Staying safe and stopping the spread of COVID-19 this fall and winter

By Regence
October 23, 2020
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Regence's Chief Medical Officer Dr. Marion Couch explains the importance of remaining committed to taking precautions

COVID fatigue is real. Months of working from home, navigating online school, physical distancing and more to stay safe and avoid the virus.

As much as we’d like to get back to normal, super spreader events and a recent surge in cases nationwide remind us that this is not the time to ease off that vigilance. COVID is still here.  

With the change of seasons bringing shorter days and colder air, we naturally migrate indoors, where less fresh air is circulating, increasing the chance disease could spread from someone who carries the virus.

“Many of us might have shed our masks when we were with friends outdoors this summer because the virus is less likely to infect outside in lots of fresh air,” said Dr. Marion Couch, chief medical officer for Regence. ““But, as we move inside, it’s important to recommit to those things we know keep us and those around us safe: Wear a mask and wash your hands frequently.”

Remember, the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 spreads through droplets in the air. It may also spread through virus-contaminated hands that can make their way to your nose, eyes or mouth and into the body. Recent research shows the coronavirus can live up to nine hours on the skin.

You’ve heard it before, but staying safe isn’t complicated:

  1. Wear a mask.
  2. Wash your hands a lot.
  3. Avoid crowded indoor spaces.

As you move indoors, you can take additional safeguards such as keeping windows open when possible, making sure furnace filters are clean, using an air cleaner if you can, cleaning and disinfecting frequently used surfaces like doorknobs and countertops. 

“Just because staying safe is simple doesn’t mean it’s easy,” Dr. Couch said. “We are social animals, and we are growing weary of Zoom calls and workarounds to human contact. But we don’t have the luxury of letting our guard down. The coronavirus is in our communities and is spreading. We need to muster the strength and the discipline to stop the spread.  Remember – this, too, shall pass.  But good public health practices will help us get past this pandemic more quickly. And don’t forget to get your flu vaccine!”