The coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, is currently spreading across the globe at a rapid pace. It is a disease that is especially dangerous for the elderly and the immunocompromised. In order to ensure the health and safety of our elderly loved ones, their families, and our caregivers, we’ve put together this coronavirus prevention guide.
How to Protect Yourself from the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19)
The following information comes directly from the Center for Disease Control.
Know How COVID-19 Spreads
- There is currently no vaccine to prevent the coronavirus (COVID-19)
- The best way to prevent illness to avoid being exposed to a carrier, who may or may not be symptomatic.
- The virus is thought to be spread mainly from person-to-person.
- COVID-19 spreads between people who are in close contact with one another (within six feet).
- It can also be spread through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.
- These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or can possibly be inhaled into the lungs.
Coronavirus Prevention Measures to Take
Clean your hands often
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Do this especially after you have been in a public place or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
- If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
Avoid close contact (social distancing)
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Put distance between yourself and other people if COVID-19 is spreading in your community. This is especially important for people who are at higher risk of getting very sick.
Stay home if you’re sick
- Stay home if you are sick, except to get medical care.
Cover coughs and sneezes
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Or use the inside of your elbow.
- Immediately wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not readily available, clean your hands with a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
Wear a facemask if you are sick
- If you are sick: You should wear a facemask when you are around other people (e.g., sharing a room or vehicle) and before you enter a healthcare provider’s office. If you are not able to wear a facemask (for example, because it causes trouble breathing), then you should do your best to cover your coughs and sneezes. People who are caring for you should wear a facemask if they enter your room.
- If you are NOT sick: You do not need to wear a facemask unless you are caring for someone who is sick (and they are not able to wear a facemask). Facemasks may be in short supply and they should be saved for caregivers.
Clean and disinfect
- Clean AND disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily. This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks.
- If surfaces are dirty, clean them: Use detergent or soap and water prior to disinfection.
Safe Grocery Shopping in the COVID-19 Pandemic
This is the most current video for New CDC data, safe takeout food practices, and an updated practice for safe grocery shopping/handling.
Grocery shopping will be permitted in the event of a shelter in place order.
Important Considerations for Shopping During the COVID-19 Pandemic
At the supermarket:
- Wipe down the cart before loading groceries.
- Plan ahead with a list of what you need and minimize time spent in the store.
- Don’t go out if you have a respiratory illness -- Find a family member, friend, or volunteer to go in your place.
When you or someone shopping in your place arrives with groceries, leave them outside if possible. If you have to bring them in, do the following:
- Clean the counter or surface with a disinfectant before loading groceries on them.
- Divide your groceries into two zones. One section for cleaned items and the other for “dirty” items.
- Wipe anything that may have come into contact with an exposed hand. Use a disinfectant to do so. This could include medicine bottles, wrappers of vegetables and chips, any plastic items, etc.
- If someone else is shopping for you and uses cloth (resuable) bags, make sure they are left outside to be washed later.
- Fruit: Wash in soapy water for 20-30 seconds. Rinse thoroughly.
Important Considerations for Take-Out Dining
- Wash your hands (have your helper wash their hands)!
- Prepare clean dishes (or wash them for 20-30 seconds if unsure).
- Remove wrappers and place food unto clean dishes.
- Use heat to kill the coronavirus in either an oven or microwave. Hot food is generally safer than cold food.
North Carolina Coronavirus Prevention Helpline
If you need further assistance or have questions regarding coronavirus prevention in North Carolina, call the NC Coronavirus Helpline at (866) 462-3821.
For general information regarding coronavirus prevention specific to Wake County, contact the Wake County Health Department at (919) 404-7575.