COVID-19 Update # 14 from the AFN Health Director | May 26, 2020
- Published: May 26 2020 17:14
May 26, 2020
Health Director Update #14
Information on Staying Healthy
There are currently no vaccines available to protect you against COVID-19. But there are things you can do to reduce your risk of getting sick or getting other people sick.
Social distancing guidelines
Nova Scotians need to follow social distancing guidelines to help reduce the spread of COVID-19. This means limiting your contact with other people and staying 2 meters (6 feet) away from them.
You’re not allowed to gather in groups of more than 5 people, unless your group has an exemption.
To protect yourself and others you need to:
- only gather in groups of less than 5 people, unless your group has an exemption
- stay 2 metres (6 feet) away from people that aren’t in your family household bubble
- limit your contact with other people
- keep your social circle small
- make informed choices about who and how to interact with each other (consider age, occupation and health conditions)
- be careful about your social interactions and how often you leave home
Family household bubble
You can combine your household with another household to create a family household bubble. If you’re not able to bubble with family, you can decide who will be in your bubble. The bubble lets both households spend time together without social distancing.
Both households must agree to combine households and can only bubble with each other. This means that both households can only have in-person contact with the people in their family household bubble.
When choosing another household to create a family household bubble with, you should consider the age, occupation and health condition of all household members. You should consider if anyone is:
- sick or showing symptoms
- at high risk for getting sick
- at high risk for complications because they’re older, have underlying health conditions or are immunocompromised
- frequently in contact with the public at their job and at higher risk for getting COVID-19
The 5 people or less gathering limit doesn’t apply to family household bubbles.
Social gatherings outside your bubble
You can have social gatherings outside your family household bubble. You need to following distancing guidelines and make sure that you:
- socialize outside if possible (it’s safer than inside)
- clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces frequently
- don’t share food or drinks
- Keep your hands clean
Wash or sanitize hands often, particularly:
- before and after preparing or eating food
- after touching pets
- after handling waste or dirty laundry or using the bathroom
- whenever your hands look dirty
Washing your hands with soap and water is best. Rubbing your hands together when you wash them removes visible dirt and germs. Disposable paper towels are best for drying your hands, if you have some. If not, use a reusable towel that gets washed often.
If soap and water aren’t available, and your hands aren’t visibly dirty, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Use enough to cover the fronts and backs of both hands and between all your fingers. Rub your hands together until they feel dry.
Cough and sneeze etiquette
Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue. Throw the used tissue in the garbage and wash your hands or use an alcohol-based hand rub immediately.
If you don’t have a tissue, cough and sneeze into your elbow, not your hand.
Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. If you need to touch your face, wash your hands first.
Cleaning and disinfecting
Viruses can live on surfaces for several days. You can reduce the number of germs and reduce your risk of infection by cleaning and disinfecting every day.
You should clean the surfaces and objects you touch most frequently at least once a day, or more if needed.
Clean and disinfect things like doorknobs, light switches, railings, toilets and tabletops every day. Wash with soapy water first. Then disinfect with household cleaning products, following the directions on the label.
If household cleaning products aren’t available, you can make a diluted bleach solution following the instructions on the bleach label. Or you can make a solution 5 mL of bleach per 250 mL of water, or 20mL per litre.
You need to mix a fresh batch of the bleach mixture every day for it to work properly.
Disinfect phones, remote controls, computers and other handheld devices with 70% alcohol or wipes.
Wash or launder clothing, sheets and towels regularly.
Take your garbage out regularly. Wash your hands after.
Wearing a non-medical mask
When worn properly, non-medical masks can reduce the risk of transmitting the virus in the same way that following cough and sneeze etiquette can protect others.
You should wear a non-medical mask if you have respiratory symptoms (like coughing or sneezing) and you’ll be in close contact with other people, or if you’re going out to access medical care or other essential health services.
Even if you do not have symptoms, you should consider wearing a non-medical mask when you’re in places where it’s hard to maintain social distancing (like public transit, stores and group living situations).
Using a mask alone isn’t enough to prevent the spread of COVID-19. You should also make sure to keep your hands clean, follow cough and sneeze etiquette, practice social distancing and stay home if you’re feeling sick.
Guidance for wearing non-medical masks may change as Public Health continues to monitor the local spread of COVID-19.
Being prepared for emergencies
All Nova Scotians should have an emergency kit and basic supplies that you and your household may need for up to 72 hours. Don’t panic buy or stockpile.
Make sure your prescriptions are filled.
Think about what you’ll do if you or someone you live with gets sick and needs care.
Talk to your employer about working from home if you need to self-isolate or take care of a sick family member.
Talk to family and friends. Share your emergency plan with them. Check in on each other and run essential errands for each other if one of you gets sick.
If you get sick, stay home until you have no symptoms.
If you’re experiencing domestic abuse
If you’re experiencing domestic abuse, you’re not alone. Support, guidance and shelter are available throughout the province.
If you’re in immediate danger, call 911.
Mental health and wellbeing
A new virus like COVID-19 can create fear and anxiety. There are ways to manage your symptoms and get help if you need it. Learn more about protecting your mental health during COVID-19.
The best ways to take care of your mental health include:
Take care of yourself
- Eat as well as possible.
- Exercise regularly.
- Maintain normal routines and programming as much as possible.
- Spend time on hobbies.
- Get enough sleep.
- Get information from reliable sources.
- Check on family, friends and neighbours.
- Use phone, text, email and video calls to connect.
- Connect with people on social media, but take breaks from it.
- Listen and provide reassurance – it's normal to have questions.
- Address questions and correct misinformation
Take care of others
- Get groceries and necessities for people in self-isolation.
- Share positive messages to support essential workers.
- Watch for discrimination or bullying related to COVID-19