By Chris Davis Town emergency management director, Battalion chief, Charlotte Fire Department
Here are the important recommendations from the Vermont Department of Health as of 3/26/20 to help all of us deal with this challenge. Please visit the Vermont Department of Health for up-to-date information about the steps to take to keep you, your family and our community healthy.
The Health Department website has several new features, including a new section called “Ask a Question,” which allows visitors to type questions about COVID-19 in Vermont into a box. The information currently available will be provided as an answer. There are also fact sheets with COVID-19 information for health care workers, in addition to Vermonters who are awaiting test results for COVID-19, diagnosed with COVID-19, or a close contact of someone with COVID-19.
The Health Department has fact sheets translated into nine languages on its website What You Need to Know About Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19). You can also find links to translated videos created by the Spectrum Multicultural Youth Program, Howard Center and other Burlington community members. Find these at the Vermont Department of Health under “Translated Materials.”
If you have questions about COVID-19, dial 2-1-1. If you have trouble reaching 2-1-1, dial 1-866-652-4636. You can also call this number if you are ill and don’t have a regular healthcare provider and need assistance finding one in your area.
If you are ill, call your health care provider. Testing is not treatment, and not everyone needs to be tested. Do not call 2-1-1 or the Health Department about testing.
If you are sick, do not go to the hospital unless you experience shortness of breath or some other life-threatening situation.
Person-to-person spread of the virus occurs mainly via close contact with an infected person who coughs or sneezes, producing respiratory droplets, or touching surfaces that an infected person has touched or contaminated and then touching your face.
Take these everyday preventive actions to help stop the spread of germs:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Avoid touching your face, eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Practice physical distancing by staying at least six feet from others whenever possible.
- Avoid meeting in groups of more than 10 people other than your family/household pod.
- Stay at home. Outdoor exercise is OK, just follow the six-foot separation rule for others outside your family/household pod.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with your arm or a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces. A bleach-and-water solution will be fine if you do not have wipes.
Small businesses that are experiencing economic impact are urged to contact the Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development to file a survey and start a damage claim as a starting point for federal assistance.