The response to Coronavirus at Sharon Towers

The Coronavirus (COVID-19) Response at Sharon Towers

Home » About Us » The Coronavirus (COVID-19) Response at Sharon Towers

We have set up this page as a source of online information for our residents and their families as well as the community at large as we address concerns about the coronavirus (COVID-19) at Sharon Towers. We urge you to check this page regularly for updates as conditions change.

At Sharon Towers, the health and well-being of our residents, employees and visitors is our primary concern. Because of the type of care many of our residents receive, residents and employees are often in close proximity, making the potential spread of infectious disease a constant concern.

Anyone wishing to receive updates is encouraged to use the blue button on this page to sign up

Information Sources Guiding Our Response to COVID-19

Addressing communicable diseases is a fundamental part of our Emergency Response Plan (ERP). As new and specific threats emerge from the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), we use the foundation of our ERP to address the specific dangers and constantly evolve our tactics as new data become available.

We are also gathering specific information on the evolution of the outbreak from a variety of trusted public health sources. These include:

  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
  • The World Health Organization (WHO)
  • The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid (CMS)
  • North Carolina Department of Health & Human Services (NCDHHS)

Current Status

Please see below for the latest information. Note that we have indicated the date the information was updated in each section.

How do you communicate with residents about processes and procedures during this time? (Updated 6/29/20)
Residents are notified in writing about procedures. Family members who wish to receive copies of correspondence to residents may contact Angela Rigsbee via email.

What is the process if a case of COVID-19, the illness resulting from the novel coronavirus, is diagnosed in a resident or staff member?
Any individual testing positive will be isolated in the appropriate setting (i.e., at home, in the hospital, etc.) Public health officials will be contacted as well as anyone determined to be in close contact with the person testing positive. Staff, residents and our Board of Directors will receive written notification.

Have you had any cases of COVID-19? (Updated 11/19/20)

Given that stay-at-home restrictions in North Carolina were going to be relaxed over time, we began proactive work during the spring to separate staff who work in our licensed health care areas from that of the independent living areas. Prior to 5/22/20, we had experienced just a single positive case of COVID-19 (in independent living only), and for more than 40 days following that, all administered tests had been returned to us as COVID-19 negative.

On 5/22/20, we detected a case of COVID-19 in a team member who works in the licensed Health Care and Assisted Living areas and suspected other cases, so we began an aggressive initiative to test all of the residents and team members in this section of the campus as the test kits could be made available to us. At that time, this required procuring difficult-to-get kits and testing more than 200 staff and residents working and living in these parts of the community.

We knew this was the best possible way to determine if there were also positive, but asymptomatic individuals. Not all who are infected show symptoms, and if they eventually do, it can be days after they have already been contagious. Knowing who tests positive is a powerful tool. That knowledge allows for isolating anyone testing positive to reduce exposure to those who did not test positive.

An understandable byproduct of more testing is an increased number of positive tests. Based on available data of both prevalence of COVID-19 in the population as well as the test-positivity rate for those who have been administered the tests, it’s likely that more tests mean more diagnosed cases. As these batches of test results were reported to us, we found this to be true. We share the results of testing on this page only after the family members of positive individuals have been contacted.

On 5/30/20, we received all of the resident test results and team member results from a first round of testing. Following completion of approximately 200 tests, round one results confirmed a total of five cases in team members and 14 cases in residents, the majority of whom were asymptomatic.

Our greater goal became to repeat these tests in one week, then weekly after that for the near future, as we feel the best way to identify and eliminate the virus from our licensed areas is to retest those residents and team members who tested negative in the previous round. Since May, Sharon Towers has conducted regular testing in licensed Health Care areas. In addition, we continue to monitor residents and staff and initiate testing for anyone who develops symptoms prior to the next scheduled round of testing.

Recognizing that each planned phase of easing COVID-19 restrictions in the state would require a new level of vigilance, Sharon Towers implemented a wider testing initiative during the summer. Prior to the onset of North Carolina’s loosening of restrictions to Phase 2.5 that became effective on 9/4/20, we began testing close-contact independent living staff positions, hoping to identify as many pre-symptomatic and asymptomatic individuals as possible.

Since Sharon Towers had anticipated that the percentage of positive cases measured in North Carolina would likely increase with fewer restrictions and the onset of cooler weather, this initiative proved invaluable in identifying numerous early cases once North Carolina moved from Phase 2.5 to Phase 3 of easing COVID-19 restrictions on 10/2/20.

