This week the three of us in the Southwest Texas Junior College Library here in Del Rio have been operating in a continual state of uncertainty. Each day brought a new level of concern over how to protect ourselves from coronavirus while providing library service to our students.
Today (Thursday) I read an informative article, “Deciding How Much Distance You Should Keep,” in the New York Times by Tara Parker Pope. (Plagiarism alert: most of these words are hers.) I have not seen the coronavirus options of protection described so well in this newspaper yet. Therefore, let me share her information:
Social Distancing – Create physical distance between people who don’t live together. Limit close contact, indoors and outdoors, to family members only. Everyone should do this – now!
Shelter in Place – Just stay home. Don’t leave the house unless you absolutely have to – groceries or prescriptions. People with essential jobs can go to work. Maintain that six-foot distance from others. Don’t socialize with people outside your family. Avoid face-to-face contact in close up and confined spaces. Everyone should voluntarily shelter in place to prevent the virus from spreading. (Just this evening, I heard that California has issued a state-wide “Stay at Home” order.)
Self-Monitoring – This is for those who learn they might have been exposed to the virus but had only distant contact with the infected person. Regularly check your temperature and watch for signs of infection, including fever, shortness of breath, and coughing. Stay home and limit interactions with others.
Self-Quarantine – This is for those who are well but had close contact with a person who later became ill with the virus. Quarantine means staying home and away from other people, including those in your household, as much as possible, for a 14-day quarantine period. Sleep in a separate space from family members.
Self-Isolation – Separate yourself if you have a diagnosed case or have the distinct symptoms of coughing, shortness of breath, and fever, but have not been tested yet or received the test results.
Confine yourself to a separate room with minimal contact with the rest of the household (including pets). Everyone else in the household should self-quarantine.
Official or Mandatory Quarantine – We have not seen this in the United States, yet. However, we are hearing threats of government-imposed lockdown on a community in which movements are severely restricted (as has happened in Italy).
People can still go out for essentials and to get fresh air, but they can do so only under strictly controlled conditions or on a specific schedule by public safety officials.
How are you living your life today to protect yourself and those you love from contracting and/or spreading the coronavirus? Please, don’t stand so close to me.
Willie Braudaway strives to make life better as a librarian, genealogist, and member of various community organizations.
Contact her at email@example.com.