WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW TO PROTECT YOURSELF

Update on Coronavirus Disease 2019 aka COVID-19
Hello Church, while reading the flood of updates on COVID-19, it became readily apparent that our best defense is to be fully aware and informed about the impact of this virus and its potentially serious complications. Learning to incorporate risk-reducing measures into our daily activities will decrease the spread and severity of COVID-19 in our home and community. Preparing, planning & practicing social distancing has become vitally necessary for our “future” health and well-being.

What are our responsibilities during this pandemic? Is there a right balance between steadfast faith and a healthy level of fear of the unknown? How do we protect ourselves and others from being infected or unknowingly exposed to COVID-19? Here are a few resources to browse: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html and https://kidshealth.org/en/parents/coronavirus-how-talk-child.html

Our global knowledge on Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome-Coronavirus 2 (SARS-Co2), the virus responsible for COVID-19 is continuously evolving. Headlines & news alerts update our understanding of symptoms, infection & mortality rates, future vaccines, ongoing drug trials and lessons learned by countries devastated by deaths & diseases. Preliminary data from China & other countries hardest hit by SARS-Co2/COVID-19 is this, mass closures does slow down the spread of COVID-19 along with using personal protection measures like handwashing, social distancing, disrupting the virus’ transmission cycle & portals of entry, etc.

Everywhere we look, media images are showing countries closing their borders, industries are postponing events or temporarily shutting their doors like Disney parks, NASCAR, National Basketball Association, Major League Soccer & National Hockey League. Meanwhile national and local restaurants are shifting from dining in to delivery or take-out services only. Some megastores and grocers in Arizona are eliminating free food samples while others are temporarily changing their 24-hour store access.

How can WE collectively stop the global spread of COVID-19? Each of us can help curb the spread of COVID-19! Perhaps you’ve heard the terms “shelter-in-place”, “social distancing” or “self-isolation” floating about in the media. Why are experts & leaders talking about these concepts?
 
Recall from Part 1 of this series that “social distancing” was defined as avoiding close contact or physical touch within a physical distance of 6 feet with ANYONE who is ill or has been exposed and not yet showing symptoms.
 
This means NO handshakes, fist bumps, knuckle knocks, high fives, dap greetings, elbow taps, pinky swears or hugs! Reducing viral spread means removing viral access to acceptable human hosts through social distancing by self-isolating or staying at home aka sheltering in place. Self-isolation can help protect people at higher risks of becoming infected like folks over 60 years of age, people with compromised immunity or individuals with underlying serious health conditions like heart & lung disease, diabetes or asthma. Some people who are sick may not require full hospitalization and their health care providers (HCP) may recommend self-isolation. Likewise persons exhibiting mild or non-life threatening symptoms or those who may have been potentially exposed can also self-isolate.
 
Typically, sheltering in place is used when people are facing evacuations or considering sheltering options during disasters. From my perspective, “sheltering-in-place” is a self-imposed way of implementing social distancing. The exposed person with mild symptoms or potentially exposed individuals without symptoms can use a safe and accessible indoor housing site to self-isolate based upon their HCPs’ orders.

 

HCPs will determine your self-isolation length of time as well as any discontinuation criteria. Usually self-isolation correlates to the endpoint of the virus’ incubation period, typically 14-21 days depending on the person’s underlying health status and how the virus impacts various communities.

 

By staying at home and using self-care measures recommended by the CDC and the World Health Organization and following your HCPs’ medical orders you can make a difference. You are decreasing the physical & fiscal burdens upon emergency rooms and healthcare systems! How is that? By limiting the rapid influx of unanticipated people who may or may not be exposed or need hospitalization can potentially spread out the pace and impact of resource utilization. This then reduces the number of incoming people which lessens the abrupt overuse of resources by healthcare system treating infectious diseases like COVID-19. Here’s a pictorial overview on self-isolation, it’s really brief & informative:

 

 
Is there a Checklist for Sheltering in Place? Yes there are different lists out there, here’s a really useful tool created by King County, Washington disaster preparedness staff for planned preventions during pandemic flu events. This checklist applies to our current COVID-19 pandemic as well.
 
Practicing social distancing by “sheltering in place” means having an adequate & accessible supply of food, water, beverages, medications, charging devices for mobile devices as well as toys, crafts, games and faith resources to get through your possible 14-21 days of self-isolation. Don’t forget your pets and animals; designate an alternate care provider if you are sick. Update your telephone contact list and have copies of your advance directives & other appropriate documents accessible should your health status changes.
 

Checklist: https://www.kingcounty.gov/depts/health/emergency-preparedness/preparing-yourself/pandemic-flu/individuals-families/~/media/depts/health/emergency-preparedness/documents/pandemic/checklist-individuals-families-EN.ashx

My Prayer: God, I pray that you grant each of us, wisdom, calmness, strength, comfort and compassion during this time of unpredictability and unforeseen changes in our routines, comfort levels and lifestyles. Let us remember that you are our ever-present God and Savior. Help us choose faith in you over our fears. Cover us with your peace so we may extend forgiveness, hope, mercy and grace to those we encounter. Lead, guide and direct all that we say, do, think, feel and believe. Bless those who have served, are serving or may have a desire to serve in the precious name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

Scriptural Resources using the English Standard Version

Psalm 94:19 – When doubts filled my mind, your comfort gave me renewed hope and cheer.

John 14: 27 – “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.