The coronavirus can be spread directly between humans. There is currently no vaccine for COVID-19 and preventing exposure is the best way to avoid illness. We encourage you to take precautions to prevent exposure similar to those you would take to prevent influenza (flu).
Follow these steps to protect yourself and others:
- Avoid close contact with people who you do not live with.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom, before eating, and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
- If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol. Always wash your hands with soap and water if they are visibly dirty.
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies). Some communities may have stricter guidelines for wearing masks outside the home. For information on cloth face coverings, visit the CDC website.
- Clean and disinfect your home to remove germs. Practice routine cleaning of frequently-touched surfaces such as tables, doorknobs, light switches, handles, desks, toilets, faucets, sinks and cell phones.
- Do not delay medical care if you feel ill or are injured. In an emergency, call 911. For non-emergency care, including COVID-19 symptoms, call your doctor first before heading to an urgent care center or the emergency department. Many physician practices offer telehealth appointments, which are usually covered by insurance.
As a health care organization, we are continuing to work hard to ensure the safety of our community, including our patients and staff. The symptoms of COVID-19 take days to appear. This means that someone can be carrying the virus even though they do not have any symptoms. Due to this, it is very important to adhere to the recommendations of health experts, including the CDC. Social distancing during the COVID-19 public health emergency needs to be respected. This means:
- Do not have play dates or people over your house. Doing so creates new links and possibilities for the type of transmission that school/work/public event closures are trying to prevent.
- Do not share food or drinks.
- Stay home as much as possible to reduce your risk of being exposed and prevent spread.
- To the extent possible, avoid touching high-contact surfaces in public places — elevator buttons, door handles, handrails, handshaking with people, etc. Use a tissue or your sleeve to cover your hand or finger if you must touch something.
- Wash your hands thoroughly after touching surfaces in public places.
- Carry hand sanitizer with you and use it regularly.
- Avoid shaking hands.
- Think of the people you live with as a single unit. If one person is negligent in following prevention and social distancing guidelines, it puts the entire household at risk.
We understand that following these rules will not be easy and will be uncomfortable. Adhering to these rules now can dramatically reduce the number of people infected with COVID-19. Here are some things you can do by yourself or with your household members:
- Take a walk, run, hike, or ride a bike. Our community has a bounty of natural areas. Now is a great time to rediscover them. Just be respectful of others out doing the same thing. Maintain a safe distance when crossing paths with other people and consider wearing a mask even while exercising.
- Discover a new hobby, such as knitting, cooking, baking, playing board games, photography, music, art, etc.
- Read a new book or revisit an old favorite.
- Do yoga or meditate; there are many good videos and resources online.
- Take an online class.
- Call your friends, family, and loved ones!