The Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) situation in the Commonwealth of Kentucky is rapidly evolving. However, local and state public health officials are actively monitoring and preparing in order to promptly respond to cases. Monroe County Health Department is in constant contact with the Kentucky Department for Public Health (KYDPH) for daily updates related to COVID-19. The health department’s role in any reportable disease is to provide protection and prevention. The following non-pharmaceutical intervention strategies are recommended to prevent the transmission of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). Currently, there is no vaccine available to prevent coronavirus disease and CDC states that “the best way to prevent illness is to avoid exposure.” Preventive measures include:
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick with fever, coughing, sneezing, and difficulty breathing. To avoid close contact, stay at least six feet away from others.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash. To avoid coughing into your hands, you can cough into your elbow.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for “at least 20 seconds”, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
- If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.
The following community prevention measures are recommended to prevent the transmission of COVID-19:
- Practice social distancing (6 feet away). The Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) guidance as of 3/15/2020, in accordance with its guidance for large events and mass gatherings, recommends that for the next eight weeks, organizers (whether groups or individuals) cancel or postpone in-person events that consist of 50 people or more throughout the United States.
- Urge businesses to allow employees to tele-commute and to provide paid sick leave.
- Spread out during meetings by increasing the distance between seats and other similar actions.
- Implement environmental surface cleaning measures in homes, businesses, and other locations, including frequently touched surfaces and objects, i.e., tables, doorknobs, toys, desks, and computer keyboards. Use regular household cleaning spray or wipes as recommended by CDC.
People at Higher Risk for COVID-19 Complications Adults over 60 and people who have severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease seem to be at higher risk for more serious COVID-19 illness. If you are at increased risk for COVID-19, it is especially important for you to take the following actions to reduce your risk of exposure:
- Stay at home as much as possible.
- Make sure you have access to several weeks of medications and supplies in case you need to stay home for prolonged periods of time.
- When you go out in public, keep away from others who are sick, limit close contact (six feet away) and wash your hands often.
- Avoid crowds.