FROM MINNESOTA DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH
What you can do to prepare, if you or a family member gets ill, or if your community experiences spread of COVID-19.
· Monitor local information about COVID-19 in your community.
· Practice personal protective measures (e.g., keep social distance when in public and wash hands frequently, especially when in public spaces).
· Put household plan into action.
· Individuals with underlying medical conditions should consider staying at home and avoiding gatherings or other situations of potential exposures, including travel.
Continue these activities:
· Know where to find local information on COVID-19 and local trends of COVID-19 cases.
· Know the signs and symptoms of COVID-19 and what to do if symptomatic:
o Stay home when you are sick.
o Call your health care provider’s office before you go in.
o Limit movement in the community.
o Limit visitors.
· Know what additional measures people at high risk and who are vulnerable should take.
· Implement personal protective measures (e.g., stay home when sick, handwashing, respiratory etiquette, clean frequently touched surfaces daily).
· Create a household plan of action in case of illness in the household or disruption of daily activities due to COVID-19 in the community.
o Consider getting a two-week supply of prescription and over the counter medications, food and other essentials to keep at home. Know how to get food delivered if possible.
o Establish ways to communicate with others (e.g., family, friends, co-workers).
o Establish plans to telework, what to do about child care needs, and how to adapt to cancellation of events.
· Know about emergency operations plans for schools/workplaces of household members.
CDC recommends postponing and canceling until further notice:
· Events where 50 people or more would gather, including but not limited to:
o Professional, college, and school performances or sporting events.
o Other types of assemblies.
· Smaller events (fewer than 50 people) that are held in crowded auditoriums, rooms, or other venues that do not allow social distancing of 6 feet per person.
· Events with more than 10 people where the majority of participants are at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19, including gatherings such as those at:
o Retirement facilities.
o Assisted living facilities.
o Developmental homes.
o Support groups for people with health conditions.
· Events of any size should only be continued if they can be carried out with adherence to guidelines for protecting vulnerable populations, hand hygiene, and social distancing. When feasible, organizers could modify events to be virtual.
· More information is available at CDC: Get Your Mass Gatherings or Large Community Events Ready.
How to stay healthy and prevent transmission
The Minnesota Department of Health recommends people take the same precautions as avoiding colds and flu: wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water, stay home if you are sick, and cover your cough.
The Center for Disease Control currently does not recommend the use of facemasks as a preventive measure for the general public.
Minimizing contact with others through social distancing — keeping at least six feet away from people — may help limit the spread. Click here for more information on social social distancing.
The Minnesota Department of Health also recommends that people 70 and older, and people of any age who have underlying health conditions that put them at a higher risk of severe illness from the coronavirus, should stay at home, avoid gatherings and other potential COVID-19 exposures, and not travel.
Worried about getting sick? Here are some steps you can take to boost your immune system.
It’s also recommended that you try to not touch your face, which can serve as an entry point for microbes. Try these handy tips for avoiding touching your face.
The CDC also recommends cleaning all “high-touch” surfaces — which includes your phone. Here’s how to properly clean your phone without damaging it.
Most patients with the coronavirus have developed a fever and/or the symptoms of an acute respiratory illness, like a cough or difficulty breathing.
There are other CDC-recommended criteria used when determining if someone should be tested, including:
· People with a history of traveling to a geographic area with community transmission within 14 days of onset of fever and cough/difficulty breathing who test negative for the flu.
· People who are a close contact of a confirmed case of COVID-19 with a fever or cough/difficulty breathing.
· People who are part of a case cluster of patients with a fever or cough/difficulty breathing and test negative for the flu.
· People with pneumonia/acute respiratory distress syndrome of unknown cause (testing negative for respiratory pathogens).
· People who are healthcare workers with direct patient contact who have a fever and a cough/difficulty breathing, or with pneumonia and who test negative for the flu.
What to do if you think you are sick
If you think you are sick with COVID-19, you should call your health care provider and let them know you may have the virus before going for an appointment.
Minnesota patients who think they may have been infected with COVID-19 can get tested for the coronavirus for free at a drive-up clinic if a doctor says it’s necessary.
If you think you are sick, you should stay home, and if you have kids who are sick, you should keep your kids home, under White House guidelines. If someone in your household has tested positive for the coronavirus, the entire household should stay at home.
The CDC also recommends the following for those who think they are sick:
· Isolate at home, avoiding public areas and public transportation
· Separate yourself from other people and animals in your home
· Wear a facemask when around other people
· Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze
· Dispose of used tissues in a lined trash can
· Wash your hands often for at least 20 seconds
· Clean and disinfect all high-touch surfaces
· Monitor your symptoms and seek prompt medical attention if they worsen
If you have questions about the coronavirus, you can call the Minnesota Department of Health’s COVID-19 Hotline at 651-201-3920 from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Wondering if you should cancel your trip? Public health officials are urging residents to reconsider any foreign and domestic trips. Read this for some of the things to consider when deciding whether to travel.
If you are traveling, be aware that airports and airlines are making a number of changes in response to the coronavirus. Here’s what you can expect.
Also, read these tips on how to avoid getting sick while traveling.