Thus far in November, one new positive case has been identified in a resident, and one new positive case has been identified in a staff member. Some promising advances in testing and vaccines have recently been announced, and we look forward to the day that they have a significant impact on dealing with COVID-19.

What follow up information will you release about the status of any cases (i.e., recovered, hospitalized, deceased)?
Sharon Towers strives to be as transparent as possible. However, HIPAA and state privacy laws require that we maintain an individual’s medical privacy both during a person’s stay or term of employment and after a person passes away or is no longer employed by Sharon Towers. Accordingly, Sharon Towers does not release information regarding its residents and staff unless otherwise permitted under HIPAA and state privacy laws.

General Access (Updated 11/19/20)

Governor Cooper announced that North Carolina’s Phase 3 COVID-19 restrictions would continue through Friday, December 4. As with the previous two phases, Sharon Towers observed how the easing of restrictions impacted community spread. We also closely monitor the county positivity rate.

Residents must wear a covering over the face when outside of their residence. If residents are walking outside, we ask that they please carry masks with them in the event they come near another person. If a resident does not have a mask, scarf, bandana or anything that would work for this, we ask that they call Vivian at extension 3801 to request a mask.

  • Person-to-person transmission is by far the greatest risk of transmission.
  • Social distancing is critically important.

As of October 21, Independent living residents no longer need to quarantine after attending off-campus activities such as going to a restaurant, visiting with family, visiting a community salon, etc. as long as they wear a mask and practice the proper social distancing requirements for these venues. We encourage residents to visit stores during senior hours or at times when they are less crowded. We ask that residents please follow the safety instructions of their providers. Sharon Towers can provide transportation to medical appointments.

We are still highly encouraging residents to stay on campus and utilize the services offered by Sharon Towers. We have put plans in place that prevent ANY resident from needing to leave our campus. We have gone to great lengths to bring services to the residents during this time. Each time a resident leaves and comes back they are putting everyone at risk. At this point, with COVID-19 in Charlotte, each of us should assume that everyone we come in contact with could be carrying the virus. If a resident decides to leave campus, we ask that he or she be transparent with friends and neighbors on campus. While all are still required to wear a mask on campus, some people may not be comfortable being around the resident if he or she has been in contact with others. We also ask that, if the resident is notified that a location he or she has visited has a positive case of COVID that they contact Angela Rigsbee to discuss the exposure. We ask that all residents keep doors to their residences closed.

Visitation (Updated 11/19/20)

Visits to independent living residents only, from family and friends. Independent Living residents may visit either inside their private residence, or outside on the grounds, with their family members or friends. OUTDOOR VISITATION REMAINS PREFERRED AND ENCOURAGED.

Outdoor Visitation

Everyone must practice social distancing of at least six feet, limit groups to six or fewer and wear a mask. There cannot be any physical contact during these visits. Residents may meet outdoors on campus any place they choose, or on the patio of their cottage. We also created a covered visiting area in the South Terrace Parking deck. Residents and visitors should be sure to read the signage and follow the guidelines posted.

Indoor Visitation

These guidelines must be followed for independent living indoor visitation:

  1. Each residence is limited to two (2) visitors, two (2) times per week for 30 minutes. By limiting the number of visitors, frequency, and amount of time of the visit, residents reduce their amount of exposure, thereby reducing the risk of contracting the virus.
  2. Visits can occur any day of the week between the hours of 9:00 am – 2:00 pm and 4:00 pm – 6:00 pm.
  3. All guests must wear a mask to the screening station and during their entire visit. Residents must wear their mask during the entire visit inside the residence.
  4. Residents must meet their guests at the screening station and escort them directly to the residence. When the visit is complete, residents must escort their guests out of the building. At no time should visitors be unaccompanied in common areas.
  5. Visitors may not use any common area restrooms or be unaccompanied at any time while in the building.
  6. Visitors are only permitted in residents’ homes. No visitors or group gatherings will be permitted in our indoor common spaces.
  7. For residents living in a first-floor apartment, and whose guest can enter through their patio entrance safely, we ask that they do so to minimize the number of individuals walking through our hallways.
  8. Residents should consider keeping a list of visitors. This will help with contact tracing if someone becomes sick.
  9. We advise residents to continue to keep at least 6 feet between themselves and others. The face cover is not a substitute for social distancing.
  10. Residents should arrange tables and chairs to allow for social distancing from their guests.
  11. Residents should avoid close contact with their visitors. For example, do not shake hands, elbow bump, or hug. Instead, we encourage residents to wave and verbally greet them.
  12. We advise residents to wash their hands after any visit with soap and water for at least 20 seconds and if soap and water are not available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. People should not visit if they had contact with someone diagnosed with COVID-19 or someone who had symptoms of COVID-19 within the past 14 days.
  13. If a resident has a visitor who begins to feel unwell within 48 hours of their visit, we ask them to please notify Angela Rigsbee or Chanel Jenkins.

