We are all concerned about the increase of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, in our communities. Every one of us has a part to play in stopping its transmission.
We know COVID-19 can spread from person to person, but did you know it can transfer onto other surfaces after a sneeze or cough? It can also survive up to 24 hours on cardboard, and for up to 72 hours on plastic and stainless-steel surfaces.
These facts emphasize the importance of hand washing and disinfecting surfaces to protect against infection – both at work and at home. They also mean you should take extra care as you shop and unpack food and other items. Here are a few things you can do:
- If you have any signs of illness or exposure to someone with COVID-19, do not go into stores and risk infecting others. Ask someone else to shop for you.
- Use a sanitary wipe on your shopping cart.
- Do not pick up items from store shelves unless you are sure you will be putting them in your cart.
- Try to shop once a week or less. This means you should plan for two weeks of meals at a time.
- When you can, put non-perishable, non-refrigerated groceries in your garage or in a safe exterior holding area for 72 hours before bringing them inside your home.
- For perishable and refrigerated items, or when an exterior holding space is not available, create an unpacking area outside your home with a sanitized surface. Keep grocery bags separate from where you unpack the food.
- Throw away extra cardboard packaging and put foods into your own clean plastic or glass containers. For foods with sealed plastic packaging, soak a paper towel with sanitizer and wipe the plastic surfaces.
- Wash fresh fruit and vegetables with outer skins in soapy water for 20 seconds and then rinse clean. Rinse leafy vegetables thoroughly.
- If you receive a package at home, ask the delivery person to leave it on the porch. Take the item out of the exterior cardboard box and throw the box away before bringing the item inside. If possible, discard all cardboard packaging.
Remember: The above tips are helpful, but proper hand hygiene and social distancing are your best defenses against COVID-19. We are better together even when we are apart.