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Simple steps to prevent the spread of COVID-19

Wright, left, and Chandler.

By Dr. R. Brent Wright and Ben Chandler

Prepare, protect, disinfect. While those directions might seem simple, especially during a global pandemic, they are truly the most important steps to preventing the spread of COVID-19, also known as novel coronavirus.

The Kentucky Medical Association and the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky are reinforcing those critical messages through a new set of public service announcements, which also encourage calling your physician or utilizing telehealth to receive care if you are sick, staying on top of your mental health, and following the advice of public health officials at kycovid19.ky.gov, (800) 722-5725.

The PSAs are available free of charge and can be viewed at https://bit.ly/2UBVvOA. But what does it really mean to prepare, protect and disinfect?

Prepare: Prepare to stay at home as much as possible and purchase only the essentials you need for a week at a time. This limits our in-person contact with others and also ensures there will be enough necessary supplies, such as groceries, paper products and medicines, for everyone.

Protect: Protect others from the virus by keeping at least six feet of distance between yourself and others outside your home when you do have to venture out; and

Disinfect: Use disinfectant often on the things you touch regularly, such as doorknobs, cell phones, keyboards and counters. It’s also important to remember to wash your hands as much as possible, using soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds.

We know that these steps aren’t always easy. Postponing social functions, working remotely while providing care to children, and limiting our trips outside the home are less than ideal. But the COVID-19 outbreak is unlike anything most of us have ever seen in our lifetimes.

One of the greatest threats we face is overwhelming our health care system if too many people get sick at the same time. Kentucky physicians and health care providers across the state are doing their best to prepare for such a reality, but as residents we must also do our part to help “flatten the curve” and prevent as many cases as possible.

While there are still many unknowns about COVID-19, we do know that these simple strategies are the best defense against the virus. If every Kentuckian prepares, protects and disinfects, we can help stop the spread of COVID-19.

Dr. R. Brent Wright is president of the Kentucky Medical Association. Ben Chandler is president and CEO of the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky.