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Preparing Yourself and Your Santa Fe Home for Coronavirus COVID-19

Preparing Yourself and Your Santa Fe Home for Coronavirus COVID-19

Coronavirus COVID-19

Article Originally Published: March 13, 2020
Article Last Updated: August 10, 2020

The spread of coronavirus COVID-19 has created worldwide concern and panic as people seek ways to avoid falling victim to the virus. Because we care about every person in Santa Fe, we’ve done some research to help you better understand coronavirus COVID-19. This article will explore facts as presented by the CDC, WHO, and other reputable sources on doing your best to remain virus-free. But it will have a deeper focus on what you can also do in your home to keep it clean and prepare in case the virus reaches your doorsteps.

SEE ALSO: Resources for Santa Fe Residents During COVID-19

How is Coronavirus COVID-19 Spread?
The first thing to understand is how Coronavirus COVID-19 is spread. By knowing how it is spread, you can better prepare yourself with counter-measures.

According to the CDC, COVID-19 is believed to be spread “mainly from person-to-person…

  • Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).
  • Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.

These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.”

In addition, the CDC says, “It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.”

The CDC also says it is possible to contract COVID-19 from someone who is not showing any symptoms. The CDC warns that ”the virus that causes COVID-19 seems to be spreading easily.”

Santa Fe Coronavirus COVID-19 Phone Numbers

What are the Symptoms of Coronavirus COVID-19?
According to the CDC, these are some of the symptoms that may appear within 2-14 days after you’ve been infected. Those are:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • Loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea

When it comes to the cough, the far majority of people seem to have a dry cough. However, up to 33% reported coughing up thick phlegm from the lungs.

The CDC also warns that if develop any of the following warning signs for COVID-19, you should seek immediate medical attention:

  • Trouble breathing
  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
  • New confusion or inability to arouse
  • Bluish lips or face

Upper respiratory infections like sneezing, runny nose, and sinus congestion do not appear at this time to have a relationship to COVID-19.

How Can I Avoid Catching Coronavirus COVID-19?
The following recommendations by the CDC and WHO can help improve your chances of not getting Coronavirus COVID-19:

  • Cover your mouth and nose with a cloth face cover when around others. The CDC recommends that everyone where a cloth face cover in public settings except children under 2, those who have trouble breathing, or those that don’t have the ability to remove the mask without assistance.
  • Start practicing “social distancing” where you stay about 6-feet away from other people. Close contact is one of the main ways Coronavirus COVID-19 is spread.
  • Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Be sure to get all areas of your hands including the area around your fingernails.
  • When soap and water aren’t available, use a hand sanitizer that is at least 60% alcohol.
  • Avoid touching your face, particularly your eyes, nose, and mouth. This is especially vital when your hands haven’t been washed.
  • Carry tissues with you and when you cough or sneeze do so into the tissue and throw the tissue away. Then wash your hands.
  • Disinfect your home and work areas (see our “Disinfecting and Preparing Your Home section further below)
  • Avoid gatherings of people. In fact, many states are banning events and large gatherings.
  • If you decide to continue working out at a gym (that isn’t closed), wash the equipment before you use it, and after you use it and wash your hands several times during your workout. You should discuss with your doctor/health care provider the risks vs benefits of gym exercising/workouts.

What to do if You Display Symptoms of Coronavirus COVID-19:
If you begin to display symptoms that may be an indication of Coronavirus COVID-19 then do the following:

  • Stay home and call your doctor for further instructions.
  • Do not go out in public except for medical care and wear a facemask.
  • Isolate yourself away from others in your home.
  • It is unknown if the virus can be spread via pets and animals, so it is recommended that you limit contact with pets if you believe you are sick. If you don’t have anyone that can help care for your pet then limit your interaction with your pet and always wash your hands (and wear a facemask) when doing things that require interaction like giving your pet food (or medicine).
  • If someone in your household is caring for you while you are sick, make sure they wear a facemask and consistently follow safe practices (like washing hands, keeping distance as possible, etc).
  • Be sure to let your doctor know you may have COVID-19 before going to the doctor’s office/clinic so that they can provide you with instructions on exactly where to go and what to do (procedures are different with suspected COVID-19 patients.
  • “You should not share dishes, drinking glasses, cups, eating utensils, towels, or bedding with other people or pets in your home.”
  • Make sure anything you use is thoroughly washed with soap and water after use.
  • If it is believed you have COVID-19 then “ask your healthcare provider to call the local or state health department.”
  • If you are confirmed to have COVID-19 then it is vital to stay at home until you are instructed to leave.
  • If you have a medical emergency, call 911. Be sure to let them know that you have, or are being evaluated for COVID-19.
  • If you have any questions during your home isolation, direct them to your doctor or health care provider.