    Visits to healthcare and assisted living. In order for visitation to occur, core principles and best practices that reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission must be followed. Visitations take place when there have been no new COVID-19 cases during the previous 14 days, and we offer window, outdoor (weather permitting), or indoor visitation when that amount of time passes between the onset of new cases. At times when visits can take place, it is recommended that visits occur outdoors whenever possible. Healthcare and Assisted Living residents and families work directly with the staff in these licensed areas when arranging visitation.

    Visits for medical transportation. Sharon Towers can provide transportation to medical appointments. If a resident needs a family member to take them to a medical appointment, the family member must be screened at our front entrance. The resident must sit in the back seat of the car, and only two people can be in the car. Both the resident and the family member must wear a mask.

    Screening (Updated 11/19/20)

    • All staff and visitors must wear a mask. As of 11/16/20, all staff is required to wear eye protection.
    • Families and friends visiting independent living residents indoors on campus MUST BE screened at the Main (East) Entrance.
    • Families and friends visiting independent living residents outdoors on campus do not need to be screened at the Main (East) Entrance.
    • Family and friends should not visit if they have any signs or symptoms of COVID-19 or have been around groups of people.
    • All essential staff and outside caregivers will be screened before entering the building, including temperature.
    • All staff must continue to enter through the Main (East) Entrance.
    • Only essential outside vendor services will be allowed and will approved by COO. All loading dock deliveries are being left on the loading dock.

    Construction (Updated 10/1/20)

    Independent Living Apartment Renovations

    We have received guidance from the Department of Health Service Regulation that construction may occur on CCRC campuses with adherence to CDC guidance and screening protocols. We have met with Ross Allen and developed strict protocols for construction workers to resume the renovation of vacant apartments within the independent living areas of our campus.

    All construction workers are screened at the main entrance and must wear a mask at all times when inside common spaces of any building. The construction workers enter the building at the entrance agreed upon by Facilities, which varies based on the location of the apartment. All workers use the stairwells to come and go from the apartments being renovated.

    Workers use the elevators only for the delivery of supplies. Staff designates one elevator for use by the contractors, which is locked from resident use while the workers are present. The elevator is sanitized by housekeeping before it is unlocked for resident use.

    Prior to the East Tower and West Tower apartments being renovated, all air returns are disconnected and covered. Air scrubbers are installed in the apartment with the ducting of air out of the facility to create a negative pressure situation. (This is not necessary in other areas of the building due to separate HVAC units for each apartment.) Whenever possible, temporary plastic walls (with a zipper) are installed in resident hallways to separate the apartment being renovated from the common space and entry doors of other IL apartments.

    Public restrooms located on floors of apartments being renovated are locked as workers will use outside portable restrooms. At no time will construction workers enter the Health Care or Assisted Living units or interact with any residents.

    We want to assure everyone that we continue to have the best interest of their health and safety in mind as we take these added precautions with renovations.

    Phase I Construction Update and Ring Road Closures (11/19/20)

    The ring road around the physical plant is open. It is now possible to get anywhere on campus from either the main entrance or the service entrance.

    Removal of the north face of the healthcare building began the week of August 10. Construction in the former Bistro and Dining areas resumed from the exterior side of the main building only. This area has been sealed off and can only be accessed by construction crews on the exterior.

    The restroom across from the mail alcove has been closed and will remain so until the completion of the construction project. The restrooms down the South Wing outside of Hunter Hall remain open.

    The large tree and container in the middle of Harkey Terrace has been removed. We consulted with an expert to try to save this tree, however it had a fungus and gloomy scale. The area has been repainted.

