Protecting Yourself & Others

Social Distancing v. Self Quarantine in Chattanooga

Since we know the virus causing COVID-19 passes from person-to-person through respiratory droplets, we all must be hyper vigilant not to spread the illness to others both in our households and outside of them. These respiratory droplets which carry the virus can stay in the air after a cough or sneeze is emitted by an infected person. The droplets can also live on surfaces for up to several days if not properly cleaned. Therefore, it is recommended by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to wear masks, practice social distancing, self-quarantine after a known exposure, and self-isolate while waiting for test results.

 

Cover Your Mouth and Nose

Wearing a mask will help protect people around you, including those at higher risk of severe illness and workers who frequently come into close contact with others. The CDC states that when widely used, masks are most likely to reduce the spread of COVID-19. A mask or cloth cover is not a substitute for physical distancing—continue to keep at least 6 feet between yourself and others. Here are some tips on wearing your mask correctly:

  • Wash your hands before putting on your mask.
  • Wear mask over mouth AND nose and secure under chin.
  • Try to fit mask snugly against sides of face.
  • Make sure you can breathe easily.
  • When taking off, handle by ear loops/ties. Fold outside corners together. Wash hands immediately after removing.
  • Do NOT put mask around neck or forehead.
  • Do NOT touch mask. If you do, wash hands or use hand sanitizer to disinfect.
  • Do NOT place masks/face coverings on children under the age of 2 who may have trouble breathing or unable to remove covering without assistance.
  • Please do NOT use masks that are meant for healthcare workers as they are critical for first responders.

Learn more on the CDC’s website.

 

Social & Physical Distancing

The CDC strongly recommends everyone to maintain social and physical distance during this time. This means to increase the physical space between one another to avoid the spread of illness. For COVID-19, the recommendation is to stay at least 6 feet away from others, postpone large gatherings, work/learn from home if possible, connect with others virtually, and other lifestyle changes. Everyone should be practicing social and physical distancing. Here are tips:

  1. Travel Safely – consider social distancing options to traveling when running errands or commuting. When using public transit, maintain 6 feet of distance from others and wear a mask.
  2. Limit Contact – when running errands, only visit stores in person when absolutely needed and stay at least 6 feet apart from others who are not from your household and wear a mask.
  3. Safe Social Activities – Stay connected with friends and families who do not live with you virtually. If meeting in person, stay at least 6 feet apart and wear a mask. It is recommended to avoid crowded places and gatherings where it is difficult to stay 6 feet apart from others.
  4. Stay Active – consider going for a walk, bike ride, or wheelchair roll in your neighborhood or other location where you can maintain at least 6 feet of distance between yourself and other pedestrians/cyclists.

Learn more on the CDC’s website.

 

Self-Quarantine

Anyone who may have been in contact or has a member in their home with COVID-19, should practice self-quarantine. This includes staying home and self-monitoring your symptoms for 14 days. If symptoms develop, take your temperature and call your Galen provider. If severe symptoms (severe shortness of breath) develop, put on mask and go to the nearest emergency room as soon as possible. Learn more on the CDC’s website.

Follow these steps for self-quarantine:

  1. Stay home for 14 days after your last contact with someone who may have COVID-19— do not go to work, school, stores, churches, restaurants (including fast food drive-thrus), or public areas.
  2. Practice standard hygiene – wash hands frequently, wear masks when around others, cough or sneeze into the fold of your elbow, avoid touching your face, and avoid sharing everyday items.
  3. Stay away from others, especially those who are at high-risk for getting sick from COVID-19.
  4. Monitor your symptoms: Fever, cough, or other symptoms of COVID-19.
  5. Call 911 or go to the nearest ER if you experience severe symptoms. 
  6. Put on a facemask before you enter the healthcare facility in order to help protect others in the waiting room.

Self-Isolation

If you have been diagnosed with, waiting for test results for, or have symptoms related to COVID-19, it is important for you to stay at home, follow quarantine and isolate to prevent further spread.Learn more on the CDC’s website.

Follow these steps for self-isolation:

  1. Stay home except to get medical care.
    1. Separate yourself from other people and animals in your home. Stay in a separate room and use a separate bathroom from others in your household if possible.
    2. Do not go to work, school, stores, churches, restaurants (including fast food drive-thrus), or public areas.
    3. Stay in touch with your provider. Call before you get medical care. Put on a facemask before you enter the healthcare facility in order to help protect others in the waiting room.
  2. Practice standard hygiene – wash hands frequently, wear masks when around others, cough or sneeze into the fold of your elbow, avoid touching your face, and avoid sharing everyday items.
  3. Clean all “high-touch” surfaces every day.
  4. Monitor your symptoms — Fever, cough and other COVID-19 symptoms.
  5. Call 911 or go to the nearest ER if you become severely short of breath.

 

Learn more about how to protect yourself and others from COVID-19 from the CDC.