Prevention Tips

April 3, 2020

Stay at Home. Do your part to help stop the spread of COVID-19 by staying at home.

  • Governor Northam issued a statewide Stay at Home order on March 30, 2020 to protect the health and safety of Virginians and slow or stop the spread of COVID-19. The Executive Order 55 will remain in place until June 10, 2020, unless changed by a new executive order.
  • There is growing evidence that people can spread COVID-19 even if they never develop signs or symptoms or before their symptoms start. Even though this is possible, CDC believes that people can more easily spread the virus to other people when they have symptoms. Everyone should limit their exposure by staying home.
  • If you are sick, even with mild signs of illness (fever, cough, shortness of breath, sore throat, headaches, fatigue, body or muscle aches, nausea, vomiting or diarrhea), stay home and separate yourself to prevent spreading illness to others.

For additional information see Isolation, Quarantine, Movement Restrictions and Public Health Monitoring 

Practice Social Distancing.

  • If you have to go out for essential things like grocery shopping or medical care, stay at least 6 feet away from others. 
    • CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies). Wearing a cloth face covering can help prevent a sick person, exhibiting no symptoms, from accidentally infecting others.
    • The cloth face coverings recommended are not surgical masks or N-95 respirators.  Those are critical supplies that must continue to be reserved for healthcare workers and other medical first responders.
  • Avoid public spaces, public activities, and group gatherings with 10 or more people.
  • Do not take public transportation such as buses, trains, taxis, or ride-shares, if possible. 

For additional information see Practicing Social Distancing During COVID-19

Wash Your Hands Frequently to Limit the Spread of Germs. 

  • Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains 60%–95% alcohol. Soap and water should be used if hands are visibly dirty.
  • Clean your hands often, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after coughing, sneezing or blowing your nose.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.

For additional information see: How Can I Avoid Getting COVID-19?

Know the Signs and Symptoms of COVID-19.

  • The virus is spread mainly through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or talks. Therefore, it spreads between people who are in close contact with one another (about 6 feet) or by touching a surface or object where respiratory droplets have landed. Some recent studies have suggested that COVID-19 may be spread by people who are not showing symptoms.
  • Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure.
  • People with COVID-19 usually have mild to severe respiratory illness with symptoms of fever, cough, shortness of breath. Some people have other symptoms, including fatigue, muscle aches, headache, sore throat, or diarrhea. Not everyone with COVID-19 will have all symptoms and fever might not be present.
  • If you develop emergency warning signs for COVID-19, get medical attention immediately. Emergency warning signs may include: trouble breathing, persistent pain or pressure in the chest, new confusion or inability to arouse, bluish lips or face.
  • If you have a medical emergency and need to call 911, notify the operator that you have or might have , COVID-19. If possible, put on a facemask before medical help arrives.

For additional information see What to Do if You Are Sick

Avoid Contact With People Who Are Sick.

  • If you are caring for someone at home who is sick, have the person stay in one room, away from other people and pets, as much as possible.

For additional information see Exposure to COVID-19

Prepare Your Home and Family for COVID-19.

  • Create a household plan of action with your household members, relatives, and friends. Establish plans to telework, what to do about childcare needs, plans for pet care should you get sick, and how to adapt to cancellation of events.
  • Create an emergency contact list and identify aid organizations in your community.
  • Plan ways to care for people in your life that are at a higher risk of getting very sick from this illness such as older adults and people who have serious chronic medical conditions.
  • Get extra supplies such as soap, tissues, cleaning supplies, non-perishable food items, and pet food. If you or a household member has a chronic condition and regularly take prescription drugs, talk to your doctor, pharmacist, and insurance provider about keeping an emergency supply of medications at home. Look to helpful resources, such as this VDH Pandemic Preparedness Checklist.
  • Choose a room in your home that can be used to separate sick household members from those who are healthy. Identify a separate bathroom for the sick person to use, if possible.
  • Talk with your family about COVID-19. Fear and anxiety about a disease are overwhelming and cause strong emotions in both children and adults. Learn more about things you can do to support yourself and your family here.

For additional information see Daily Life and Coping

Clean and Disinfect Frequently Touched Surfaces.

  • Frequently touched surfaces include: phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, sinks, tables, countertops, light switches, doorknobs, cabinet handles, etc.
  • Most common EPA-registered household disinfectants will work. Use disinfectants appropriate for the surface.
  • Other options are to use diluted household bleach solutions if appropriate for the surface by mixing 5 tablespoons (1/3rd cup) bleach per gallon of water, or simply use soap and water or an alcohol solution with at least 70% alcohol. Follow manufacturer’s instructions for application and proper ventilation. Never mix household bleach with ammonia or any other cleanser. 

For additional information see  Cleaning and Disinfecting Your Home

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