    Dining Services (Updated 11/19/20)

    Dining in Hunter Hall for independent living residents resumed on Monday, November 9. Reservations are required and two households may sit at each table (two individuals, or two couples, or a couple plus an individual). There are two seatings for each meal. The Friday meal will continue to be delivered to individual residences, as Hunter Hall is closed on Fridays. Residents may dial 1165 to make a reservation, or use this link.

    Meals delivery remains in place for residents who do not wish to dine in Hunter Hall. The coffee/beverage station is open and is located just beyond the Lemon Tree Shop.

    Charlotte Mecklenburg has advised us that all dining take-out containers (regardless of the number on the bottom of the container) are trash. Please do not place any food containers in the recycle bins.

    Allison’s To Go (Updated 6/6/20)

    We know many miss coming to Allison’s for fine dining. Residents and staff can now order meal kits from Allison’s fine dining menu. Our chefs cook meals to the appropriate temperature, then package each one using a Cryovacking technique that allows for the rest of the cooking process to be finished at home. Numerous entrée options with sides are available, such as Salmon, Filet Mignon, and Lamb Chops. Three entrée salad choices and appetizers are also available. Residents may pair meals with wine upon request.

    Grocery Shopping Requests/Orders (Updated 11/19/20)

    We continue to make Sharon Towers’ vendors available for most resident needs.

    Residents have a list of over 50 items that Sharon Towers can order for them. Residents may use the automated ordering link, complete the form and leave it outside of their residence or email it. Completed forms will be picked up daily during meal delivery times.

    Once residents began visiting grocery stores again, the need for our assistance with off-site banking and grocery pick-up declined. We continue to offer this service once per week on Tuesdays. For more information,  please contact Jessie Velasquez at 704-553-3712 or email her.

    Menu Ordering

    Ambassadors no longer take menu orders, although they continue to call residents who still wish to be contacted, for health checks. Dining has introduced an ordering system. Residents receive a weekly menu every Thursday, and can submit meal orders by either 1) using an on-line link to place the meal order electronically or 2) circling choices on the paper menu and leaving it outside the residence door for next day pickup by dining services. If dining has not received an online order or the completed paper form by Friday, a dining services employee calls to take the menu order. Residents should call Lyndsey or Patrick at extension 3232 for questions or assistance.

    Meal Delivery

    • Independent living. Meal delivery will be left at each resident’s door. Staff will ring the doorbell one time and leave the bag outside the door.
      • Breakfast will be delivered between 7:30 a.m. – 9:00 a.m.
      • Lunch will be delivered between 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
      • Dinner will be delivered between 4:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.
    • Health Care and Assisted Living Residents
      • Meals will occur on a normal schedule.

    Fitness Center and Aquatics Center (Updated 11/19/20)

    The Fitness Center is closed to individual use until further notice.

    The pool is open seven days a week. We continue to provide staffed open swim on Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings for those that feel more comfortable with a staff person nearby. All other appointments are unstaffed. These time slots are clearly designated in LifeLoop and residents must continue to sign up for pool time.

    Due to social distancing guidelines, no more than two people are allowed in the pool area at any time. We ask that residents not use the hot tub unless there is another person in the pool area. Emergency pendants must be worn when in the pool and pool area. As the locker rooms are closed for infection control purposes, we ask that residents come ready to swim. Restrooms are available outside of the Fitness Center. Residents should contact Jessica at extension 3812 with any questions.

    Group Activities and Events (Updated 6/6/20)

    With the exception of vitality & wellness programs for independent living residents described in the vitality & wellness section further below, group activities remain cancelled.

    We ask residents to practice social distancing even though they are on campus. This is very important. We ask that they please keep traffic through the buildings to a minimum and not congregate in common spaces. Residents may enjoy use of the four outdoor benches at the east entrance. These benches are adequately spaced for socially distanced visits with other residents.

    We strongly recommend the following:

    • Residents should not gather together on their own for meals, parties or social time.
    • Residents should not play card games with others. Sharing cards can spread the virus.

    Housekeeping Services (Updated 11/19/20)

    • Independent living
      • Housekeeping services resumed on a weekly basis (for those who wished to do so) in October. The same pair of housekeepers cleans the residences. When they arrive we ask residents to wear a mask and wait in another room of the residence or in a common area nearby while they work. The Housekeeping Department will be in touch with residents regarding cleaning day and time.
    • Health Care and Assisted Living Residents
      • Housekeeping will occur on a normal schedule.

