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Wash hands, stay two arm-lengths away

What a difference one week has made in our daily activities and thoughts! Last week we were planning lots of activities for children and adults at Kump Education Center; now we are putting everything on hold.

Nothing that was scheduled will be held on the date we expected, and most of our time must be spent at home making sure not to spread or be exposed to Coronavirus.

Last Friday, about the time I was getting ready to go to my water aerobics class at the YMCA, I heard the report that Gov. Justice was closing schools in West Virginia until further notice. Soon almost all school systems in the nation were closed.

The local YMCA planned to stay open for members only; however, by Monday all gyms in the country were closing.

I took a last look at the Y pool and realized that the whole Elkins YMCA building would be empty for a long time.

By Monday, City Hall was closed, dentists’ offices were closed, all restaurants were closing except for take-out and delivery. Grocery stores were full of people hoarding supplies.

Even our hospital was putting nonessential surgeries on hold and limiting the number of people allowed in the doors.

The tests for Covid-19 were not available in Elkins yet, but the plan was to require those who were ill to get a pass from their own health care provider and go to a drive-thru testing center that will be set up in the hospital parking lot.

Now “business as usual” is not happening as usual. With grandchildren coming to our home each day, self-isolation is not possible. My husband and I do not want to be isolated, anyway. What is feasible and necessary is to wash hands often and avoid contact with new individuals.

Today I plan to put up signs at our sinks and on the outside doors to remind children and adults to wash hands often.

The best information I can find says that any regular soap will work if one lathers up soapsuds for 20 seconds. I’m going to see if my grandchildren can help me decide on a jingle to sing while washing hands for 20 seconds.

It is difficult to find hand sanitizer at this point, and they should be 60% alcohol, according to government guidelines. Soap and water are better.

We do not have any family members who seem to have a temperature or feel sick at this point, but we need to be more careful to dispose of tissues used for sneezes or dripping noses.

We also need to be sure not to put our hands near our faces to protect against getting the virus. If we are sneezing and dripping we need to wear facemasks. We also need to stay six feet away from others. We will practice proper social distancing by reaching out and not touching finger tips.

If all goes well, we’ll arrive at a time in the future when handwashing is not the business at hand.

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