Be aware: COVID is still with us, precautions needed

Published 11:02 am Friday, July 21, 2023

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The COVID-19 emergency is over, but the virus is still with us. There are cases in our hospitals, local nursing homes, and everywhere we look. It is still possible to catch and spread COVID-19, even if you are fully vaccinated.
And, with school scheduled to begin in just days, there will be more outbreaks. New sub-variants are causing concern for their increased transmissibility and ability to evade some antibodies. The Tennessee Department of Health advises that the same tools used a year go to curtail the spread of COVID still work today – such as practicing hand hygiene, consistently and correctly wearing a high-quality mask, improving ventilation, and keeping your distance, when possible, from the person who is sick or who tested positive.
The majority of reported COVID cases are among those 65 years and older. At least three nursing homes have reported cases, both among workers and residents. The first key to keeping people healthy in a nursing home is to keep people in the community healthy. If you are sick, even if you have just a cold, do not visit these facilities as the elderly are very vulnerable to sicknesses such as colds and flu. Wear a mask when you visit and get boosted. It’s important to protect ourselves and one another.
There are people for whom a mild infection actually isn’t so mild, either because of their underlying health or because of social factors in their lives. And the more the virus spreads, the more opportunities it has to evolve, picking up mutations that make it easier to overcome immunity.
The same measures that helped curb previous surges don’t just prevent illness and death – they also minimize social disruption, like lost hours at work and school.
When you wash your hands, use soap and water, especially after going to the bathroom, before eating, and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing.
Although masks are currently not mandated in public, it is helpful to contain the spread. Wear a mask with two or more layers, and wear it over your nose and mouth and secure it under your chin.
Try to keep your distance from other people, this is especially important for people who are at higher risk of getting very sick and experiencing severe disease.
Clean frequently touched objects and surfaces using a household cleaning spray or wipe.
Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
Cover your coughs and sneezes. Throw used tissues in the trash.
Remember, precautions for COVID will also work for colds and the flu.
COVID is no stranger to Carter County as overall, 16,491 cases were reported with 335 deaths during the pandemic.
Let’s work to make this a healthy season for school children, nursing home residents and other aged citizens.
We can’t be too careful when it comes to the most vulnerable, and certainly, we do not want or need another COVID epidemic in our community.

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