Because novel coronavirus (COVID-19) can spread person-to-person, it is necessary to take social distancing precautions that can protect yourself and your loved ones and help reduce the spread of coronavirus within the community.
Understanding how coronavirus spreads is an important part of protecting yourself. Going forward, though, the most important way you can protect yourself from the virus as well as others is to get the COVID-19 vaccine when it is available to you.
However, despite the COVID fatigue many of us are feeling, this does not mean you should stop social distancing!
The best way to protect yourself and others is by practicing social distancing by:
- Avoiding close contact with others
- Avoiding activities that include large crowds
- Wearing a mask when interacting with people outside your household
How to Practice Social Distancing
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends maintaining a distance of approximately 6 feet from others when possible.
We understand this is a challenging time for many people, but following the CDC's social distancing recommendations will make a real difference for you, your friends and neighbors most at risk.
Examples of activities or events that should be avoided include:
- Religious services
- Shopping malls
- Air travel
- Public transportation
- Movie theaters
- Family gatherings
If you are around other people, avoid handshaking, hugging and other types of greeting that involve close contact. It's also important to avoid unnecessary errands, if possible.
Grocery stores and similar establishments may have crowds. Instead, consider ways to shop safely in which you can have essential items brought to your house through online delivery services or through friends and family members.
Restrictions to Encourage Social Distancing
To slow the spread of disease, the state has put certain restrictions in place to encourage social distancing. For the latest information around current restrictions, see the Maryland State website.
To help protect patients, their families and health care workers, all hospitals within the University of Maryland Medical System have set up visitor restrictions.
Who Is At Most Risk
The majority of people with novel coronavirus experience mild symptoms of COVID-19.
While the evidence is not yet clear on how likely it is to affect younger people and those without underlying conditions, we do know that its respiratory symptoms can be more severe in:
- People over the age of 60
- People with underlying chronic medical conditions
- People who are immunocompromised
For people who are at higher risk, social distancing is particularly important.
What Else You Can Do
Other ways to protect yourself and others include:
- Use soap and water to wash your hands for at least 20 seconds or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if you don't have soap and water
- Avoid touching your face, eyes, nose and mouth
- Stay home when you are sick
- Clean and disinfect objects and surfaces that you frequently touch
If you are experiencing symptoms of novel coronavirus, including fever, cough or shortness of breath, please call our dedicated 24/7 nurse call line, where a licensed medical professional will be able to provide further assistance.
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