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How to Stop the Spread of COVID-19 With Social Distancing

03-27-2020

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.

Family Activities

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 and educated.

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 5-2-1-0 program
  • 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 staying home.

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 https://coronavirus.maryland.gov/.