As the spread of coronavirus (now known as COVID-19) dominates the news, what can we do to protect ourselves?
First, know that BCBSND is closely monitoring COVID-19 and its potential impact on our state. As of March 3, 2020, there are no cases of COVID-19 in North Dakota.
Also, know that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that individuals, cities, businesses, hospitals and schools take steps to help reduce the spread of COVID-19.
As with all viruses, BCBSND recommends these steps:
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick. If you are sick, keep your distance from others.
- Stay home when you are sick, which includes staying home from work, school, daycare, errands and travel.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing.
- Wash your hands frequently; use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer when washing isn’t an option.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
- Practice other good health habits (i.e. clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces, get plenty of sleep, drink plenty of fluids, etc.)
In addition, keep in mind the following tips to protect yourself and your family:
- Check the CDC website for up-to-date information, especially if traveling.
- If you have been to an area of an outbreak or have been exposed to someone sick with COVID-19 in the last 14 days, contact your health care provider. Your cooperation is integral to the ongoing public health response to try to slow spread of the virus.
- If you develop COVID-19 symptoms, contact your health care provider. Tell them about your symptoms and your travel or exposure to a COVID-19 patient.
- If you are a health care provider, be on the look-out for people who recently traveled from an area with an outbreak and have fever and respiratory symptoms.
- Follow the CDC’s Community Mitigation Guidance that can slow the spread of emerging respiratory diseases like COVID-19.
- Get a flu shot to prevent the flu. While the coronavirus is different from the flu virus, the flu is still a serious illness.