The number of confirmed cases of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) continues to grow worldwide. We’re seeing new cases of COVID-19 in Arkansas every day. It’s important for everyone to do their part to help slow the spread of this pandemic. Practicing social distancing can help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Here’s some information to help you understand what social distancing means.
What is social distancing?
Social distancing is about limiting opportunities to spread coronavirus; the goal is to minimize contact between people who are sick and those who are healthy. It includes creating physical distance between yourself and others when out in public, and staying home to reduce your exposure to others. Switching schools to digital learning, canceling sporting events, and limiting restaurants to delivery and carry-out are also examples of social distancing.
Effective social distancing can help slow the growth of COVID-19 infections.
How can I practice social distancing?
- Choosing to stay home away from others, or social isolation, significantly reduces your risk from get sick or infecting others.
- Do not eat in restaurants. Arkansas restaurants have closed dine-in areas but many still have drive-through service or delivery.
- Avoid physical contact with people outside of your home. Greet others with a nod or a wave instead of handshakes, hugs, or kisses.
- Avoid gatherings, meetings, and social events of more than 10 people. In smaller groups, be sure to wash your hands and avoid touching other people. Also try not to touch your face. Sometimes this is tough in groups — one reason that staying home can be a good choice.
- If you must go to work, try to keep six feet between yourself and others, wash hands frequently, and try not to touch your face.
- Socialize remotely rather than in person. Phone calls, video chat, and messaging apps are great ways to stay connected without increasing your risk for spreading illness.
Can you visit friends and family?
The current recommendation is to avoid social gatherings with groups of more than 10 people.
However, some people are at a higher risk for complications from COVID-19 than others: older adults, people with an autoimmune disease, people with a compromised immune system, and people with heart disease or lung disease.
Do not visit with friends or family members who are at an increased risk for complications.
Can you go out in public?
Even if you are practicing social distancing by isolating your family at home, there are times when you need to go out in public. You may need to leave home for groceries, medical appointments, exercise, etc.
If you go out in public, stay at least three feet away from others others. Increase the distance to six feet if others show signs of illness.
What else can you do to prevent COVID-19?
- Wash your hands frequently. Wash your hands any time that you touch a surface that may have been touched by someone else. If soap and water are not available use a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
- Clean and disinfect surfaces that you touch often: light switches, remote controls, keyboards, steering wheels, door knobs, phones, etc.
- Do not touch your face—viruses typically enter the body through the eyes, nose, or mouth.
- Practice good respiratory hygiene; cover your nose and mouth with the inside of your elbow or with a tissue.
- Stay home if you aren’t feeling well. A number of MANA clinics are now offering TeleVisits — video appointments with doctors. Choose this option rather than going to a clinic, if possible.
- Stay informed. Get your information from credible sources such as the CDC and WHO.
- Call your doctor’s office or the MANA Fever Hotline at 479-435-2500 if you think you might have symptoms. Do not walk into a clinic if you have symptoms.
Flatten the curve
One of the biggest dangers of a pandemic is that everything seems fine until it’s suddenly out of control. Social distancing can help spread out the total number of illnesses and delay the peak of COVID-19 cases, which means that our healthcare system will be able to handle the burden of this pandemic.
If everyone does their part, we can minimize the impact of COVID-19.