    Maintenance

    Only emergency maintenance requests will be completed. These will be prioritized.

    Miscellaneous Information

    Beauty Salon/Barber Services (Updated 11/19/20)

    We selected the firm PS Salon & Spa to operate Beauty Salon Services. The salon accommodates men’s and women’s hair as well as manicure and pedicure services. Payment for salon services will be though credit card only, so these authorization forms must be completed prior to a resident’s first appointment. Residents planning to use PS Salons may pick up a credit card authorization form at the front desk.

    Please also note, the stylists operate as a contractor to Sharon Towers and are not employees, therefore tipping is allowed.

    Car Owners

    Any resident who has not started their vehicle in several days or weeks and would like our Facilities team to do this for them should call Christine at extension 3805.

    Charlotte Water (Updated 9/2/20)

    During Anne Moffat’s CHAT she went into great detail about our commitment to Charlotte Water to educate residents on what is and is not appropriate to put down pipes and drains. A resident suggested a helpful hint for wipes which was to place them in a Ziploc bag after use and discard. We appreciate the residents’ hard work on this initiative.

    East Elevators (Updated 7/30/20)

    The East Elevators are being remodeled. During the process, one cab will be worked on at a time. It will take approximately 6 weeks to modernize each cab. When completed, the elevators will be faster and less likely to go out of service. Parts for this project will be stored on 6th floor East during this time. There will still be space for emergency egress.

    Lemon Tree (Updated 7/30/20)

    The Lemon Tree is under new management and open as of Monday, August 3. The shop will be open Monday through Friday from 10:00 am – 3:00 pm. Residents must be wearing a mask prior to and upon entering the store, and only one customer at a time is permitted in the shop.

    Library (Updated 7/30/20)

    The Library Committee has implemented a new procedure for residents who borrow books. There is a new sign-out clipboard for residents on the library desk. Residents should sign out each book they borrow and check the book back in when it is returned.

    Main Entrance Road (Updated 6/19/20)

    Please do not use the main entrance as a way to walk onto our campus as it is too dangerous. Instead, please use the new sidewalk that leads from Sharon Road to the north side of the parking deck. This takes you to the east side of the South Terrace, very close to our main entrance.

    Monthly Statements (Updated 5/21/20)

    All questions related to residents’ monthly bill should be addressed to Rachel Burr at extension 3226 or email her.

    Plants in Common Areas (Updated 5/14/20)

    We have several indoor plants located throughout the first floor of the main building that are being overwatered. We appreciate all of our helpers but have set up a schedule to water these properly. Please do not water the common area plants.

    Pool tables (Updated 8/25/20)

    The two pool tables in the West Lobby are now located in the lobby of the 6th Floor West Tower.

    Resident Chat with CEO (Updated 7/30/20)

    Check Sharon Towers’ channel 1394 for the date and time of CEO Anne Moffat’s next CHAT.

    Scams

    Unfortunately, during times like this, scams are rampant. We ask that residents be overly cautious with phone calls requesting any personal information or bank information. Residents should never have a legitimate request from the IRS, Medicare or any other agency over the phone. All communication from legitimate organizations will come in the mail.

    Staff Dress Code

    We have relaxed the staff dress code at this time. This will allow our staff to wear more washable clothing during this time.

    Packages and Mail

    There is research about how long the virus “lives” on a surface, but we do not really know how that relates to infections. In other words, just because virus cells may exist on a surface many hours or days, it is not proven that these cells are still capable of infecting people. Yes, we are worried about transmission from touching surfaces, but the bigger concern is being in close proximity with someone who is COVID-19 positive (for example, household contacts).

    Many package delivery carriers and postal service workers are being cautious. Residents will see a lot of gloves when carriers are touching packages. If residents are concerned about mail or packages, we suggest that they leave mail for a day or two before opening or leave a package unopened until tomorrow if they don’t absolutely need the item today. Again, we are much more worried about person-to person transmission than about exposure from packages.

    Pet Services

    Pet Supply Plus is available to deliver dog or cat food for residents’ pets at this time. Residents should email Justin Young with their order and contact phone number for payment information. Residents can also place an online order at www.petsuppliesplus.com, noting “Sharon Towers” in the Notes section.

