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COVID Information & Updates

Why is Covid on the upswing again? (Update September 2023)

Because the US is having a “summer surge” but starting from a very much lower baseline than in past years.  Although less than 4000 Americans died of Covid last month (which was just 1.3% of US deaths from all causes ), the incidence of Covid is now rapidly (up to 8%) increasing each week.  Speculation of the causes include: more people spending vacation time together, more time in air conditioned indoor environments due to the record heat summer,  people having decreased concern and taking less precautions, vaccination protection diminishing over time since last booster, and a new strain of Covid.  While there is a new dominant sub-variant strain of Covid rapidly becoming more frequent in the US,  there is no evidence that it is more deadly nor significantly more infectious than prior strains.

What can you do? – practice awareness,   same as before, nothing significantly new.  Masks, social distancing, vaccinations all play same role as before.  If you are over 65 or have significant health problems vaccines (which clearly decrease death rates from Covid) are even more significant for you. For those who take vaccines,  an additional booster is  recommended- check with your healthcare provider what’s best for you.    (According to the CDC, everyone aged 6 years and older should get 1 updated Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine to be up to date. People aged 65 years and older may get a 2nd dose of updated Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine. People who are moderately or severely immunocompromised may get additional doses of updated Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine. Children aged 6 months–5 years may need multiple doses of COVID-19 vaccine to be up to date, including at least 1 dose of updated Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, depending on the number of doses they’ve previously received and their age. COVID-19 vaccine recommendations will be updated as needed.

(In June, the FDA recommended that Covid-19 vaccine manufacturers booster shots for this fall and winter  target the currently circulating Omicron subvariant XBB.1.5. Those updated vaccines are expected to be available in mid to late September but people with risk factors are generally advised to get vaccinated now with the current boosters, which are also effective)

Update from NMDOH 2/13/22:  Highly effective COVID-19 Oral Treatments

Since our community has recently had a number of COVID cases we are offering some basic information for our sangat members to get better informed on how to keep COVID free and what to do if you become infected  to help prevent the spread of the virus. We need to take this seriously as many could be put at risk if we do not remain vigilant in our safety practices.

If you have contracted COVID the NM Department of Health has the following oral treatments available:

Contact Tracing

If you have received a positive Covid-19 test result in the last two weeks, please contact Saraswati  Kaur (Virginia) at [email protected] for a confidential and anonymous contact tracing interview at at 202-230-1211. She has generously provided her services as a health case worker, to help people in the ashram navigate what they should do to keep others safe and to help contain the spread of COVID in our community. 

COVID Testing

Free COVID Tests are available at Northern New Mexico College, in the Ben Lujan Library parking lot with Curative, Monday-Friday. 8am-2pm. Curative testing has other locations closeby. Also, you can schedule COVID tests at our local CVS Pharmacy 

The Antigen test is a test for active illness and recent exposure to COVID.  The Antigen test is the test that an individual would test positive to when they have had initial contact with an individual who has the illness and is either symptomatic, asymptomatic, or is in recovery phase but their body is sloughing off dead virus cells.  This test would become negative after several weeks once the individual is no longer showing symptoms. The Antigen test is normally tested through saliva or nasal swab.

The Antibody test shows that the individual either has had the illness or has had the vaccine and indicates some type of immunity. This is the test which would be positive for several months, but individuals are not infectious. This test is a blood test.  This is important for people to know.

What to do if you get COVID

If you get COVID and live with someone

  • They should remain at home and limit contact with other people for 10 days from the time your isolation period ends.   They should watch for fever and symptoms for a full 14 days. If these occur, they should get tested right away. If there are no symptoms, they should wait 7 to 10 days after your positive test to get tested.