In effort to provide support and information during this novel coronavirus outbreak, The California-Nevada Office of Disaster Response Ministry has compiled an interim list of simple precautions to help stop the virus from spreading, and preparedness points should you or a loved one become ill, or your community experience business or school closures. This information was last updated March 3, 2020.
Being prepared and being informed can reduce our fear, anxiety, and the spread of flu, common colds and the Coronavirus.
Know the Facts
The best sources of current information around the novel coronavirus, or COVID-19, are the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization. There are several resources for your use, and the answer to most every question can be found on one of their pages.
Know the Symptoms
- Difficulty Breathing
Practice Good Personal Health Habits
- Wash your hands often and for at least 20 seconds or the length of the “Happy Birthday” song twice.
- If you can’t wash your hands, use an alcohol-based sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue or your elbow. Immediately throw the tissue in the trash and wash up as soon as possible.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular cleaning spray or wipes
- Give folks extra personal space by greeting with a wave or hand over your heart.
- Stay home and don’t travel when you are sick.
- If you develop a fever and cough or lower respiratory symptoms, avoid contact with others and follow the instructions given to you by your local health department or contact your medical provider for further guidance.
- Follow CDC and WHO guidelines for mask wearing:
- If you are healthy, you only need to wear a mask if you are taking care of a person with suspected 2019-nCoV infection.
- Wear a mask if you are coughing or sneezing.
- Masks are effective only when used in combination with frequent hand-cleaning with alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water.
- If you wear a mask, then you must know how to use it and dispose of it properly.
Prepare a Household Plan of Action
Gather immediate family, relatives and friends and talk about what should be done if a community outbreak happens and what the needs of each person will be.
- Plan ways to care for those who may be at higher risk of complications.
- If you are currently healthy your risk for complications should you get the virus are relatively low if you take care of yourself.
- Those who are medically fragile, or infants might be more affected by the virus.
- Get to know your neighbors. Talk with them about emergency planning, and consider joining each others social media pages to maintain access to neighbors, information and resources.
- Nextdoor.com can be a useful resource in your community and neighborhood
- Identify aid organizations in your community. These are local resources should you need access to information, health care services, food, mental health or counseling services, or other supplies.
- Create an emergency contact list. Ensure your household has a current list of emergency contacts for family, friends, neighbors, carpool drivers, healthcare providers, employers, schools, and other community resources.
Prepare Your Supplies
Make sure you have a nutritional supply of food and plenty of your prescriptions and over the counter cold and flu medicines on hand. Purchase a few face masks to have on hand should someone in the home become sick.
While you do not need to stockpile Items, it is a good idea to have an extra bottle of hand soap and sanitizer, an extra box or two of tissues, and those other items to make yourself comfortable should you need to stay in your home 14 days. Again – there is no need to empty the store shelves of these items. Just have enough on hand for your home for 2 weeks. Given the natural disasters in California and Nevada, these are good, standard preparedness items to have on hand anyway!
Prepare Your Home
- Identify a dedicated room and bathroom (if possible) for sick household members. Clean and disinfect those rooms daily.
- Avoid sharing personal items like food and drinks
- Provide your sick household member with clean disposable facemasks to wear at home, and for others to wear when caring for him or her.
- Keep frequently touched surfaces and objects – doorknobs, railings, computer keyboards, phones, toys and desks - clean with soap and water, bleach and water or an EPA approved disinfectant.
Prepare for Possible Closures
- Learn about the emergency operations plan at your child’s school or childcare facility.
- Identify alternative childcare if needed
- Be sure your phone number or email are up to date on your child’s emergency card
- Learn about your employer’s emergency operations plan. Discuss sick-leave policies and remote working options for workers who are sick or who need to stay home to care for sick household members.
- Notify your employer or your child’s school, or any other regularly attended program if you or your child/children become sick with COVID-19.
If members of your congregation or church community need some support with preparedness planning, consider arranging for one of our team to come out and provide “Connecting Neighbors”. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information or to set a date for training!
I am praying for each of you and know that we will find ways to care for one another. In this time of seeming uncertainty, I am certain that God is with us.
Sonja Edd-Bennett, Director
Disaster Response Ministry