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How can I protect myself from COVID-19/Novel Coronavirus?
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control has issued a series of steps that you can take to protect yourself. The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus.
The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet) and through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.
These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.
Take steps to protect yourself:
- Stay at home -- except to get essentials like food and medicine.
- If you must leave home to access essential goods, please go at non-peak times. Retail food stores have been encouraged to maintain separate operating hours for senior citizens and other high-risk populations.
- You should wear a face covering whenever you leave your home and MUST wear a face covering when shopping at essential retail businesses, entering a restaurant or bar to pick up takeout orders, or when traveling on public transportation. For more guidance on using face coverings, refer to this article.
- When shopping keep your visit as brief as possible, go alone if possible, and keep six feet between yourself and other customers/staff even when standing in line.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
- If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces. For more, see the CDC's guidelines on how to properly clean and disinfect.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Stay home if you are sick, except to get medical care. Learn what to do if you are sick.
- If you are in a private setting and do not have your face covering on, cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze or use the inside of your elbow.
It's important to remember that older adults and people who have severe underlying chronic medical conditions like heart or lung disease or diabetes seem to be at higher risk for developing more serious complications from COVID-19 illness. Please consult with your health care provider about additional steps you may be able to take to protect yourself.