Public Health: Staying home 'crucial' to limiting spread of COVID-19

As spring holidays approach and the weather warms up, 10 local health departments including Clay County Public Health, remind the public to keep distance from others.

“The number of cases of COVID-19 can go down if we stay apart. This includes staying home and avoiding all nonessential activities and contact with others,” states a joint release from the 10 health departments.

Nonessential activities mean not hosting or attending gatherings such as play dates, dinners, shopping in groups and nonessential travel.

“Physical distancing is the key,” states the release.

“We know it’s tempting to get outside with neighbors and friends when the weather is nice, but don’t assume that because you are outside you can’t transmit the virus to others or become infected yourself,” said Sanmi Areola, director of the Johnson County Department of Health and Environment in Kansas. “The virus is transmitted through respiratory droplets when you cough or sneeze. People gathering together, even in groups of less than 10, must stay at least 6 feet apart.”

Physical distancing guidelines apply both indoors and outside, said Areola.

Besides physical distancing and staying home, all Kansas City metro area health departments recommend frequent handwashing, avoiding touching of one’s face and staying away from ill people.

“While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now recommends using a homemade cloth mask or face covering when leaving home for essential activities, using a mask does not replace the need to follow these important precautions to prevent illness,” states the release.

“This is a critical time in our community. We need everyone’s help to flatten the curve so our first responders and local hospitals do not become overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients,” said Areola. “If everyone abides by the stay-home orders, we will not only reduce infection rates and the number of deaths in the community, but we will be closer to getting back to life as we know it.”