    Physician Visits/Outpatient Services (Updated 6/6/20)

    Medical appointments are being scheduled. Residents should contact their doctor’s office to discuss. When residents leave campus for a medical appointment, they do not have to ask for permission to go or quarantine when they return. We ask that residents please wear a mask and follow the safety instructions of their provider.

    Both systems have bolstered their virtual visit and e-visit capabilities. Residents should use these services whenever possible. Here are links:

    Medical Transportation

    As medical providers in the community resumed appointments, our medical transportation requests increased. Please contact Michael Jordan at ext. 3702 to check transportation availability as we are only able to transport one resident at a time and allow for cleaning of the vehicle in between. We ask that residents please remember to wear their masks.

    Physician’s Clinic and Wellness Clinic (Updated 8/25/20)

    As we continue to monitor the COVID-19 Pandemic and its impact on our community, we are working diligently to keep safety of all residents and staff in mind.

    • Patients of Dr. Caprio. Clinic nursing staff are scheduling clinic appointments. Dr. Caprio and Kristen are also offering a brief phone visit in place of an in-office visit. This visit will be submitted to the resident’s insurance company as though the resident were seen face-to-face in the clinic. Appointments may also be rescheduled to a later date if the resident is healthy and has no medical concerns.
    • Wellness Clinic. Unless a resident is having a true medical emergency, we urge them to call the Wellness Clinic at extension 3227 with any health concerns. We do not want them to visit the Emergency Department or Urgent Care without guidance from a nurse.
    • Testing. In an ideal world, it would be wonderful to test everyone. However, the availability of tests is limited. Therefore, medical staff is unable to test residents unless they have symptoms and are unable to self- isolate. That is why it is important for residents to contact our wellness clinic so they may receive guidance from their physician – before they leave their apartment.

    Shuttle Service (Updated 11/19/20)

    Shuttle service resumed (on a trial basis) on Monday, November 9. The shuttle runs from 11 am – 7 pm Monday through Saturday and capacity is limited to no more than three households at a time. Masks must be worn and riders will be directed to use hand sanitizer upon entering the bus. Touch points on the bus are being sanitized between rides. To call for pick-up, residents should contact the driver directly.

    Therapy Services

    Each day at Sharon Towers we are evaluating the COVID-19 situation. Non-essential therapy appointments have been put on hold.

    Vitality & Well-Being (Updated 6/22/20)

    The Vitality Team will began a gradual resumption of group activities (no fitness programs) for independent living residents only on June 8th. We must continue to follow strict guidelines for this re-opening to be a success:

    • Residents will be screened before entering.
    • Staff will thoroughly clean tables and chairs before and after each group.
    • Groups will be limited to 30 minutes.
    • Groups will be limited to eight (8) people in Harris Towne Center and four (4) people in the Chapel.
    • Residents must maintain social distance and wear a mask.

    To attend groups, residents must pre-register on LifeLoop. Tech Support will be offered Wednesdays at 2:00 p.m. to assist with LifeLoop registration. Residents may also call Jessie at 3712 or Carmen at 3718 if access to that technology is not available. We expect that groups will fill up fast. So, mastering LifeLoop will be to all residents’ advantage.

    Some groups will have both an in-person and a virtual option. We will continue to have the current programming on STTV – Channel 1394. We have also increased our virtual options with a new Live Bingo Game on the TV and a Saturday Night Zoom Happy Hour. A new calendar will be sent to residents each week as we make updates and changes.

    For More Information

    Please share this information with your friends and family. This web page is a key source of information and you may sign up to receive information as new updates are posted using the blue “SIGN UP FOR UPDATES” button. Please encourage your friends and family to visit our website for up-to-date information.

    We all have a responsibility to support and protect each other. Please feel free to contact Angela Rigsbee with any questions or concerns at 704-553-1670 or via email.

    Everyone can prepare for COVID-19 as they do for many of the easily transmissible diseases and viruses we prepare for every day in our communities–by practicing everyday preventive actions now:

    • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Always wash your hands with soap and water if your hands are visibly dirty.
    • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
    • Stay home when you are sick.
    • Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue.
    • Clean frequently touched surfaces and objects daily (e.g., tables, countertops, light switches, doorknobs, and cabinet handles) using regular household detergent and water.

    These preparations will protect not only you, but also the other members of this community. We all have a responsibility to support and protect each other.