The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provided guidelines on how to be “household-ready” in the case there is a COVID-19 outbreak in a community.
As of Tuesday, there have been no confirmed cases of the virus in the Santa Clarita Valley; however, there are 20 confirmed cases of the virus in Los Angeles County, according to Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer.
Of the 20 cases, one case has an unidentified source of exposure, which is the county’s first case of community transmission.
As confirmed cases of the virus rise, the CDC has recommended communities make a household plan of action to prepare for the possibility of an outbreak.
What is an outbreak?
An outbreak is an epidemic, except it refers to a more limited geographic area, a CDC news release said.
“Epidemic refers to an increase, often sudden, in the number of cases of a disease above what is normally expected in that population in that area,” the release added.
The disease becomes a pandemic once the disease begins to affect a wide range of people throughout different countries and continents. On Wednesday morning, The World Health Organization declared the coronavirus outbreak as a pandemic.
Meet needs of individuals in household plan
Members included in the household plan will all have different needs. Communicating these needs is essential in creating an effective household plan for everyone in the household.
For example, individuals with an underlying chronic medical condition may be at risk for more serious complications from the disease. Public health officials suggest higher-risk patients consult with their health care provider for more information on how to monitor their symptoms.
In addition, the CDC suggests that families designate a room in the home that could be used to separate sick members of the family apart from healthy members.
Practicing preventive actions
On an everyday basis, individuals should be practicing everyday preventive actions. Individuals can protect themselves from the disease by avoiding close contact with sick people and staying home if you’re sick.
“Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands; clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe; wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds; and cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue,” according to a Los Angeles County Public Health news release.
County officials suggest that individuals keep their homes stocked with hand washing soap and tissues. Individuals should continue practicing these steps to protect themselves and help slow the spread of the virus.
Prepare for closures and telework options for workers
If an outbreak does occur, the community could expect school closures and changes in the workplace.
These dismissals would be recommended to help slow the spread of illness, according to a county public health news release.
With this in mind, individuals should begin preparing for alternative child care if school is dismissed. Additionally, employees should begin discussing sick-leave policies and work-from-home options with their employers.
“Stay home when you are sick,” said the CDC website, “except to get medical care.”