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COVID-19 FAQ-3: Ask the WGH medical team

Michele Welker

The Times Observer asked the Warren General Hospital medical team to help us get information out to our readers through the COVID-19 FAQ-3. Twice a week, or more, we will pose our questions, and your questions, to the experts.

If you would like the Times Observer to submit a question to the WGH medical team, email jsitler@timesobserver.com and we will forward those questions.

Three questions about the coronavirus outbreak

Answers provided by medical team at Warren General Hospital: Joe Akif, Chief Nursing Officer; Michele Welker, RN, Infection Control Nurse; Beth Anderson, RN, Emergency Preparedness Coordinator; Keith Price, MD,Medical Director.

1. How long after an infected person has left an area can the virus still be spread through the air?

Bethany Anderson

The Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) is a droplet infection. After a cough, these droplets do not stay in the air long, settling out in an area up to three feet away.

2. Can I get infected from contacting the virus on contaminated surfaces, like tabletops or door handles?

Yes! Once these virus particles have settled out of the air, they can contaminate many surfaces. The virus can live for a number of hours and up to 3 days on plastic or stainless steel.

3. So, if I can be exposed through the air or from contaminated surfaces, what are the best ways to protect ourselves?

From the air:

Keith Price

“Social Distancing.” Stay six feet away from others when out in public.

Do not gather in crowds.

If anyone were possibly infected, they should wear a mask in public.

Healthy people do NOT need to wear masks unless they are in close contact with an infected individual.

From contaminated surfaces:

Joe Akif

WASH YOUR HANDS WITH SOAP AND WATER FREQUENTLY. This is probably the most important way to prevent infection.

CLEAN AREAS TOUCHED FREQUENTLY with a disinfectant: countertops, cellphones, door handles, railings, etc.

AVOID TOUCHING YOUR MOUTH AND EYES – where the virus frequently enters the body.

Finally… If you have any symptoms suggestive of COVID — fever, cough, or shortness of breath — please contact your supervisor and STAY HOME!

We are all in this together as the Warren County community.

Let’s:

Protect ourselves!

Watch out for our neighbors and family and especially those most at risk!

Be patient and understanding with one another!

Show kindness… but only with “social distancing,” not hugs!

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