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What's Your Plan?

Dr. Wouter Rietsema talks about having a plan should COVID-19 come to your house.

Especially during times like these, it’s easy to adopt a “this-won’t-happen-to-me” mindset. But what if “it” does happen and either you or someone you live with becomes ill with COVID-19?  What’s your plan?  My years of experience as a physician, hospital administrator and father of 3 has taught me that hoping for the best while planning for the worst is usually the right path to take. Should COVID-19 come to your house, what will you do?

Separation
Keeping the ill from the healthy so the virus has less of an opportunity to spread is an important consideration. Do you have a spare bedroom or can you rearrange sleeping accommodations so there is separation? Do you have an RV? A summer camp? Could they be used while still providing the opportunity to care for the ill?

A separate bathroom is also ideal should someone in your home become ill. If that’s not feasible then how will the only bathroom be cleaned each time it’s used?

Cleaning
If there is one bright spot associated with this novel coronavirus is that it is easily destroyed by good ol’ fashion soap. The virus is simply not that hardy and can be killed by most common household cleaning products.  Part of your everyday cleaning should be to wipe down frequently touched services such as doorknobs, countertops, light switches, cabinet handles and tables and be sure to wash your hands immediately after cleaning.

The laundry of a sick household member should be handled with gloved hands if possible. If not, wash hands well after loading the washer. It can be washed with laundry from other members of the household using the warmest appropriate setting and dry completely.

Here are some links that offer tips on cleaning, a list of household products and some CDC guidance on cleaning all sorts of surfaces.

Remember, we can do our part to help stop the spread of COVID-19.

  • Stay home.
  • Using soap and water, wash your hands often and for at least 20 seconds each time you wash – especially after using the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your coughs and sneezes. If you don’t have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve, not your hands. Remember to wash your hands after coughing or sneezing.