Lewis reminds people to social distance, gives update on COVID-19

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COVID-19: highly contagious, capable of closing businesses and schools down, and throwing people into isolation and disrupting daily routines.

The coronavirus infection numbers increases every day, and with it have come rules, suggestions, and more.

“We’re going to have to make a difference by how we do things,” Clay County Emergency Manager Tim Lewis said during Coffee and Conversations at the Sutton Legion Wednesday.

Lewis noted how quickly the virus transfers from person-to-person and how important taking social distancing is.

Social distancing does not refer to social media, but instead keeping distance from other human beings in an effort to halt or slow the transfer of COVID-19. Social distancing is even more important when it comes down to symptoms, as Lewis said when a person develops a cold they typically feel it right away, whether through a cough, sore throat, headache, etc. COVID-19 is different in that people may not show any symptoms but still have a confirmed case of the virus. Symptoms may not appear until several days later when they develop a sore throat, fever and/or shortness of breath.

By this point, anyone who came in contact with the COVID-19-confirmed person is at risk for also developing the virus.

“That’s why we’re so adamant on social distancing,” Lewis said.

Although the coronavirus can effect anyone, those are higher risk include people over the age of 60; those with lung conditions such as asthma; are a smoker; have depleted immune systems; and those with diabetes. The risk becomes even higher the older a person is over 60 years old.

Lewis also alluded to the mental state the coronavirus has caused, saying “the impact on people’s mental health is definitely there.”

He added to check on your neighbors when possible, whether it’s knocking on their door and talking to them through said door, or giving them a call.

“Just make sure they’re doing OK,” he said, adding if you’re heading to the store as your neighbor if they need anything and figure out a payment system later.

In terms of heading to the store, Lewis noted how there’s been a lot of panic buying, which has caused hardships for families in the county. Between hoarding toilet paper and hand sanitizer, and buying large supply amounts of masks and paper gowns, the panic buying has become an issue.

“You’re not going to need it [toilet paper] for that long,” Lewis said. “Share some of it with people who can’t get it.”

He also discussed issues with getting the proper equipment and protection for local EMS responders, such as paper gowns, masks, and gloves.

Despite the panic buying and panic mode many people have fallen into, Lewis said he’s sure Clay County will get through this if everyone follows the rules and pays attention to what’s happening in the world.

“We’ve got to stick to that ‘we can do it’ mentality,” Lew said. “Suck it up and stay home when we need to. Meet the people in your house, introduce yourself to them.”

Practice social distancing, stay home if you’re sick, call into businesses before you go in, and check on your neighbors. With everything else, the rules and severity of COVID-19 is constantly changing, but local officials and health departments are working fervently to keep as updated information in the public as possible.

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