COVID-19 cases in the Philippines have risen to a total of 64. A case of local transmission or spread of COVID-19 even without travel abroad has been confirmed and multiple deaths have been reported. Large events and gatherings have been cancelled and government offices adapted a 4-day work week. School has been suspended in multiple urban areas and Metro Manila has been placed on community quarantine.
Here’s a preliminary guide for dealing with covid in indoor spaces like homes, offices, etc.
Prepare an action plan before COVID-19 strikes at home or at the office. Everyone should be informed on what course of action will be taken if a case is confirmed. Identify high risk individuals, older people and people with previous medical conditions are especially vulnerable to being infected and suffer serious effects. Identify people who are fit to be in charge of care, too.
Get to know your neighbors and/or nearby offices and get their contact details. It is important to keep in touch and keep everyone apprised if any cases are confirmed. Gather the contact details of healthcare services and make sure a list of emergency phone numbers are available. Ask office personnel to make sure that their emergency contacts are up to date.
Even before illness strikes, practice preventative measures. During serious medical outbreaks like this, limit close contact with others and avoid crowds. Most importantly, wash hands properly and frequently. Handwash with soap and for at least 20 seconds.
Designate a quarantine room. If possible, do so with a spare bathroom as well. COVID-19 can also be spread to animals. Keep pets and other animal living areas clean and apply the same safety measures to keep them safe.
If a COVID-19 case is confirmed or highly suspected, take precautionary measures immediately. Enact your action plan. Prevent unnecessary contact with infected individuals and limit close contact with others. If you are infected or suspect you are, stay at home until further instructions from healthcare experts.
Notify healthcare authorities immediately. It is in everybody’s interest to keep the case under control. The Department of Health, local healthcare authorities, and other concerned parties will provide you with a better course of action. Stay informed on news and how to proceed with infected individuals.
Continue with preventive measures like handwashing, disinfection of workstations and frequently used objects. If you are with an infected individual or suspected case, try to use separate facilities. Use separate bathrooms or bedrooms for quarantined individuals designated in your action plan. Do not share utensils, tools, or toiletries.
There is no need to be cut off from society, you can stay in touch via phone or email. Amidst this medical emergency, it is still important to take care of emotional health especially with children. Keep them aware of the situation and help them process thoughts and feelings. Help them develop positive attitudes towards hygiene and medical processes.
If COVID-19 cases near you have been contained, continue preventive actions. Continue handwashing, and start disinfecting workstations and frequently used objects. Consult health experts if any comprehensive disinfection must be done.
Debrief everyone involved. Children need to be debriefed especially if anyone was seriously infected or lost. It helps them process thoughts and feelings and help them develop healthy attitudes towards medical procedures and professionals in the future. Adults need to be debriefed to address events and how to proceed post-infection.
And lastly, adjust your action plan. Assess and revise the action plan to help prevent future infections and improve response.
Everyone has a part to play in preventing the spread of COVID-19. No vaccine is available as of now so prevention is important. Take care even if you are in top shape. You may be fit enough to survive COVID-19 but people you get in contact with may not.