Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic and Social Distancing 3/19/2020
- Posted on: Mar 19 2020
The number of cases of Coronavirus have been increasing in Montgomery County and this is expected due to increased testing for the virus. The practice of Social Distancing is one of our major strategies to limit spread of the virus.
Coronavirus Pandemic and Social Distancing
Social distancing is a set of infection control actions intended to stop or slow down the spread of disease. It is a conscious effort to reduce close contact between people and hopefully reduce community transmission of disease.
In theory, never leaving home during the Coronavirus pandemic is the most effective means of protection. It reduces your chances of infection and quickly contains spread of disease. This type of distancing is even more effective than travel bans or restrictions. In practice, however, it is not always possible to remain at home for weeks at a time.
The good news is that there are still many ways you can practice social distancing even when you have to be out in the world. The basic strategies, such as washing your hands often with soap and water and not touching your face, still are effective. For example, if you have to take public transit, stagger commute times during off-peak hours so you are not in crowded conditions. Avoid touching surfaces, such as poles and handles. Try to stay at least 6 feet away from other people as much as possible.
If you feel sick, STAY AT HOME and wear a mask.
Consider getting food delivered, or if you have to go to the store, use self- checkout. When you get home, decontaminate your packages (use soap and water, wipes, etc.). Wash and disinfect items before storage.
If you need to exercise, opt for in-home or outside exercises. This is a good time to ride your bicycle, jog, or power walk. If you need to go to the gym, go during off -peak hours and avoid high-contact equipment, like weights. Disinfect the equipment before and after use. Shower immediately after gym workout.
Run errands during off-peak hours. Try to accomplish your errands in one trip with as few people going out as possible. Minimize the number of trips, and try to avoid crowds in stores and public places.
Use caution regarding eating out at a restaurant. While staying home to eat is the best option, if you choose to dine out, wash hands well before and after the meal and avoid peak hours and crowded restaurants. Consider spacing of tables and take advantage of outdoor seating if possible. Hopefully the restaurant will fully sanitize tables, chairs, and menus after each customer, but consider bringing wipes or hand sanitizer. Even better, consider delivery or pick up ordering.
Another strategy is to not mix “outside” and “inside” clothes. This is somewhat extreme, but it can be effective in reducing transmission of disease. Every time you get home, change your clothes and shoes, and wash them as soon as possible.
For children, teach them how to cough or sneeze into the crook of their arm and thoroughly wash their hands and face while singing “Happy Birthday” twice, or “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star,” or “ABCs”. At this time, you may need to be liberal with electronics use and allow then to FaceTime or play video games online with friends. This is also a good time to play board games or do crafts as a family. Allow children to play in your backyard or at an open area without crowds of other children.
At this time, it is preferable not to have children at larger gatherings, such as birthday parties or large playdates. Although children have not been significantly impacted by Coronavirus, they can spread the disease even if they are asymptomatic. This could negatively affect the community, in particular the elderly or those with compromised immune systems. So, while children seem to be least impacted by this disease, we need to be socially aware and to protect our community.
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