As our communities transition to “Safer-at-Home” status, Centura Health wants to share important guidance with older adults and people of any age who have serious underlying medical conditions like lung disease, heart disease and diabetes, that places them at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19.
“While many of us are eager to enter this next phase of the pandemic, where we can begin engaging more with others and going out into our communities, there are older and higher risk populations that continue to face challenges when meeting their basic needs,” explains Dr. Andrew French, Chief Medical Officer for Centura Health – St. Anthony North Health Campus. “For now, the best way to prevent illness is for these special groups to limit close contact with others.”
By following some basic guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), people at higher risk can lower their chances of getting sick with COVID-19:
- Stay home if you are sick – Avoid shopping if you are sick or have symptoms of COVID-19, which include a fever, cough, or shortness of breath.
- Order online or use curbside pick-ups. As many small and chain businesses adapt to this pandemic, look for food, prescriptions and other household items online for delivery or curbside. This will limit your exposure to others and the virus that causes COVID-19.
- Protect yourself when you do go out. There may be times when you need to go to a store or facility. Remember these following guidelines:
- Stay at least 6 feet away from others.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a face covering.
- If you must visit others, go at times when you know there are fewer people likely to be there.
- Look for stores that offer special hours for people with severe illnesses or higher risk.
- Bring your own disinfecting wipes and hand sanitizer. Keep these items in your purse or vehicle for use whenever you leave the house.
- Wipe down your carts and baskets in stores.
- Wipe buttons and handles before you touch them or use hand sanitizer after.
- Hand sanitize after you leave stores.
- Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds upon arriving at your destination.
- When collecting mail, getting takeout or picking up a delivery, wash your hands after transferring it. Again, use soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
- Bank online whenever possible. If you have to go to the bank, use the drive-through.
- Practice prevention at the gas pump. Bring wipes for the handle and buttons before you touch them. After you are completely finished fueling, consider hand sanitizer or going to a location to wash your hands.
“Fear about moving into this next phase can be overwhelming and cause strong emotions for higher-risk populations,” explained Dr. French. “Coping with stress by making some adjustment to how you approach handling your daily needs will make you, your loved ones and our communities stronger.”
Centura Health, the region’s health care leader, believes accurate and current information is a key part of keeping our communities whole and healthy.