Your doctor or health care provider should be the one to determine whether or not you qualify for home care. They will examine things like the severity of your symptoms, if there is a room you can be isolated in, if there is someone to care for you, your age, if you have access to food, etc. It’s important to be open and honest with your health care provider when discussing your situation.

Disinfecting and Preparing Your Home for COVID-19:

It’s important to prepare your home in two ways:

  • By actively trying to keep the virus out (disinfecting your home).
  • By preparing for the potential of a two-week isolation.

We will cover both areas:

Cleaning and Disinfecting Your Home

When disinfecting your home, always be careful about four things:

1. If you have pets, make sure the disinfectant you are using safe to be used around pets. And to be double-safe, make sure your pet isn’t in the room while you are disinfecting.

2. Follow the directions very carefully. A lot of people don’t read directions and miss some vital steps. According to the CDC, “Use a household cleaning spray or wipe, according to the label instructions. Labels contain instructions for safe and effective use of the cleaning product including precautions you should take when applying the product, such as wearing gloves and making sure you have good ventilation during the use of the product.”

3. About gloves, the CDC says, “Wear disposable gloves when cleaning and disinfecting surfaces. Gloves should be discarded after each cleaning. If reusable gloves are used, those gloves should be dedicated for cleaning and disinfection of surfaces for COVID-19 and should not be used for other purposes.”

4. About disinfectants, the CDC says, “For disinfection, diluted household bleach solutions, alcohol solutions with at least 70% alcohol, and most common EPA-registered household disinfectants should be effective.

  • Diluted household bleach solutions can be used if appropriate for the surface. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for application and proper ventilation. Check to ensure the product is not past its expiration date. Never mix household bleach with ammonia or any other cleanser. Unexpired household bleach will be effective against coronaviruses when properly diluted.
    • Prepare a bleach solution by mixing:
      • 5 tablespoons (1/3rd cup) bleach per gallon of water or
      • 4 teaspoons bleach per quart of water.”

Here are specific recommendations when it comes to cleaning and disinfecting your home:

  • If surfaces are dirty, they should be cleaned using a detergent or soap and water prior to using a disinfectant solution on them. Always read and follow directions on disinfectants.
  • Clean high-touch surfaces (counters, sinks, doorknobs, sink handles, keyboards, computer mouse, phones, bedside tables, etc.) at least once a day.
  • Clean the toilet area (including flush handle) and bathroom at least once a day.
  • If you or a loved one is suspected of having COVID-19, handle laundry with dedicated gloves. Never shake the laundry. Also, use a disposable bag to handle the laundry (i.e. trash bag) and throw the bag away after the laundry has been put in the wash.
  • Whenever you are done washing a surface or handling laundry with gloves, always wash your hands immediately after removing the gloves.
  • Clean your cell phone. Many cell phone companies are providing articles on safely cleaning your phone during this outbreak. The BBC also has a video on this at https://www.bbc.com/news/av/technology-51863924/coronavirus-how-to-clean-your-smartphone-safely

Note on Disinfectants: Here is a list of EPA-approved disinfectants believed to be effective against COVID-19. Follow the directions carefully! https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2020-03/documents/sars-cov-2-list_03-03-2020.pdf

Note on Air Purifiers: There is currently a debate as to the effectiveness of air purifiers on coronavirus. Several companies are testing different types of air purifiers against coronavirus COVID-19. The leading theory is not to rely on them and that HEPA filters don’t remove/kill virus spores. Air purifiers that also have UV filters may be more effective, however. For now, there is no conclusive evidence as to the effectiveness of an air purifier against COVID-19. But if you do use one, it is recommended to use gloves when changing the filter and changing it more frequently during the outbreak.

Preparing for Potential Isolation
If you come down with Coronavirus COVID-19, depending on the severity you will either need to be home or “hospital” isolated. It is vital that you prepare in advance for potential home isolation of two-weeks. Here are some things you should be considering right now:

  • Stock up, while you are healthy on essential things like food, water, flu medicine, toilet paper, etc. Also, purchase disposable gloves and disinfectants.
  • If you love cooking your own meals then make some great ones and freeze them for use later if you are sick. A lot of people like “comfort food” when sick, but keep in mind that it is vital to get your essential vitamins/minerals from healthy food, especially when you are sick.
  • If there are multiple people in your household, prepare an area for potential isolation. Ideally, there is a specific room and bathroom that can be used for the sick person.
  • Make and post a list of essential numbers (doctor, family, work, school, etc) for easy access.
  • Develop a plan of action and discuss it with your family. Research the latest CDC findings to refine your plan. Visit the CDC coronavirus COVID-19 section here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/ .

