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Update: As of Saturday, March 28th, the total number of COVID-19 cases has grown to over 100,000 in the United States, with an expectation of over 200,000 deaths to still come.
As of Saturday, March 14th, the number of reported cases has grown to over 100.
With the closure of our School Districts throughout the state, Social Distancing is the main topic of today. Many questions and fears are being raised because of it. What kind of testing is available? Can I still work? What will happen to small businesses? How long should we practice Social Distancing? How much should we stock up?
The honest truth is we are not sure the experts have a clear recommendation at this point of how long this will take. The general feeling is approximately two weeks, but as results change daily, those estimations can change. However, the goal is to slow the spread. If we are all mindful, we can help slow this spread and return to our everyday lives in what we hope is a shorter time frame than a longer one. It is important to note we are NOT in a quarantine state at this time. The goal is to Flatten the Curve. Right now, many questions such as college testing are simply in limbo.
Boulder County Public Health Public Service Announcement this morning:
Boulder County Public Health COVIF-19 updates:
To locate food pick up from schools:
What we do know is that Taiwan already had emergency plans in place prior to the outbreak and took swift steps to mitigate the spread. Immediately Taiwan began testing, imposing travel restrictions and practicing social distancing. Sick people were fined in Taiwan for leaving their homes. We are not yet at the point Americans are being fined for leaving their homes if sick, but strongly asking those that are sick to self regulate.
Unfortunately, the United States and the Trump administration specifically was slow to respond and the testing that was needed early on was not put in place as quickly as would have been optimal. At this point, citizens and states need to take emergency measures.
Governor Jared Polis State of Emergency is designed to follow Taiwan’s lead, which has less than 50 reported cases as of this time. Colorado is currently at 44.
While we do know that the vast majority of people (80%) will experience a mild illness if they contract COVID-19, the impacts on those over 60 and with compromised immune systems are much greater. We are practicing Social Distancing to “Flatten the Curve”, slowing the spread of the virus. Flattening the Curve will prolong the time frame, but will decrease the number of cases all at once. These measures are to protect our health and those who are most vulnerable, while not overwhelming medical infrastructure. The State is preemptively acting. Currently, Colorado has 44 reported cases with that number changing daily, and sometimes by the hour.
• If you are sick-stay home. If you have a fever-stay home. This is critical.
• Limit your public interactions, however, we are not quarantined. This is not permanent. Staying home as much as possible now will help decrease further emergency measures. We have recommendations below on how to support your community through this period of time. This is not permanent.
• Do not attend large gatherings of events.
• Do NOT rush the stores and begin hoarding. Panic buying does not help. We do not need to go into panic mode at this time. Limit your exposure is the recommended approach. Standing in long lines at crowded stores is the opposite of Social Distancing. We must still shop and supplies will be available if we only buy what we need. People need to spread out their shopping times. Every expert source warns against rushing stores to stockpile. Yes, we need to have resources on hand, but we are NOT in a quarantine state as of this time.
• Only buy what you need.
• Keep the recommended distance in public places of 5-6 feet. Many public services are remaining open, while some are closing.
• Call ahead and pick up and go. Supporting small businesses will help you avoid large crowds and help them stay afloat during this time.
• Work from home as much as possible. If working with individuals who must be in public, use technology to communicate as much as possible and give them space to do their work.
• For now, large events are being canceled and schools are closed to practice social distancing measures.
• Many pharmacies are offering delivery services as well. Check with your local provider if your medical condition qualifies.
• The incubation period is 14 days if you have been exposed to the COVID-19 virus.
• Boulder County has a robust system in place to help offer foods to low-income families in place. Reference bouldercounty.org, bvsd.org and svvsd.org to access locations to pick up food.
• Testing will take 1-2 weeks to become more readily available.
• 90% of toilet paper is made in the United States. The average person uses 100 rolls per year. We do NOT need to hoard toilet paper.
• At this time schools are scheduled to reopen April 2nd, 2020. If this changes based on new information announcements will be made.
How can I support myself if I can’t go to work?
Right now Colorado is not imposing a mass restriction on social activity, but asking people to avoid crowds as much as possible. We are still able to go to the grocery store, we do not need to do it en masse. We can still order take out and bring it home. We can talk to our tutors, therapists, landscaper, home contractors, and other service providers through video conferencing. We can order take out, we can wait a few days to return items. We are practicing Social Distancing NOT a quarantine.
How can I support my local businesses if I should stay home?
• Order ahead and pick and go.
• Shop locally-smaller businesses will have fewer people to interact with and easier to practice a 6-foot distance.
• Smaller stores are easier to keep clean.
• Local stores tend to buy more locally and many support local craftsmen.
• Support your local economy by shopping locally.
• Buy gift certificates to help them keep the cash flow going during the upcoming weeks. You can use them when the trajectory is declining.
As always wash your hands for 20 seconds, cover your mouth if coughing with your sleeve, stay home if sick.