Key points to keep in mind:
- COVID is spread through small droplets expelled from the nose or mouth of an infected person that land on objects and surfaces. Other people then catch COVID-19 by touching these objects or surfaces and then touching their eyes, nose, or mouth. People can also catch COVID-19 if they breathe in droplets from a person with COVID-19 who coughs out or exhales droplets. This is why it is important to stay more than 2 meters (6 feet) away from a person who is sick.
- Based on preliminary information, it appears that the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 can persist on surfaces for a few hours or up to several days. This may vary under different conditions (e.g. type of surface, temperature or humidity of the environment). If you think a surface is contaminated, clean it with a disinfectant.
- It appears that heating (cooking) will destroy the virus, but not necessarily freezing. Do not assume that putting food items in the refrigerator or freezer kills the virus particles.
- Wash your hands often (even gloved hands) with an alcohol based sanitizer (minimum 62% alcohol content) or with soap and water for at least 20 seconds being careful to clean all surfaces of your hands. This is especially important before and after touching your face, eating and drinking, and before and after touching commonly touched surfaces in public places.
- Avoid touching your eyes, mouth, or nose. Wearing a cover over your face such as a scarf or mask helps, but only if you wear it in such a way that you do not touch your face excessively (e.g. pulling the scarf or mask up and down to talk). It’s best to put it on when you leave your home, and keep it on until you return.
- If you choose to wear gloves, remember that you must treat them like your hands when it comes to frequent washing and face touching.
The best way to avoid contracting COVID-19 is to stay home and avoid all excursions unless absolutely necessary. But if you must go out, the following points will help you avoid contracting COVID-19 while on essential outings:
Grocery Shopping or Getting Gasoline
- If you have a mask (or other face cover), wear it as a reminder not to touch your face and to protect others from your cough or sneeze.
- Operate as though everything and everyone outside of your home is potentially contaminated. Keep at least 2 meters away from others at all times.
- Handle only what you need to and keep track of what you’ve touched with unclean hands while out of your home (e.g. the credit card, glasses, etc.).
- Do your best not to sit on or brush up against commonly touched public surfaces while you are out.
- Shopping cart handles and gas pumps have been shown to be potentially contaminated. Wipe them with a disinfectant before use or wear gloves that are then removed carefully and thrown away.Avoid having to rummage through pockets and purse. Have what you need (e.g. credit card) handy, don’t use your phone in stores, and check out with “Tap,” if possible.
- Use disposable bags to take items home. If you use reusable bags, put them aside for a few days after a shopping trip (to decontaminate) or wash them.
- Load the groceries into your trunk to avoid contaminating the inside of car.
- Use sanitizing wipe to clean all the surfaces you touch in your car and your hands each time you go out.
- In case you brushed up against contaminated surfaces while out, take off your outer layer of clothing immediately upon returning home. Jackets worn on outings can be left hanging at the entrance to your home for the next outing.
- Wash your hands with soap and warm water when you get home and wipe down all surfaces that may have been touched with “dirty” hands.
- After cleaning your hands, masks should be removed by the elastic loops. Avoid touching the surfaces of the mask, and leave the mask face up on a tissue for later use. Gloves should be removed with care taken not to contaminate your hands.
Receiving Groceries at Home
- Home delivery of groceries is safer than going to stores.
- Receive all deliveries outside of your door. Avoid direct hand-offs of deliveries.
- Unpack groceries onto a “not clean” surface and wipe down all items with a sanitizing wipe before putting away.
- Alternatively, non-perishable items can be left in a low-traffic area for 3 days to allow for decontamination to occur naturally.
- During unpacking, take care not to touch your face or other surfaces in your house until you have finished putting away wiped down groceries and thoroughly washed your hands.
- Empty contents into your own containers, if possible, and discard packaging.
- As much as possible, wash fruit and vegetables well with running water or soap and water before placing them on a “clean” surface.
- Wipe down the “not clean” part of the counter/table and any other surfaces you may have touched once everything has been put away.
- Wash your hands thoroughly once you are done dealing with your deliveries.