Keep your distance

Public health officials remind snowbirds, spring breakers to self-isolate for 14 days

Snowbirds returning from winter destinations and people who traveled for spring break are reminded that health officials suggest a 14-day social-isolation period during this time of the coronavirus.

“What social isolation really means is staying at home and not leaving except for infrequent, short periods of time. Take the trip to the grocery store once a week instead of several times a week. Inviting the neighbor over for coffee is probably not the right thing to do right now,” said Shelby Kroona, Hamilton County Public Health administrator.

Kroona said some people coming back from spring break or those wintering elsewhere maybe hadn’t heard the recommendations before they returned home.

“The Governor did recommend that everyone who has been out of state to social isolate for at least 14 days,” she said.

During that period of time, she said people should monitor their temperature and possible symptoms of a respiratory illness.

“If anybody develops a fever or a cough or respiratory symptoms, they should call their physician and report their symptoms to see what they want to do,” she said.

So far, there have been no positive tests in Hamilton County. Kroona said there had been some people tested here but the results take 4 or 5 days for results to come back from the labs. Kroona said they are waiting on results for a couple of the tests.

“We want to assure people that for many, it’s a mild illness. But again, for those who are immunocompromised it can be devastating,” she said.

Once someone is tested, they are exhibiting symptoms, she said.

“Hopefully, they will be well-enough to return to their homes and take care of themselves,” she said.

The Center for Disease Control has also recommended that people identify a space in their home where patients can quarantine and isolate themselves should a test come back positive.

“Hopefully, if there are two bathrooms in the house, the person who is sick will use one and the rest of the family would use the other,” said Kroona. “Let the ill person use sanitize wipes to clean the bathroom surfaces after they use it.”

She recommended that the ill person remain in their bedroom away from other family members to limit exposure.

For those people who aren’t working from home or who have contact with the public, Kroona said the rule of thumb is to maintain a six-foot distance from others.

“If you’re standing in a line at the grocery store, keep some distance between you and the next person in line,” she said. “And again, hand washing is so important at this time. Wash with soap for 20 seconds.”

Kroona said it was also important to wash fruits and vegetables thoroughly when shoppers return from the grocery store.

“A healthy diet is important but you need to be sure to wash the fruits and vegetables before you prepare them or put them in the refrigerator,” she said.

She said that reports from the grocery industry show that there won’t be any food shortages.

“Buy what you think you need for a week, but try not over purchase if at all possible,” she said.


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