Coronavirus, Flu and the Common Cold Some Implications for the Cupboard, March 2020

Currently there is no need for panic.  However, to be on the safe side, we want you to know that the Board is developing a plan for operating the Cupboard should Covid-19 be reported in southeastern PA.

Some basic background:  As far as we know the Coronavirus (Covid-19) while contagious is so far not as
deadly as other outbreaks. Older people and those with underlying medical problems, and particularly smokers, seem to be at higher risk.  Currently, living as we do in the US, the risk of getting the virus remains very low, but public health officials say there will likely be more outbreaks here, and we are already seeing these occur in other states.

Compared to prior outbreaks of novel viruses, this virus appears less deadly. The flu causes more than 12,000 deaths a year in the U.S.  An annual vaccine is the most effective way to prevent flu, but there are other strategies to prevent it. So far, there’s no vaccine against the new coronavirus, but some of the same strategies to prevent flu can also protect against it.

So this is a good time to go over some of the basic strategies that prevent flu and the common cold, as well as potentially a more serious virus.

Sensible strategies we should be adopting now:

Volunteers:

  • If a volunteer (or anyone in their household) feels any indication of illness before their shift, they should stay home and let their Lead know their status. And try to avoid close contact with people who are sick
  • Volunteers should wash hands thoroughly when they arrive at the Cupboard and as often thereafter as possible during their shift. (https://www.cdc.gov/handwashing/when-how-handwashing.html)
  • All volunteers should remember to cough/sneeze into their sleeve or a tissue, and throw the tissue in the trash, and avoid touching their eyes, nose and mouth.

In the Cupboard:

  • We have installed hand sanitizers in the client waiting room and elsewhere in the Cupboard, and soap dispensers in both bathrooms.
  • Medicated wipes are located by the carts and should be used to wipe the cart handles for each new client.
  • We will regularly clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces such as client  refrigerator/freezer door handles and waiting room chairs using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
  • We will post information in the client waiting room advocating good hand washing and other flu prevention tips.

*Information taken from https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html
and https://www.health.pa.gov/topics/disease/Pages/Coronavirus.aspx