• Karen McPhail, RN, MSN

Next Steps- Covid-19



We all know that the best way to prevent the spread of Covid-19 is to limit contact with others and stay at home if able. However as some states begin to do soft re-openings of nonessential businesses what is the safest way to proceed while cases still seem to be increasing in your area?

1. Monitor the numbers and trends through your local health department. You can easily do this online by doing a simple search of your state and key words department of health covid. The Virginia link is: https://www.vdh.virginia.gov/coronavirus/


2. Even if some non essential business are open be mindful before venturing out. Only go out if really essential at this time. Wear a mask and if possible gloves for all outings and keep them brief, visiting no more than one location daily. This will limit your exposure and exposure for others. It is simple common sense - the more public places a person visits, the higher their likelihood is of becoming infected with the virus or of spreading infection to others. Be mindful and considerate in your actions! Grocery delivery is an easy and safe option still if possible at this time and a haircut may need to wait a little longer...


3. On essential outings - if using gloves, take the gloves off when returning to your car or home, dispose of properly and use sanitizer or a sanitizing wipe immediately if traveling home. Wash you hands well promptly when home after all outings and avoid unnecessary touching and contact with your clothing while out. Remember once your gloved hand touches something it is contaminated so do not touch your face or other items that you want to be considered and kept clean. Spray or wipe down all items that you bring home for safety with an approved sanitizing cleaner. Try to put items in your trunk to prevent contamination to nearby contact areas while driving or sitting for passengers.


4. Before going to a business do your homework! Do not assume that they are following proper standards! Ask about whether they will wear and require customers to wear a mask while in their establishment. For take out, ask if food is being prepared by someone masked and gloved and delivered as such. Ask if they will limit the number of customers in the space at one time. In salons ask about the use of blowdryers which should be prohibited to limit spread of the virus. Bring with you sanitizer and wipes to wipe down areas before sitting, etc. Always have mask to wear when out of your home.


5. If you are choosing to reentering public spaces it is critical that you to do this safely! Avoid doing so if you are able. Avoid going out if you are an older adult or have chronic illnesses / high risk conditions!


6. Remember the basics as we are far from normalcy:


  1. Keep in place social distancing standards - at least six feet of distance from other people if you can.

  2. Wear a cloth mask that covers your mouth and nose, and don't take it off while you're out. This prevents you from coughing, sneezing and breathing out the virus if you're asymptomatic. Wash in hot water upon return home! You can make or order a simple cloth mask if needed! Reach out if guidance required!

  3. Wash your hands -- 20 seconds, with soap and water, before, during and after being in a public place.

  4. Don't go out if you feel sick or have come in contact with someone who's sick. Again and I cannot stress enough- older adults and individuals with chronic conditions should stay home.


We are not going to have return to normal for some time per health officials so be careful on initial openings as this could cause a resurgence of the virus. Be mindful, prepared, and careful!


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