As COVID-19 spreads, experts indicate many people will not have or exhibit serious symptoms even if they contract the disease. However, there are two groups of people who are especially at risk, the elderly and those with chronic medical conditions.

Older adults and people who have serious underlying chronic medical conditions like heart or lung disease or diabetes seem to be at higher risk for developing more serious complications from COVID-19 illness.

These are extraordinary times that require diligent measures to deal with a health risk that affects all of us. Gentle Shepherd Hospice has put in place infection control and prevention measures to keep our staff and those we care for safe. In addition, we are closely monitoring and practicing the guidelines recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC), daily. Our staff are trained and tested on infection control policies and procedures, which include the appropriate CDC guidelines for transmission-based precautions and proper use of personal protective equipment. We remain committed to our patients and our health care partners.

There is currently no vaccine to prevent COVID-19. The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus. The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person when in close contact with one another (within about six 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.

If you are caring for a loved one who is elderly or has a chronic or terminal illness, please follow the CDC’s recommended precautions to avoid catching or spreading COVID-19.

Take Steps to Protect Yourself & Others

  • Avoid close contact with sick people.
  • Stay home if you’re sick. Learn what to do if you are sick.
  • Cover coughs and sneezes. Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or use the inside of your elbow when you cough or sneeze. Throw used tissues in the trash right after use and wash your hands immediately.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing.
  • If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily. This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets and sinks. If surfaces are dirty, clean them. Use detergent or soap and water prior to disinfection.
  • Practice social distancing. This means limiting possible exposure to the virus by reducing face-to-face contact with other people. This will help prevent spread to others in the community. Avoid public gatherings, large gatherings, sporting events, concerts and airports. The virus can pass from person to person when people are in close quarters. Avoid close contact with other people who are sick. No handshaking (better to wave, nod, etc.). Postpone or cancel social events, especially for those in high-risk groups.

Health officials are urging citizens not to panic but to prepare. We can all take preventive measures to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 in our communities. If you have questions about how to further protect yourself or a loved one, consult with your health care provider or visit the CDC website.

This information is shared with permission.

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