Staying Safe Is Everyone’s Responsibility
As the situation regarding the COVID-19 pandemic continues to unfold around the world, it’s important to remember that some of the most effective steps we can take to prevent its spread begin right at home. In these extraordinary times, following simple guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) can go a long way in helping to control this disease.
If you think you have been exposed to COVID-19, call your health care provider. Symptoms (which are mild for most people) include fever, cough, and difficulty breathing.
Clean your hands often. Frequently wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. When soap and water aren’t available, use a hand sanitizer that is at least 60% alcohol. Make sure to cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they’re dry. Also, be sure to avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
Avoid close contact with others. The best way to prevent the spread of COVID-19 is to avoid being exposed to it. The virus is thought to spread from person-to-person through respiratory droplets when an infected person coughs or sneezes, so practicing social distancing—maintaining a distance of at least six feet between yourself and other people—can help reduce the spread of COVID-19 in your community. This is especially important for people who are at higher risk of getting very sick, such as adults more than 65 years of age or people with underlying medical conditions.
Cover coughs and sneezes. Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, and then throw the used tissue in the trash. Cough or sneeze into your elbow if tissues are not available. With either method, wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds afterward.
Clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces daily. Most common household disinfectants work, but be sure to follow instruction on the product label for safe and appropriate use. High-touch surfaces include tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks. For surfaces that are dirty, clean them detergent or soap and water before disinfection.
Manage your anxiety and stress. Everyone responds to stress differently, but be sure to unplug from the 24-hour news cycle (including social media) and enjoy other activities you enjoy. Social distancing doesn’t mean you have to disconnect from society too—use your phone or video chat to stay in touch with friends and family and work through this experience together.
As conditions develop, you can find the most up-to-date information at the CDC website (cdc.gov). Helpful information is also available from the New Jersey Department of Health (online at covid19.nj.gov or by phone at 1-800-222-1222) and the Pennsylvania Department of Health (online at health.pa.gov or by phone at 1-877-PA-HEALTH).
Like health care facilities around the world, the safety of patients and the community at large is the top priority at Capital Health, especially during the COVID-19 health crisis. However, facemasks and other protective equipment for health care providers on the front lines are in short supply. If you, anyone you know, or your organization wishes to donate protective equipment to Capital Health – specifically N95 face masks, full-face plastic shields, plastic goggles and alcohol-based hand sanitizer (with at least 60 percent alcohol) – during this extraordinary time, please call 609-394-6090.