As communities and businesses reopen, people are trying to resume some daily activities in as safe a way as possible. Reopening, however, doesn’t mean a return to the old normal; it is important to remember that COVID-19 continues to spread, as the United States remains stuck in the first wave of the pandemic. Everyone is at risk of contracting the virus, but older adults and people of any age with underlying medical conditions (heart or lung disease or diabetes) are at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19.
If you are in either of those groups of people, before you venture out, consider your own situation and the risks it poses to you, your family and your community. Just because you have access to more places now doesn’t mean you should take advantage of that access if you want to avoid COVID-19.
Here are steps you can take to avoid COVID-19:
Step 1. Minimize Your Risk
- In general, the more closely you interact with others and the longer that interaction, the higher the risk of COVID-19 spread. That’s why it’s safer to stay home and limit in-person contact. Let family and friends know this is the time for social distancing but not social isolation.
- Socialize by phone or video chat.
- Have groceries and medications delivered.
- Consider doing banking online or by drive-thru.
- Book services in advance and use online reservation systems and cashless payment options when possible.
- If you go out, stay at least 6 feet from others and wear a face covering. A cloth face cover is meant to protect other people from your germs in case you are infected and should not be used as a substitute for maintaining social distancing.
- Choose outdoor activities and places where it’s easy to stay 6 feet apart, like patios or lawns, parks and open-air facilities.
- Wash you your hands often with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds and don’t touch your face. If you don’t have access to water, use a hand sanitizer with at least 70% isopropyl alcohol for 30 seconds.
- Regularly clean and disinfect commonly touched surfaces and any shared items.
Step 2. Make a Plan
- If you live alone, talk with family members now to determine who will help you if you get sick.
- Recognize that caring for a sick family member puts you at greater risk for illness. Make a caregiving plan now for sick family members.
- Keep extra medicines, cleaning products and groceries on hand in case you need to stay home for a while.
Step 3. Follow Health Recommendations
- Take care of yourself.
- Wash hands frequently or use hand sanitizer.
- Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue or do it into your elbow.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Clean and disinfect surfaces and things you touch often (tables, chairs, doorknobs) to remove germs.
- Get rest and stay hydrated.
- If you get sick with fever, cough, shortness of breath or other COVID-19 symptoms, stay home and call your doctor immediately.
- If you have been in close contact with someone with COVID-19, stay home and follow guidance for isolation and quarantine.