What precautions should I be taking other than social distancing?

Handwashing: The most important precaution other than social distancing includes proper hand hygiene. Washing your hands correctly is the best way to limit the spread of the virus, protect yourself and those around you. Watch this video or review this poster from the World Health Organization to learn the best technique to wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. As far as research shows, there is no superior type or brand of soap to use, or any evidence to suggest that antibacterial soap is better at inactivating viruses than other types of soap. The duration and technique of handwashing is more important. If soap and water are not available, use a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol and apply the same techniques to clean your hands.

Avoid touching your face: Touching your eyes, nose, or mouth without washing your hands first can make it easier for you to become infected by the virus.

Wearing a mask: The Centre for Disease Control recommends wearing cloth face masks in public settings and has provided a tutorial on how to make them. That being said, it is important to note that a cloth mask has not proven to completely protect the person wearing it and it is NOT a substitute for hand washing or physical distancing. However, according to Health Canada, it is an additional measure to ensure that you protect those around you if you have the virus, symptomatic or not. Note that these cloth masks have not been tested to meet recognized standards and may not provide a completely seal around the nose and mouth. They will likely not provide you with complete protection from the virus-sized particles due to the material used. However, you do NOT need to wear a medical mask or an N95 mask, they must be kept for those providing direct care to COVID-19 patients. Use this resource to know how to use cloth masks correctly and look here for more detail on the research surrounding this topic.

Grocery Shopping: It is recommended that you maintain a 6 feet distance between yourself and other shoppers and avoid physical contact. Wear a cloth mask to reduce your risk of getting infected. Consider using cleaning wipes to clean the handles of shopping carts or baskets, sanitizing your hands after touching door handles, and having a plan to prevent bringing viruses inside your home. Avoid shopping in public if you have symptoms such as a fever or a cough.

Discard your disposable grocery bags once you get home and remember to wash your hands as soon as you finish unpacking your groceries. The virus can stay on surfaces for up to 72 hours but it becomes inactive on most substances within 24 hours; keep this in mind when planning when to unpack your groceries.

Takeout/Delivery: Since the virus can remain on plastic surfaces for up to 72 hours, consider cleaning the exterior part of the containers, or opting for cardboard containers instead. As of now, there has been no evidence of COVID-19 transmission through food.

Household Cleaning Products: Health Canada has published a list of household cleaning agents that will reduce indirect contact spread of coronavirus here. Studies have shown that diluted ethanol, hydrogen peroxide, or sodium hypochlorite are more effective to inactivate the virus than benzalkonium chloride or chlorhexidine digluconate. Please do not attempt to dilute any dangerous chemicals yourself. Health Canada recommends regularly cleaning high-touch surfaces such as door handles, tables, toys, phones, and toilets.

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