Ohio Dept. of Health: Take action and prepare for a potential COVID-19 outbreak

Press Staff Writer

        The Ohio Department of Health is offering guidelines to help residents prepare their households for an outbreak of COVID-19, as well as any infectious disease.
        “Please stay calm and prepare, seek out accurate information, and be kind, staying mindful of actions that could perpetuate any discrimination or stigma associated with COVID-19 or other infectious diseases,” said Amy Acton, MD, MPH, director of the Ohio Department of Health.
        • Use personal prevention protection methods at all times, whether at home, work, school, community events, or
        - Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds; dry hands with a clean towel or air dry hands.
        - Use alcohol-based hand sanitizer when soap and water are unavailable.
        - Cover your mouth with a tissue or sleeve when sneezing or coughing.
        - Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
        - Stay home when you are sick.
        - Avoid contact with people who are sick.
        • Keep soap, hand sanitizer, and tissues on hand. Make them easily accessible at home and carry with you when possible.
        • Keep household cleaning spray or wipes readily available. Always use according to label instructions.
        • Clean “high-touch” surfaces daily. These include counters, tabletops, doorknobs, light switches, bathroom fixtures, toilets, phones, keyboards, tablets, and bedside tables. Also clean any surfaces that may have blood, stool, or body fluids on them.
        • Don’t share personal items such as water bottles.
        • Keep informed of recommendations of public health officials at www.cdc.gov, www.odh.ohio.gov, and your local health department website.
        Note: The use of face masks by people who are not sick is not recommended to protect against respiratory diseases. Face masks should be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent spread of the disease and by health care workers and others taking care of someone in a close setting.
        • Keep an adequate supply of water, food, and pet food in your home. If you take prescription drugs, contact your health care provider, pharmacist, or insurance provider about keeping an emergency supply at home.
        • Talk to caregivers about backup plans in the event a primary caregiver becomes ill.
        • Meet with immediate family, relatives, and friends to discuss possible needs in the event of an infectious disease outbreak.
        • Talk with neighbors about planning. Join neighborhood information webpages or emails.
        • Plan ways to care for people at higher risk, including the very young, older people, people with chronic diseases, and people with compromised immune systems.
        • Identify community organizations that may be able to help if you need information, health care services, support or other resources.
        • Create an emergency contact list of family members, friends, neighbors, health care providers, teachers, employers and others.
        • Keep a working thermometer and respiratory medications, like decongestants, expectorants, and analgesics (ibuprofen, acetaminophen), on hand.
        • Choose a room and, if possible, a bathroom, in your home that could be used to separate family members who become sick.
        • Learn about the preparedness plans of your children’s childcare facilities, schools, and/or colleges.
        • Plan for childcare should schools temporarily close.
        • Ask about your employers’ preparedness plans, including sick-leave policies and telework options.
        • Be prepared to cancel or postpone your attendance at large events, such as sporting events, conferences, and worship services, and to stay away from crowds.
        • Be prepared for cancellation or disruptions of public transportation services.
        • Be prepared to cancel non-essential travel plans.
        • Get a flu shot this season if you haven’t already. It won’t protect against COVID-19, but it can help protect against flu or lessen symptoms if you get it, lessening the strain on health care facilities.
        For more info and updates, visit coronavirus.ohio.gov.
        A call center to answer questions regarding COVID-19 is now open. The call center will be open seven days a week from 9 a.m.-8 p.m. and can be reached at 1-833-4-ASK-ODH (1-833-427-5634).
        Call center staff includes licensed nurses and infectious disease experts who will be available to answer questions and provide accurate information about COVID-19, the risk to the public, and the state’s response.


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