Protecting Your Family from Novel Coronavirus in Westport, CT

Health and Fitness

March 12, 2020

As the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) looms, it's crucial to start considering a plan of action for yourself and your family in case the virus reaches Westport, CT or other areas of Connecticut.

Federal health officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases have warned citizens that with the outbreak of COVID-19 continuing to grow, signifigant spread throughout the U.S. is inevitable—with the potential to reach pandemic-levels of severity.

With the World Health Organization declaring COVID-19 a "public health emergency of international concern," the CDC has warned the country to prepare for "severe disruptions" such as school closings, suspension of public gatherings, and working from home.

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While this virus is highly contagious, you can better protect yourself and your family from illness by following these preventative measures:  

  • Avoid contact with people who are sick – Caring for or coming into contact with an individual who has tested positive for COVID-19 will greatly increase your chance of illness.
  • Stay at home if you are sick – If you are exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19, do not go to work, school or any other type of public gatherings around Westport, CT as to not get your community sick. Call your doctor if you are showing signs of the virus to figure out how to best proceed. If you are sick, do not return to work or school until you have been without fever or symptoms for several days.
  • Avoid touching your face – One of the best ways to prevent any type of illness is to avoid touching your mouth, nose, and eyes.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue (not your hands) and then dispose of the tissue – If you sneeze or cough into a tissue, be sure to dispose of it immediately.
  • Disinfect surfaces – Regularly cleaning commonly-touched surfaces with a disinfectant wipe or spray (household surfaces like countertops, doorknobs, etc.) helps to prevent the spread of the virus.
  • Only wear a face mask if you are sick – A common misconception about face masks is that they should be worn by everyone trying to prevent themselves from catching COVID-19. That is not the case. Face masks and protective gear should only be worn by those who have tested positive for the illness, health workers or anyone else who is caring for an infected individual.
  • WASH YOUR HANDS! – This one is pivotal. Wash your hands frequently—after using the bathroom, before eating, after coughing or sneezing, etc. When you do so, make sure you wash thoroughly for a full 20 seconds. If you can't wash your hands with soap and water, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer (at least 60% alcohol!).

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In addition to practicing these safety measures in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak, creating a safety kit is imperative in preparation for school, business, and work closings as well as the overwhelming of healthcare facilities throughout CT. Here are a few items to add to your safety checklist:

  • Medicine – Pain relievers, stomach remedies, cough and cold medicine, and vitamins are all good things to have (in sufficient supply) in case your family needs to isolate themselves inside the home.
  • Extra supply of prescription medication – If you or anyone in your family takes prescription medication, be sure to have a 30-90-day supply of it.
  • Several weeks-worth of canned and nonperishable foods – Stock up your home with things like canned fruits, vegetables, and soups.
  • Bottled water – Have a backup reserve of clean bottled water in case of emergency.
  • Soap, hand sanitizer, disinfectant wipes and sprays – Make sure you have an ample supply of cleaning and disinfecting products in case someone in your family becomes ill.
  • Copy of health records – Keep a copy of your family's health records in case of an emergency situation.

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While the global spread of COVID-19 is concerning, how we respond is crucial. It is important that we do not panic about the situation, but instead make sure that we put the proper preventative measures in place in case of a disruption to everyday life. Ensure your family's safety by staying prepared and informed.

For more information, please consult the following resources from the CDC: