Submitted by Peninsula 
Family Health Team

COVID-19 is here and our efforts are no longer aimed at stopping it from coming. What we can do now is slow the spread so that we have the capacity to fully treat all who may need it. We all need to be concerned enough to follow some simple rules if we are going to achieve this goal. Worry and panic accomplish nothing; like rocking in a rocking chair, you can work as hard as you want on your anxiety it will take you nowhere and exhaust you. 

What do we all need to be doing? 

There has been an endless stream of advice, news, bulletins and interviews to the point that I’m numb so I want this to be short and simple. If you are returning from anywhere out of the country self isolate for 14 days. The usual period for symptoms to show up is 7-10 days so this provides a reasonable period for symptoms to develop if you are infected. 

For the rest of us the problem is that there are some that have the virus and have extremely mild or absolutely no symptoms at all so we all need to adhere to social distancing and good hygiene practices. This means we need to maintain a distance of 6 feet from each other. This provides enough space that respiratory droplets will fall to the ground before they reach another person. While person to person contact is the most important mode of infection with this virus recent studies have confirmed the ability of the virus to survive for variable periods on a number of surfaces. 

-It was found to survive up to 72 hrs on plastic surfaces

-It was still detectable after 48 hrs on Stainless steel

-The virus survived for 24 hrs on cardboard

-It survives on hands until cleaned 

The good news! 

Touching infected surfaces does not infect you unless you touch your eyes, nose or mouth with the hand that picked up the virus. The virus cannot penetrate the skin on your hands.

Washing your hands with soap, any soap, and water and washing any other surface you’re concerned may have virus on it is the best and most reliable way to get rid of the virus. Soap and water are better, more efficient and safer than any other method.

Hand cleaner with 70% alcohol is also effective and has the advantage of being portable, so useful when washing is not possible. Stronger riskier measures are not required, soap and water are best.

With all the washing, hands can get dry and crack so use lotions or creams liberally and the most effective and least expensive is a bit of plain Vaseline in my experience and according to a good study by Consumer’s Report.

Self Isolation and/or Social Distancing

For good direction on “self isolation”, “social distancing” and other reliable information see: https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/coronavirus/coronavirus-social-distancing-and-self-quarantine 

(also see Dr Harpur’s article on page 10 for info on Self Isolation and Social Distancing) 

Have medical needs or concerns

If you have medical needs or concerns, call any of the clinics, the hospital or the help lines (see below) before going in for direction and advice first. Most importantly this will keep you and others from being exposed to unnecessary risk and result in the best use of scarce resources.

Need to go out for supplies?

If you need to go out for supplies see the video “Shopping with Dr Ralph Suke” on the You tube link below:

What you do today will not affect tomorrow but it may prevent you from becoming part of an overwhelming number of cases 2 or 3 weeks or a month from now. Please don’t give up these practices until the all clear is broadcast, and that may be months away. We’re in it together and if we all take care of these simple things we will get through together. 

Now go wash your hands.