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Prevent the Spread of COVID-19 at Home

We each play a critical role in preventing the spread of COVID-19. While many of us are following stay-at-home orders, there are several steps we can take prevent the spread of the virus within our own walls.

Keep COVID-19 Outside Your Home

While it may sound obvious, the best way to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in your home is to keep the virus from ever entering it. Here are some tips to keep you safe and healthy:

Limit close contact with other people.

  • Stay home and avoid being out in public around other people as much as you can.
  • Limit grocery shopping trips or use home delivery if it’s available.
  • Place prescriptions for medicines through a mail-order pharmacy if possible.
  • Stay at least 6 feet away from other people when you go out in public.
  • Assume that anyone can spread the virus. Even people who don’t have symptoms may be infected with COVID-19 and capable of spreading infection to others.

Cover your nose and mouth.

  • Everyone age 2 and older should wear a face covering (a bandana or other cloth that is tightly woven) in a public place. If you hold up your mask or face cover and see light coming through it, the weave is not tight enough.
  • Read the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s tips about making face coverings.

Be careful about touching your face or common surfaces in public.

  • Avoid touching common surfaces, like door handles, gas pumps, shopping carts, pay screens/pads, etc. These surfaces may be covered with coronavirus and other germs that can make you sick.
  • Don’t touch your face. Viruses can enter your body through your eyes, nose and mouth.

Take Steps to Keep Your Home Safe from COVID-19

Here’s what you can do to keep your home safe when you return from trips out in public:

  • Remove your shoes and leave them in a designated area, ideally outside the home if possible.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds before you touch anything or anyone in your home. If soap and water aren’t handy, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol.
  • Disinfect and clean any items you bring inside your home (cell phone, medications, packaging for groceries, etc.). While it’s not yet known how long COVID-19 survives on surfaces, studies suggest it could remain on some surfaces for a few hours or up to several days. Most common EPA-registered household disinfectants will work.
  • Disinfect surfaces that you and others often touch in your home, including doorknobs, light switches, countertops, phone and keyboards. If surfaces are dirty, clean them with detergent or soap and water before disinfecting.

How to Prevent the Spread of Infection at Home

A person who may have been exposed to COVID-19 can self-quarantine, staying completely away from other people inside the home. Because someone can be infected without feeling symptoms, this helps limit the spread. Out of an abundance of caution, many health care providers, hospital works, EMTs, and others are choosing to self-quarantine.

If someone in your household may have been exposed to COVID-19 or is diagnosed with infection:

  • Establish a room and a bathroom, if possible, that will only be used by the person under quarantine.
  • Don’t share plates, glasses, cups or utensils. Wash all these items in a dishwasher or with dishwashing liquid and warm water.
  • Don’t allow visitors in your home.
  • Monitor the health of all household members. Each person should call their health care provider if they develop symptoms of COVID-19 (including fever, cough and shortness of breath).

Anyone who becomes sick should stay home, completely isolate themselves from healthy people and follow their health care provider’s guidance.

See the CDC list of recommendations for how you can best care for someone at home.