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Person washing handsFederal and Local Governments Are Making Safety Recommendations During the COVID-19 Outbreak

The new coronavirus has become a pandemic.  It causes a respiratory disease, which can have a range of symptoms.  For some, symptoms are mild, and for others, it can cause serious illness or death.  Older people and people with underlying health conditions, like heart disease, lung disease, and diabetes, are at greater risk.  This coronavirus spreads quickly, and most people who contract it will develop symptoms within 12 days.

This week, Governor Gavin Newsom issued a recommendation that Californians cancel all large gatherings over 250 people.  However, some events will be allowed if they can allow six feet of distance between attendees.  People who are at high risk should not go to gatherings more than ten people.

Many assisted living facilities are also limiting or stopping all visitors who are not necessary, since asymptomatic visitors may bring it to more vulnerable older adults.

What should I do to prepare?

Keep yourself safe and practice good hygiene

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds (singing “Happy Birthday” twice, or try these other options), especially after blowing your nose, coughing, sneezing, or being in a public place.
  • If soap and water are not available, use hand sanitizer with at least 20% alcohol.
  • Avoid touching surfaces in public places with your hands (elevator buttons, door handles, etc)
  • Wash your hands after touching public surfaces if you must touch them
  • Avoid touching your face, nose, eyes, etc.
  • Clean and disinfect your home to remove germs, including: tables, doorknobs, light switches, handles, toilets, faucets, sinks, and cell phones

Practice “social distancing”

  • Stay home as much as possible, especially if you are high risk.
  • If you must go out, be in a place you can be 6 to 10 feet away from other people.
  • Don’t shake hands with people — do the “elbow bump” or just say hello.
  • Don’t go out if you are sick, except to see a doctor.
  • Avoid all non-essential travel including flights or cruises.

Stock up on supplies

  • Have extra medications on hand in case you need to stay home for a prolonged period of time.
  • Consider using mail-order medications if needed.
  • Be sure you have over-the-counter medications, such as ibuprofen (Advil) and acetaminophen (Tylenor), and tissues.
  • Have enough household items and groceries so you will be prepared to stay at home for a period of time.

What do I do if I get sick?

  • Make a plan with your health care provider.
  • Stay in touch with others by phone or email.  You may need help from your community if you get sick.
  • Determine who can provide you care if your caregiver gets sick.
  • You may not need to go to the hospital. Talk to your doctor first, since emergency rooms may be overcrowded.
  • Watch for symptoms such as:
    • Fever
    • Cough
    • Shortness of breath
    • Pain or pressure in chest

Stay Connected to Others

There are still ways to stay connected during this time of social distancing.  Here are a few of the services available*:

Can I still get legal help from Contra Costa Senior Legal Services?

We are temporarily closed, but will be checking voicemail and email. The courts are also now closed through April 1.

*Thanks to Sadie Harmon for the ideas.