Steve Melega, Shelby County Health Department Administrator, requested Thursday that people be reminded of information to lower the risk of contracting and spreading the coronavirus (COVID-19).

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is telling Americans that they should be prepared for the possibility of a COVID-19 outbreak in their community. Don’t panic – but do prepare!

Shelby County Health Department recommendations:

Practice good hygiene and healthy habits

  • Wash your HANDS! Thoroughly wash hands up to your elbows with soap and water for at least 20 seconds followed by the use of an alcohol-based hand sanitizer (with at least 60%-95% alcohol).
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surface areas and objects like kitchen counters and cabinets, appliance door handles and knobs such as the stove and refrigerator, bathroom faucets, toilet and door handles, surface areas of electronic devices, etc. You may wish to disinfect hand contact areas of your vehicle as well. The COVID-19 coronavirus could remain infectious on hard contact surfaces for up to nine days at room temperature. (“Journal of Hospital Infection” Feb, 6, 2020) However, the virus can quickly be rendered inactive by using common disinfectants, and may also dissipate at higher temperatures. Remember to stock up on extra cleaning products with disinfection properties.
  • Cover your coughs and sneezes with a 2-ply tissue. It is no longer recommended to cough into your elbow or sleeve. Throw away any used tissue immediately and wash your hands followed by a hand sanitizer. Avoid touching your face, eyes, and nose with unwashed hands. Even a kiss on the cheek with an infected person can put you at risk. This is a critical key to prevention.
  • Be proactive by monitoring all members of your household daily for fevers with a touchless thermometer. If fever is detected, contact your healthcare provider by phone. Do not go into the physician’s office without being instructed to do so. Always have a healthy household member pick up your prescriptions. Avoid exposing others to your sickness by STAYING HOME!
  • Practice social distancing. In crowded spaces, creating a distance between yourself and others can help reduce your risk of person-to-person infection and exposure. It is recommended standing at least 3’ from healthy people, and at least 6’ from any one person exhibiting signs of sickness, such as coughing, sneezing and a runny nose. If you haven’t got a flu shot – GET ONE!

Be prepared to stay home

  • Make sure you have reasonable amounts of groceries/nonperishable foods and other basic household necessities for your entire family to be able to stay home for at least 14 days. Stock up on products now to avoid potential shortages in the event an outbreak does occur.
  • Have enough daily prescription medication for a minimum of 14 days. (Ex: blood pressure pills)
  • Pre-buy fever reducer medicines such as acetaminophen and ibuprofen.
  • Stock-up on “sickbed” foods like chicken noodle soup, crackers, hydrating drinks, etc.

Please refer to the CDC “interim guidance: Get Your Household Ready for Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).”

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