Now that Governor Northam has lifted COVID-19 “stay home” orders, we’re excited to watch as the community begins to recover from the effects of prolonged isolation. People will once again gather together, return to work, and get back to outside-the-home wellness goals. However, the fact that this major safety requirement has been lifted does not mean that COVID-19 has been beaten. The risk is still present, and may continue to be for a while. For this reason, we urge everyone to continue paying attention to safety regulations and making responsible and healthy decisions for your own benefit and the benefit of the community.
Continue to Stay Safe!
You may have heard about the potential for a rise in COVID-19 cases once stay at home orders end. Many models have predicted different periods of declines and resurgences, but it’s incredibly difficult to fully predict what will happen. However, the science and statistics show that letting people return to regular activities in the community may result in the continuation of this virus, even if at a lower level. This is why the leaders of each state have been cautious about reopening. No one can say with certainty what will happen now, but we urge the community to continue taking whatever steps necessary to stay healthy and to help others do the same.
Keep Practicing Good Hygiene
Continuing good hygiene habits is one of the simplest and most effective things you can do to prevent yourself from being exposed to COVID-19. Many areas of the community will have heightened and enhanced cleaning regulations to keep people safe, but these are not meant to be a substitute for personal responsibility when it comes to staying clean. Washing your hands and avoiding touching your face and potentially dirty surfaces could make all the difference in the continued fight to stop the spread of this virus. Also, disinfecting your own home will help prevent the spread of this disease if you have non family members over.
Respect Others’ Needs
Some people will be more comfortable than others with being out in public. There is certainly going to be a time when people once again gather in close proximity without being physically distant. While our time of staying home in the past months will decrease the risk involved in these activities, it’s important to remember that there is definitely still some risk involved. This is particularly true of those who have a higher risk of being infected even now, such as people who are over 60 years old or immunocompromised. So even if you do begin to gather with people in the community once more, keep in mind the needs of others you’ll also be in contact with. Also, if you are a person who is at a higher risk of infection, please continue to consider your individual health needs carefully where going out in public is concerned.
Wear a Mask
Wearing face masks and other protective gear will probably continue to be encouraged for a while as the world recovers. While the CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public areas like grocery stores where social distancing can be difficult to practice, wearing a face mask is not mandatory in our community at this time. As we’ve said above, though, consider both your personal wellness needs and the needs of those around you when making this choice. Personal protective equipment (PPE) will not only go a long way toward preventing the potential continued spread of this disease, but it will also help maintain a sense of well-being in the community. Just remember: if you do choose to continue wearing PPE, keep it clean and change it when necessary. Neither face masks nor gloves nor any other form of protection will work properly if they are dirty.
Continue Keeping Physical Distance
Staying at least six feet apart from one another in public is essential to continuing to contain this disease. Now that we are able to once again go out into the community, it’s more important than ever to remember this. When at all possible, make space between yourself and the people around you so none of you risks getting sick from the other. Many restaurants and shopping hubs will be creating new regulations to assist with this, so pay attention and follow them when you’re out and about.
Use Good Judgement
There are many things you can do to avoid COVID-19 that rely on simply taking whatever safety precautions you can. This is especially true if you are unable to socially isolate during the day (i.e. if you cannot work from home or your job is deemed essential). Keep a bottle of hand sanitizer handy and use it frequently in conjunction with washing your hands. Change out of your dirty clothing and wash it whenever you come home from work. Avoid sharing rides to and from your workplace. Make a conscious effort to keep your hands away from your face. Stay a safe distance from people whenever you can, and be cautious of what and who you touch if you can’t. If you practice simple safety measures like these, you can be more at ease about your personal health situation.
Let’s Keep Working Together
The only way we’ll be able to defeat COVID-19 is if we work together to stay safe and healthy. Let’s be mindful of how we can affect the community with our personal choices, and be willing to be responsible and think of the needs of others. If you have any questions about personal health and safety in this difficult time, contact us today!