The COVID-19 outbreak calls on the our community to think creatively about how to meet everyone’s basic needs and maintain social connections while also slowing the spread of disease using social distancing practices (e.g. staying at least 6 feet away from others).
Social interaction is important to mental health, especially for older adults and young people. People who are symptom-free and do not have underlying health conditions can get together with small groups. The lower the number of people, the lower the risk of illness.
In general, avoid spending time in groups larger than 10 and crowded places like parties, malls, and movie theaters. Try using technology to communicate with family and friends. When planning activities and gatherings, consider these tips:
Keep household members home and away from others if they’re sick. Contact their healthcare provider if you have concerns.
Avoid gatherings and caring for children if you are over 60 years old, have a chronic medical condition, or are pregnant. Put your own health first.
Continue to take everyday wellness actions and teach your kids to do the same.
Spend time with others, but limit the size of groups. This can help reduce the spread of illness between multiple families in the community. Aim for no more than 10 children in one indoor care setting. Smaller groups help to lower the risk of illness.
Try to increase the distance between children by keeping gatherings small, playing games that involve fewer opportunities for touching, and reminding everyone to practice of proper hygiene habits.
Spend time outdoors. Outdoor gatherings are less risky than indoor ones because COVID-19 spreads more easily when people are close together in confined spaces. Daily time outdoors is important to children and adults alike. To apply social distancing, consider low-contact outdoor activities like walking, hiking, or bike riding. Also, frequently clean and disinfect any shared sporting equipment, especially things touched with hands like balls, bats, and playground equipment.
Talk with your doctor before gathering if you have a compromised health condition. Children and teens with chronic health issues or immune-compromising conditions should check with their healthcare provider before participating in a shared childcare arrangement or gathering.
Monitor symptoms if someone you’ve been near becomes ill. If the symptomatic person is not a confirmed case of COVID-19, there is no not need to quarantine, but you should monitor closely for symptoms. If a fever, cough, or shortness of breath develops, separate from others and call your healthcare provider.
If the symptomatic person is a confirmed COVID-19 case, anyone who had close contact with the person should quarantine for 14 days, monitor symptoms, and notify your healthcare provider if symptoms develop.
Talk with your child about COVID-19. As public conversations around COVID-19 increase, kids may worry about themselves, their family, and friends getting ill with COVID-19. Parents and other trusted adults can play an important role in helping children understand what they hear in an honest and accurate way while minimizing worry and fear. Some things to keep in mind include:
Remain calm and reassuring.
Make yourself available to listen and to talk. Be sure children know they can come to you when you have questions.
Avoid language that might blame others and lead to stigma. Remember that viruses can make anyone sick, regardless of a person’s race or ethnicity.
Consider reducing the amount of screen time focused on COVID-19.
Provide information that is truthful and appropriate for the age and developmental level for the child. The CDC has compiled “Facts about COVID-19 for discussions with children” that can be a helpful starting point.
Remind children about proper hygiene habits including washing their hands often.