmed by a PCR test.

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