Why Social Distancing Matters
What you need to know and tips to help protect yourself and your family.
BY KATIE CAVENDER
Whether it’s shopping at the grocery store, working at the office or gathering around the table with family, our everyday lives involve interactions with people. During the COVID-19 (coronavirus) epidemic it’s imperative that we evaluate every interaction to determine if it’s necessary and beneficial. Simply put, we need to practice social distancing, even if you aren’t vulnerable to the virus or sick.
What is social distancing and why is it important?
COVID-19 is a new virus so we are still learning how it spreads and to what extent it will affect our community. Here’s what we do know. Like other viruses, COVID-19 is mainly spread from person to person. In fact, it can be spread between people who are up to 6 feet away from one another.
When infected people cough or sneeze, they produce respiratory droplets that can be microscopic. If those droplets touch another person’s mouth or nose, the virus can enter that person’s respiratory system, exposing him/her to the virus. People may even be contagious before they exhibit any symptoms.
One of the most effective ways to slow the spread of COVID-19 is social distancing. That means you should avoid crowds and put distance between yourself and other people when possible.
Tips for social distancing
Though social distancing is especially important for people who are sick or vulnerable to the virus (older people and those who have serious medical conditions like heart disease, diabetes or lung disease), it’s crucial that everyone does his/her part to make sure the virus doesn’t spread. Here are some practical ways to do that.
Avoid public transportation – If those infected with COVID-19 travel on public transportation, they not only expose fellow passengers to the virus they also expose a new community at their destination. If you are planning to travel, visit the CDC’s Traveler’s Health webpage for updated information about your destination and travel health.
Work from home – If your job allows you to work from home, you should. Meetings and day-to-day interactions with colleagues could lead to virus spread.
Keep your kids at home – So far, people over 75 years old have been affected the most severely by COVID-19, but that doesn’t mean your child can’t be a carrier, or even worse get sick. Try to keep your children home from group activities whenever possible.
Order online – By ordering items online rather than visiting the store, you can reduce your exposure. If you need something right away, consider in-store pickup so you are in and out quickly. You also can utilize home delivery services like Instacart.
RSVP “Regretfully decline” – This can be a difficult one, especially if a loved one is having a milestone event. It’s best to avoid any large gatherings. Consider talking to the host about rescheduling the event to a time when everyone can enjoy themselves worry-free.
Opt for homemade dinner or delivery – When planning meals, try to make homemade entrees. If you want to enjoy your favorite dish from a restaurant, try ordering the meal to go or have the meal delivered to your home.
Watch movies at home – Movie theaters have a lot of common surfaces (surfaces that are touched by multiple people) and are designed to hold a large audience. Choose to watch movies on the small screen for the time being.
Check visitation policies – Before leaving the house to visit a loved one at the hospital, check the current visitation policy. Lehigh Valley Health Network (LVHN) has put into place a temporary hospital visitation policy to help protect the health of our patients and health care providers.
We’ve got your back
The impact of COVID-19 is continuing to evolve, and Lehigh Valley Health Network is prepared to do whatever is needed. We are offering COVID-19 screenings over the phone and online. During the screening, a health professional will let you know if you need to visit one of our stand-alone Test and Assess locations.
Please note: You must be in the state of Pennsylvania to receive screening by LVHN health care providers due to medical licensing regulations.
Free screenings – Visit MyLVHN.org, use the MvLVHN mobile app, or call 888-402-LVHN.
Need up-to-date information? Visit LVHN.org/covid19.