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Stay safe at home


March 20, 2020

Risk is universal

The Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a respiratory illness in people caused by a new virus. It can spread from person to person.

The virus was first identified in Wuhan, China, and has now spread to more countries including the United States. Since this is a new virus, there are still things we do not know, but we are learning more about COVID-19 each day.

Minnesota’s public health community is taking this seriously and planning for a spike in cases. Avoid assumptions about who you think may be sick. Viruses don’t discriminate.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 2019 Novel Coronavirus (

Who is at higher risk?

Early information out of China shows that some people are at higher risk of getting very sick from this illness. This includes:

• Older adults

• People who have serious chronic medical conditions like:

• Heart disease

• Diabetes

• Lung disease

Stay ready

If you are at higher risk for serious illness from COVID-19 because of your age or because you have a serious long-term health problem, it is extra important for you to reduce your risk of getting sick with the disease.

Stock up on supplies.

Take everyday precautions to keep space between yourself and others.

When you go out in public, keep away from others who are sick, limit close contact and wash your hands often.

Avoid crowds as much as possible.

Avoid cruise travel and non-essential air travel.

During a COVID-19 outbreak in your community, stay home as much as possible to further reduce your risk of being exposed.

Contact your healthcare provider to ask about obtaining extra necessary medications to have on hand in case there is an outbreak of COVID-19 in your community and you need to stay home for a prolonged period of time.

If you cannot get extra medications, consider using mail-order for medications.

Be sure you have over-the-counter medicines and medical supplies (tissues, etc.) to treat fever and other symptoms. Most people will be able to recover from COVID-19 at home.

Have enough household items and groceries on hand so that you will be prepared to stay at home for a period of time.

To the extent possible, avoid touching high-touch surfaces in public places — elevator buttons, door handles, handrails, handshaking with people, etc. Use a tissue or your sleeve to cover your hand or finger if you must touch something.

Wash your hands after touching surfaces in public places.

Avoid touching your face.

Clean and disinfect your home to remove germs: practice routine cleaning of frequently touched surfaces (for example: tables, doorknobs, light switches, handles, desks, toilets, faucets, sinks and cell phones).

Avoid crowds, especially in poorly ventilated spaces. Your risk of exposure to respiratory viruses like COVID-19 may increase in crowded, closed-in settings with little air circulation if there are people in the crowd who are sick.

Avoid all non-essential travel including plane trips, and especially avoid embarking on cruise ships.

Reduce spread

Take extra measures to put distance between yourself and other people to further reduce your risk of being exposed to this new virus.

Stay home as much as possible.

Consider ways of getting food brought to your house through family, social, or commercial networks

If a COVID-19 outbreak happens in your community, it could last for a long time. An outbreak is when a large number of people suddenly get sick. Depending on how severe the outbreak is, public health officials may recommend community actions to reduce people’s risk of being exposed. These actions can slow the spread and reduce the impact of disease.

Already, the state has mandated that schools close along with bars, restaurant and other public places.


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