“Everyone’s actions in the coming weeks and months will make a difference in how our community will fare in this pandemic. If we don’t listen to ￼the recommendations about social distancing, hand hygiene, we will get into real trouble,” said Dr. Paul Kamitsuka, Chief Epidemiologist at New Hanover Regional Medical Center
Physical distancing (also called social distancing) is one of our most powerful tools in stopping the spread of COVID-19.
While you’re doing your essential tasks such as grocery shopping, remember to stay at least 6 feet away from others.
When working, refrain from gathering in groups of more than 10 people and while gathering, maintain the physical distancing of at least 6 feet.
It is fine to be outside but while you are enjoying outdoor activities in the areas that are allowed, you must still follow physical distancing guidelines. Maintain the 6 feet distances between yourself and others and do not gather in large groups, even outside.
“It’s not time to panic but it is absolutely time to take decisive action to make sure that each of us do our very best not to become a host for this virus. It is absolutely the sound thing to do to keep people physically distant from one another. It will save lives in our community," said Dr. Phil Brown, Chief Physician Executive at NHRMC
Cover Your Mouth and Nose
In addition to physical distancing, you should wear a mask when you are out in public places like the grocery store or pharmacy.
Wearing a mask is not a substitute for physical distancing so you should continue to follow physical distancing practices even if you have a mask on.
You do not need an N95 mask or a mask intended for healthcare workers. A cloth mask is sufficient for anyone who is not working in a healthcare setting and having direct interactions with patients.
Cloth face coverings should not be used on children under two years old or on anyone who is unable to remove the mask themself if they are struggling to breathe.
You should routinely launder your cloth mask to sanitize it. Washing your mask in a standard washing machine will sufficiently sanitize your mask.
Hand Hygiene & Sanitizing
In addition to physical distancing, hand hygiene is one of the most important ways that we can keep COVID-19 from spreading in our community. Your should wash your hands frequently for more than 20 seconds.
You should also sanitize high touch surfaces like doorknobs and counters in your home.
When grocery shopping, wipe down the handle on your cart, make sure not to touch your face, and try to use hand sanitizer frequently. When you return home, make sure to wash your hands.
“COVID-19 is extremely contagious and is a serious disease, but it is also easy to kill on your hands and on surfaces. Regular soap and water will be enough to kill it when you wash your hands. Normal household disinfectants will kill this virus on surfaces,” said Dr. West Paul, NHRMC Chief Clinical Officer
Call Before You Come
If you have symptoms of COVID-19, please call your healthcare provider before you go to any emergency department, walk-in clinic, primary care office, or other healthcare facility, call ahead so that staff can plan for your arrival with proper precautions to keep the virus from spreading if you may have it.
This will keep others from getting sick and protect staff who are working hard to make sure patients receive care.
Stay Healthy at Home
The safest place to be right now is at home. Staying home whenever possible is the best way to stay healthy if you have not been exposed to COVID-19.
It’s important to maintain your physical and mental health while you’re at home. Eating balanced meals, getting exercise, and managing your stress levels are all critical to staying healthy while staying home.
We are #InThisTogether. Everyone can make a difference by staying home when they can, practicing physical distancing, and maintaining good hand hygiene. Learn more about how to show we're #InThisTogether on social media.