PDDH Offers Practical Information about Coronavirus (COVID-19)
Pomperaug District Department of Health, serving Southbury, Woodbury and Oxford, is actively monitoring the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak and participating in State and Federal teleconferences to ensure we are up to date on the latest CT Department of Public Health and Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) guidance. Federal, state and local public health officials have been working diligently to prepare communities in the event that the virus begins to spread person-to-person in the United States. Information and guidance changes frequently. As with any epidemic, it is wise to be as prepared as possible, both on a community level and on a more personal level. The Health District is working with local partners to prepare on a community level and offers some basic facts and advice for residents:
Public health officials continue to discover more about this new virus. Person-to-person spread of the virus is thought to occur mainly via respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. It may also be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads. This is very similar to how the common cold and influenza are spread. People are thought to be most contagious when they are most symptomatic. Some spread might be possible before people show symptoms. How easily a virus spreads from person-to-person can vary. The virus that causes COVID-19 seems to be spreading easily in China and other countries.
Based upon these facts, people can take these everyday preventative actions to help stop the spread of viruses:
- Wash your hands frequently. Wash for 20 seconds with soap and water. Be sure to wash your hands when you come home from public places. If you do not have access to soap & water, use an alcohol-based (at least 60%) hand sanitizer. Use enough sanitizer to thoroughly cover your hands and rub until dry.
- Avoid touching your eyes, mouth, and nose with unwashed hands.
- Get plenty of rest.
- Try to eat healthy, nutritious foods.
- Avoid being around sick persons.
- Stay home if you are sick. Children should stay home from school or daycare if they are ill.
- Cover your cough and sneezes with a tissue. Discard the tissue properly. Wash your hands. If you don’t have a tissue, use the crook of your elbow.
- If you are sick or have sick household members, frequently disinfect commonly touched surfaces, such as door knobs and handles, faucet handles, remote controls, table tops, etc.
Here are some other things that you can do to prepare yourself for a potential outbreak in your community:
- Have a plan in place for childcare in the event that schools or daycare facilities are closed. Sometimes these closures occur to slow the spread of transmission within a community or because absenteeism is very high.
- Have a plan for taking care of sick family members. This includes having necessary supplies on hand and planning the best way to keep the sick person(s) separate from the healthy persons.
- If you employer will allow you to work from home, be sure to have everything in place to make that possible.
- If you are considering travelling abroad, visit the CDC website (www.cdc.gov) for their most current guidance.
The CDC has recommendations for using facemasks. It does not recommend that people who are well wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19. Facemasks should be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the disease to others. If you are taking care of an ill person at home and have close contact, you should wear a face mask.
Symptoms of COVID -19 can include fever, cough, and shortness of breath. Symptoms can range from mild to severe. At this time, the CDC believes that these symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus.
Pomperaug Health District offers the following advice if you should become ill with symptoms of COVID-19:
- Call ahead before you go to your healthcare provider’s office, so they can take steps to minimize exposure to other people.
- Stay home except to get medical care.
- Separate yourself from others in your household. As much as possible, you should stay in a specific room and away from other people in your home. Also, you should use a separate bathroom, if available.
- Wash your hands or use hand sanitizer frequently. Use paper towels to dry your hands, not shared towels.
- You should wear a facemask when you are around other people (e.g., sharing a room or vehicle) and before you enter a healthcare provider’s office. Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, then wash your hands thoroughly or use hand sanitizer.
- Avoid sharing household items like cups, eating utensils, towels, etc.
- Frequently disinfect all “high-touch” surfaces, such as doorknobs, remote controls, phones, bathroom fixtures, keyboards, tabletops, etc.