Social distancing: over the past few weeks, you’ve probably heard
the phrase uttered countless times—but it’s for a good reason. Since
COVID-19 began spreading in the United States, the Centers for Disease Control
and Prevention (CDC) has outlined ways for citizens to protect themselves, their families,
and their community from this virus. While there is no vaccine to prevent
COVID-19, the best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to
it, and that’s where social distancing comes into play.
Social distancing means remaining “out of congregate settings, avoiding
mass gatherings, and maintaining distance from others when possible,”
according to the CDC. In other words, stay home unless it’s absolutely
necessary to go out, and especially avoid places where close contact can
occur. It is recommended to maintain a distance of at least 6 feet between
yourself and others to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
This is uncharted territory for many in our community and across the country,
but opting to stay home instead of going out can save lives. Even those
thought to be at low risk for COVID-19 are encouraged by the CDC to practice
self-isolation and social distancing. Not only can this protect you from
getting sick, but it can also prevent you unknowingly spreading the illness
to others if you have COVID-19 but aren’t showing symptoms.
Social distancing doesn’t mean your family can’t still enjoy
spending time with one another. Check out
LiveWell Frederick’s resources for kids to find daily fitness activities, coloring pages, educational games and
puzzles, and other fun activities to keep your little ones entertained
While Social Distancing, You Can Still…
- Read (and read to your children)
- Keep in touch with loved ones via video chat apps like Skype and FaceTime
Enhance your family’s health and wellness with the
- Take walks outdoors (but don’t crowd parks, trails, or overlooks)
- Try new recipes
- Start a garden
While Social Distancing, You Should Not:
- Take unnecessary trips into public
- Host gatherings at your home
- Take your children on play dates
- Dine in at restaurants or bars
While your family is gathered at home together, it’s also a good
time to create a
household plan of action in case a COVID-19 outbreak happens in your community. The CDC recommends
basing the details of your household plan on the needs and daily routine
of your household members. While creating your plan of action, you should:
Involve those who need to be included in your plan. Talk with members of your household, your family, and friends to discuss your
plan of action if an outbreak happens in your community. Take this time to determine
what the needs of each person will be, and encourage those who take daily
medications to stock up in case they are quarantined for a period of time.
Plan ways to care for loved ones at high-risk for complications. Data suggests that senior citizens and those with underlying chronic medical
conditions have a higher risk of developing serious complications from
COVID-19. Talk with high-risk loved ones and devise a plan for keeping
them safe as well as a plan for if they become ill.
Create a list of local organizations that can help. Identify local information services, health care—including mental
health care—, food services, and other aid organizations in your
community that you can contact.
Social distancing is an extremely important piece of the puzzle in slowing
the outbreak, but there are other steps you can take to protect yourself
and others from COVID-19:
Understand How It Spreads. COVID-19 is thought to spread from person-to-person, between those who
are within about 6 feet of one another. The virus can spread through respiratory
droplets produced through coughs or sneezes, and these droplets can land
in the mouths or noses of nearby people. The CDC also says these droplets
can possibly be inhaled directly into the lungs.
Wash Your Hands (And Don’t Touch Your Face).
Hand washing can protect against the spread of COVID-19 and other illnesses. Wash your
hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after
being in a public place, after using the bathroom, before and after eating,
after handling pets, and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
Remember: wet, lather, scrub, rinse, and dry. If soap and water are not available, opt for a hand sanitizer that contains
at least 60 percent alcohol. Avoid touching your face with unwashed hands.
Clean and Disinfect. Each day, you should
clean and disinfect frequently-touched surfaces such as doorknobs, toilets, tables, light
switches, countertops, handles, desks, faucets, sinks, and yes, even your phone.
Protect Others. Even if you aren’t exhibiting coronavirus symptoms, you might still
carry it. The CDC reports that COVID-19 can spread before people show
symptoms, so it’s best to conduct yourself as if you have the virus.
This means covering your mouth and nose with a tissue or the inside of
your elbow when you cough or sneeze, especially avoiding contact with
the elderly or immunosuppressed, and
Frederick Health is closely monitoring the
COVID-19 outbreak and is working with the Frederick County Health Department for testing
of this virus. The CDC and the Maryland Health Department have identified
the situation as a very serious health threat, and it is important that
you take every precaution to ensure that you and your loved ones are protected
and prepared as much as possible.
For more information & updates specific to COVID-19 in Maryland—including
up-to-date testing and laboratory confirmed case numbers—visit