Coronavirus COVID-19 is serious because it has a higher death rate than other viruses, there is no vaccine, and it is spread easily. That’s why school closure, event limitations, travel restrictions, etc. are taking place all around the world. It’s important to take it seriously to help lessen your risk of contracting or spreading it.

New Mexico Guidelines for Testing
The State of New Mexico has issued the following guidelines for Coronavirus COVID-19 testing:

  • ​​It is essential that New Mexico maintains sufficient amounts of medical supplies, including personal protective equipment for health care staff and COVID-19 test kit materials.
  • It is critical that all New Mexicans know that those without symptoms of COVID-19 infection – those symptoms being fever, cough, or shortness of breath and/or muscle cramping – do not need testing for COVID-19. We are currently in allergy season, and having allergy symptoms such as sneezing, and itchy eyes, nose or throat is not an indication for testing.
  • As we work to increase the state’s capacity for COVID-19 testing, the test needs to be prioritized for those with symptoms of COVID-19 infection: fever, cough or shortness of breath. Please trust New Mexico’s valued medical professionals who are working so hard to protect and treat the New Mexico public and only get tested if you are currently exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms.
  • Workplaces should not mandate that employees get tested for COVID-19 UNLESS employees are displaying symptoms: fever, cough or shortness of breath.
  • ​It is critical that those who DO have symptoms of COVID-19 do NOT enter medical facilities without first contacting them, especially emergency departments.
  • There is no specific treatment for COVID-19 and most cases will resolve on their own. In fact, 80% of cases are mild. Unless you have serious, emergent symptoms, you should not enter emergency departments. Entering medical facilities unnecessarily puts others at risk, increasing the potential to both infect others in the facility who would be more susceptible and reduce the facility’s ability to care for other patients.
  • ​Reasons to seek emergency attention with COVID-19 are no different than reasons for going to an emergency department for other medical conditions: if you are having trouble breathing or significant shortness of breath, please seek medical attention.

Notes About Masks

From the CDC:

  • CDC recommends that people wear masks in public settings and when around people who don’t live in your household, especially when other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain.
  • Masks may help prevent people who have COVID-19 from spreading the virus to others.
  • Masks are most likely to reduce the spread of COVID-19 when they are widely used by people in public settings.
  • Masks should NOT be worn by children under the age of 2 or anyone who has trouble breathing, is unconscious, incapacitated, or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance.
  • Masks with exhalation valves or vents should NOT be worn to help prevent the person wearing the mask from spreading COVID-19 to others (source control).

Also, a study by Duke University researchers found that knitted masks, bandannas, and neck fleeces offer little protection when it comes to COVID-19. Neck fleeces were, by far, the worse and it is recommended not to use them as a replacement to a face mask. It’s much better to wear N95, surgical or higher quality face masks. Avoid fleece altogether.

Please find below some important videos on Coronavirus COVID-19 as well as a list of the resources we used for this article and links to those pages. Stay healthy, be prepared, and keep informed.

Videos on Coronavirus COVID-19:

How To Protect Yourself Against COVID-19 (WHO)

Seven Steps to Prevent the Spread of Coronavirus (WHO)

New Symptoms of COVID-19 (Denver Health)

What You Need to Know About Handwashing (CDC)

What Older Adults Need to Know About Coronavirus COVID-19 (CDC)

How to Properly Disinfect Surfaces  to Prevent Spreading Coronavirus (News Report – Khon 2)

How to Prepare Your Home for Self-Isolation Against Coronavirus (News Report – 5 News)

How to Make Your Own Face Coverings (CDC)

Youth Sports: Tips to Protect Players from COVID-19 (CDC)

Article Sources:
CDC: How COVID-19 Spreads
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/transmission.html

CDC: COVID-19 Symptoms
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/symptoms.html

Report of the WHO-China Joint Mission on Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)
https://www.who.int/docs/default-source/coronaviruse/who-china-joint-mission-on-covid-19-final-report.pdf

WebMD: Know the Symptoms of COVID-19)
https://www.webmd.com/lung/news/20200310/know-the-symptoms-of-covid19

CDC: Steps to Prevent Illness
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/prevention.html

CDC: What to do if you are Sick
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/steps-when-sick.html

CDC: Disinfection Recommendations
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/home/cleaning-disinfection.html

CDC: Get Your Household Ready for COVID-19
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/home/get-your-household-ready-for-COVID-19.html

CDC: Preventing the Spread of Coronavirus
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/guidance-prevent-spread.html

Additional Link Resources:

City of Santa Fe: Help for People Who Run a Business in Santa Fe:
https://www.santafenm.gov/help_for_businesses_impacted_by_covid-19

New Mexico Health: Coronavirus Disease 2019 in New Mexico
https://cv.nmhealth.org/

Infographic (please share)