While government mandates have relaxed a bit to allow some entities to return to business either in part or full, precautions still need to be observed to prevent the further spread of COVID-19. We have begun to see community spread of asymptomatic COVID-19 in our area. This occurs when individuals do not have any symptoms but are infected with COVID-19. As they feel fine they are active within the community and are inadvertently spreading it to others. This makes contracting the COVID-19 virus more likely if you are not following the recommended safety precautions.
It is important that everyone continue to:
Wash your hands often:
- 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.
Avoid close contact:
- Put distance between yourself and other people outside of your home.
- Remember that some people without symptoms may be able to spread virus.
- Stay at least 6 feet from other people.
- When possible leave the family at home; now is not the time for social outings.
- Do not gather in groups.
- Try to shop during off-peak hours and use delivery or pickup options when possible.
- Limit your time at the store and use non-contact payment options when possible.
- Stay out of crowded places and avoid mass gatherings.
- Keeping distance from others is especially important for people who are at higher risk of getting very sick.
Cover your mouth and nose with a cloth face cover when around others:
- You could spread COVID-19 to others even if you do not feel sick.
- Everyone should wear a cloth face cover when they have to go out in public, for example to the grocery store or to pick up other necessities.
- The cloth face cover is meant to protect other people in case you are infected.
- Do NOT use a facemask meant for a healthcare worker.
- Continue to keep about 6 feet between yourself and others. The cloth face cover is not a substitute for social distancing.
Cover coughs and sneezes:
- If you are in a private setting and do not have on your cloth face covering, remember to always cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze or use the inside of your elbow.
- Throw used tissues in the trash.
- Immediately wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not readily available, clean your hands with a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
Clean and disinfect:
- Clean AND disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily. This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks.
- Use disposable wipes when possible to wipe down objects such as shopping cart handles, ATMs and gas pump handles.
Stay up-to-date about counties with the highest COVID-19 rates and avoid travel to those areas if possible. This information can be easily accessed at the Iowa Department of Public Health Website: https://coronavirus.iowa.gov
It is essential that you continue to follow these guidelines to keep you and your loved ones safe. Please continue to do your part for the wellbeing of our community.
As a partner in your healthcare we are here to help with any concerns or questions. If at any time you believe you may have COVID-19 or are concerned about symptoms you are experiencing, call 844-474-4321 to reach your Iowa Specialty Hospital healthcare provider. In an emergency, please call 911.