John Bennett, our, Emergency Management Director, has provided us with guidelines for using Personal Protective Equipment during the COVID-19 crisis. We want to care for our loved ones and seniors during the COVID-19 emergency. Here is a protocol you can follow when you are in public, shopping, fueling your car, dropping off groceries, etc.
- Before you leave your residence, wash your hands thoroughly for at least 20 seconds with soap, dish washing liquid, etc. Wash all the way up to your elbows if you can, rinsing with as hot of water as you can stand.
- Make sure that you bring a hand sanitizer with you that has an alcohol content greater than 60%.
- Enter your vehicle and start your day.
- As you reach your destination, depart your vehicle, pull out the sanitizer and sanitize your hands. It is preferred that you also wear a mask that is at least an n-95 but any dust mask will work fine. Do not use a bandana or cloth mask as some are trying. You need to remember that droplet size determines the effectiveness of a mask. If the droplets are smaller than the weave of the cloth, then you are simply making a fashion statement.
- Enter the facility. If you are using a shopping cart, sanitize the push handle with a wipe. If you don't have wipes you can put some hand sanitizer on a cloth.
- Do your shopping keeping social distancing. This is a distance of 6' or more. A good practice to get yourself used to the distance is to take a tape measure or lay two yard sticks on the floor and actually feel how the distance feels with a family member.
- The biggest and hardest thing is to try not to touch your face. This is difficult. If you have an itch, use the sleeve of a garment. If you don't have a mask and have a cough or sneeze, do it into the inside of your elbow.
- When you check out, remember that if paying with cash, money is one of the most contaminated things we handle in life other than our cell phone. (Yes....clean your phone when you can.) Bag your own groceries. If someone is bagging them, then kindly ask that they put on a new pair of gloves. Yes, tough but these are tough times. Keep the cart you used and head out to your car.
- Unlock your car but before touching the grocery bags, hand sanitize again. I would recommend having some kind of hand softener at home because we are all going to get cracked and dried out hands, and this increases our risk of contact with viruses via skin absorption with open wounds.
- Before getting in to drive, sanitize your hands along with the steering wheel.
- Once at your destination, depart your vehicle and once again sanitize your hands. Deliver the groceries keeping social distancing. The best thing you can do is drop them off with no social contact. If you decide to wear gloves that's great. Put on the gloves via the video attached and before getting back in your car remove the gloves via the proper doffing procedure and throw them away in a plastic or paper container on the floor of your vehicle that will keep all the gloves in one spot. NEVER reuse gloves once removed. NEVER!! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xueBYfElFEg
- Repeat this process on every delivery and then once you are home sanitize your hands again. If you want to wear gloves you can do so. You can keep the same gloves on as long as you sanitize the steering wheel and any door that you touch. Keep in mind that recent studies show that the COVID-19 virus can live on paper and cardboard surfaces for 24 hours after exposure. This means that if someone sneezed on a paper bag prior to you receiving it and they were COVID-19 positive, you are exposed if it's inside the 24-hour period. But...keep in mind that it's safer to use paper or plastic grocery bags from the store than using more environmentally sound grocery bags that are reusable. Yes, we are taking a small break on sustainability measures but it's for our health and the health of the general public.
I truly hope this shows you how you must change habits and learn to live your life for the short term without becoming a virus transmitter and also hyper conscious on good sanitary and containment practices.
If we all learn how to conduct good personal protection measures, we will kill off this virus sooner than later. The big thing to remember - viruses need a host. If we block them from getting a host, then we win.