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Coronavirus (COVID-19)

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What’s the Plan? Cleanliness and Other Guidelines for Reopening Safely

Coronavirus (COVID-19)
Author name: Lee Health

The time has come to start working toward a new normal.

Government officials have begun opening up public spaces and workplaces, and many of us are heading back out into the world – or at least preparing to – and getting braver about visiting beaches and restaurants.

But health experts advise caution. COVID-19 is an emerging disease and much remains to learn about its transmission, severity and how it will take shape in the United States.

“The opening of beaches, parks and businesses does not mean the threat is over. When going out in public we must continue to practice the same preventative measures that have kept our community as safe as possible,” said Dr. Larry Antonucci, President & CEO of Lee Health. “At minimum, we must continue to physically distance ourselves from others, wear masks in public and practice good hand hygiene habits.”

Here are some tips that will help keep you and your family safer as COVID-19 restrictions ease up:

Essential safety steps

The essential steps for protecting yourself and others remain unchanged and will for some time. That means washing your hands thoroughly (and often), wearing masks in public or in the workplace, staying at least 6 feet from others and avoiding large crowds, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The CDC also reminds us to avoid touching our faces, stay home if we feel sick and clean and disinfect surfaces as much as we can.

Clean, clean and clean again

Routine cleaning can help kill and or prevent the virus from spreading in your home, the CDC says. Use household cleaners and EPA-registered disinfectants on surfaces, and be sure to follow label instructions. For a list of disinfectant products approved by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), visit here.

If you’re having trouble finding approved cleaning products, the CDC recommends using an alternative cleanser you can make using 1/3 cup of bleach mixed with one gallon of water or 70 percent alcohol solutions.

Remember to always wear gloves when cleaning, and some products and settings could require masks and other protective equipment. Check the official guidelines for cleaning various facilities as well as electronics, softer surfaces, clothes and more. Never ingest any cleaning or disinfectant product!

The CDC recommends cleaning the following surfaces and objects as often as possible:

  • Tables
  • Doorknobs
  • Light switches
  • Countertops
  • Handles
  • Desks
  • Phones
  • Keyboards
  • Toilets
  • Faucets and sinks
  • Gas pump handles
  • Touch screens
  • ATM machines

Health and wellness in the workplace

The CDC reports that if your workplace, school or business has been unoccupied for seven days or more, it will only need routine cleaning. When you and your group return to work, follow these guidelines to ensure a safer workplace:

  • Wear a cloth or surgical mask when walking around your facility.
  • Maintain a distance of 6 feet or erect physical barriers between co-workers.
  • In-person meetings should total fewer than 10 people in the same room and all of whom are at least 6 feet from each other.
  • In elevators, wear a mask and keep a safe distance when possible.
  • If you’re working in a private office or cubical without interaction with other employees, a mask is not required.
  • Avoid office social gatherings of any size.
  • Wear your mask while interacting with another employee within 6 feet of you.

Visiting parks and recreational facilities

Staying physically active is one of the best ways to keep your mind and body healthy. In many areas, people can visit beaches, parks, trails and open spaces as a way to relieve stress, get some fresh air and vitamin D, stay active, and safely connect with others.

While these facilities and areas can offer health benefits, it is important that you follow the steps below to protect yourself and others from COVID-19. (For more information, visit the CDC’s guidelines here.)

DO

  • Visit parks that are close to your home
  • Prepare before you visit
  • Stay at least 6 feet away from others (“social distancing”) and take other steps to prevent COVID-19
  • Play it safe around and in swimming pools. Keep space between yourself and others

DON’T

  • Visit parks if you are sick or were recently exposed to COVID-19
  • Visit crowded parks
  • Use playgrounds
  • Use hot tubs, spas, water playgrounds or water parks
  • Participate in organized activities or sports

Safety in food-based establishments

In restaurants, bars and grocery stores, employers and employees should regularly communicate their health status to one another, the Food and Drug Administration advises. Everyone should routinely check their temperature, self-monitor for any symptoms of COVID-19, and report their assessment to their employer. Also, everyone should follow social distancing and personal protective measures such as wearing masks and, when appropriate, gloves.

For a more complete list of recommendations and guidelines pertaining to food-based establishments, visit the FDA.

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