Life During COVID-19 | Keiro
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Due to COVID-19, Keiro has decided to transition all of our scheduled in-person events in 2020 to alternative formats. Read full statement here.

Keiroは年内に開催する予定の直接人と人が会うイベントを全て別の形式に変更することに致しました。詳細はこちら

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Life During COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has been an adjustment, as everyone has shifted their lifestyles drastically these past months, since the Safer at Home order was issued on March 19, 2020. We have adjusted to this “new normal” and will have to continue this lifestyle for the foreseeable future.

COVID-19 primarily spreads from person-to-person contact and no vaccine is available as of today. Practicing good safety and hygiene protocols is still important. These include washing your hands often, avoid touching your face with unclean hands, and disinfect frequently touched surfaces. If possible, continue to stay home. That is the best way to protect yourself from COVID-19. Your personal risk depends on your age, your health, virus presence in your community, and the safety measures you use (Aubrey et al., 2020).

Every outing, gathering, and activity will carry some level of risk, as being indoors and around more people can raise your risk. In general, the closer you are to an infected person and the more time you spend with them increases your risk of becoming infected. You will have to determine what you are comfortable doing as Safer at Home orders change alongside the pandemic. Our everyday lives will continue to be different though, so here are some tips to keep in mind.

Other New Articles:

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Assess Before Going Out (Aubrey et al., 2020)

 

In the event that you do decide to go out, here are some things to keep in mind to help you determine the amount of risk the outing carries and how comfortable you are going out:

  • Setting – Is the outing in an indoor or outdoor setting? Outdoor activities carry less risk than indoor ones.
    • Example: Dining in a restaurant vs. a backyard barbeque.
  • Proximity – Will you be in close contact with so
    meone outside of your household? Staying physically distant lowers your risk of infection compared to close contact with others.

    • Example: Getting a haircut vs. grocery shopping while keeping distance from other shoppers.
  • Duration – How long will you be around other people? The more time you spend in contact with people, the greater your risk. Note that staying physically distant can help lower this risk.
    • Example: Watching a movie at the movie theater vs. mailing a package at the post office.

Public Activities

Keep in mind about above risk factors, think and assess following activities if you do consider going out.

  • Exercise (Aubrey et al., 2020)
    • Exercising outdoors is a low-risk activity if you wish to stay active outside.
    • Activities such as walking and golfing are safer because they allow for physical distancing. Be aware of your local area’s rules about wearing face masks while outside.
  • Errands
    • Continue practicing the same precautions: planning your outings ahead of time, making a list of items you need, avoid touching your face, and wash your hands as soon as you get home.
    • Going into a bank or using an ATM exposes you to other people and having to touch shared surfaces. (Martin, 2017)
    • Online banking is a good option if you are comfortable using technology. Be aware of scams and protect your personal information.
  • Eating in Restaurants (Aubrey et al., 2020)
    • Dining in carries more risk since you will be around people you do not know for a longer period of time. In addition, people will not be able to wear their masks as they eat and drink.
    • Restaurants are required to implement safety and distancing measures, but there is still a risk. However, if you choose to dine in, try to sit in an outdoor area and avoid dining at the same table with people outside of your household.
    • Takeout remains the safest option for eating out.
  • Religious Services (Aubrey et al., 2020)
    • Attending a religious service indoors involves a large amount of people from different households in an enclosed space for an extended period of time, which is a higher risk activity.
    • Wearing masks and staying physically distant can lower the risk of infection, but if your church or temple has transitioned to online or virtual services, consider continuing to use those options for the time being.
    • Keep in mind that religious organizations have guidelines they must follow when reopening. Thus, there may be changes to how religious services are done as well as how many people can attend there service at a time.
  • Health Care Appointments
    • More doctor’s offices are opening up to non-emergency appointments, but an in-person appointment still carries risk. If you need to be seen in-person, check with your provider about the precautions they are taking in their office.
    • Consider using telehealth in place of in-person appointments. It is another option to assess whether in-person appointment is necessary or not. For more information on telehealth, read the Telehealth Factsheet.
    • Other telehealth articles:
  • Haircuts (Aubrey et al., 2020)
    • You will be in close contact with another person for an extended period of time, which poses a higher risk than other activities – even if both you and the barber/hairdresser are wearing masks.
    • If you do decide to get a haircut, make sure the salon or barbershop is implementing protective policies for their employees and customers.

Adapting to New Etiquettes (New Etiquette Rules, 2020)

With COVID-19, certain new customs will be the new normal:

  • Greetings
    • Reduce physical contact with others not in your household. Continue to refrain from hugs and handshakes, and instead wave to each other or give other types of greetings.
    • It is okay to feel uncertain or even awkward while meeting up with others. A wave does not replace a hug, but it will limit your contact with others, and increase your safety.

  • Masks
    • Mask will continue to be an essential to increase your safety for yourself and others. Even though we cannot see one another’s smiles, consider gestures to express yourself such as a thumbs up.
  • Saying No
    • Your personal comfort and safety are very important during this time.
    • Do not feel obligated to say yes to invitations to events or outings. If you feel uncomfortable going out, meeting with people, or scheduling appointments, it is okay to say no.
    • Read more about how it’s ok to say no.

Socializing and Staying Connected

Continue utilizing platforms like Zoom, FaceTime, etc. for meetings and events like virtual dinners, birthday celebrations, or game nights with friends and family. Handwritten cards and letters could be alternatives as it adds a more personal touch and remind people that you are thinking of them. Consider the following however if you are thinking about connecting with others in person:

  • Family Gatherings (Aubrey et al., 2020).
    • You should only gather with people outside of your household if it is allowed in your area. Currently, residents of Los Angeles County are prohibited from gathering with others outside of their household (Reopening Safer, 2020).
    • When gathering with others is allowed, have it outside. Open spaces decrease your risk of infection and allow for more physical distancing.
    • Encourage everyone to bring their own drinks and utensils to limit sharing items.
    • Remember, interacting with a greater number of people increases the risk of the gathering.
  • Visiting Grandchildren
    • Similar to other activities, the risks of visiting with grandchildren vary. Children can spread COVID-19 easily and may not display any symptoms. (Aleccia, 2020).
    • Continue to refrain from hugs and handshakes when saying hello. Of course, this is not an ideal way to greet grandchildren, but it is the safest option for everyone at this time.
    • If you do plan on seeing grandchildren, wear a mask and maintain physical distancing.
    • Before a visit, do a self-evaluation of where you and each member of your household have been and how many people you may have come in contact with (Parker-Pope, 2020).
      • Try to reduce outings to grocery stores and other essential activities to once week before visiting.
    • If possible, meet outdoors, which will help lower the risk of the visit.

Resources on Keeping Older Adults Connected Through Technology:

Safer At Home Updates and Masks

LA County (Reopening Safer, 2020)

The County of Los Angeles Health Officer Order was revised on September 4, 2020. As Los Angeles County moves into Stage 3 of reopening, residents must continue to wear face masks outside of the home and practice physical distancing in public spaces. Whenever possible, all residents should remain at home.

Orange County (OC Health Officer’s Orders, 2020)

The latest Health Officer Order and Recommendations was updated on September 8, 2020. Businesses, industries, and other organizations post their industry-specific checklist for reopening (according to State’s roadmap and guidelines). All county residents must wear a face mask in high-risk situations. High-risk situations include inside any public space, receiving health care services, riding public transportation, and while engaged in work. There is also updated information regarding strong recommendations in Orange County. While these guidelines are strong recommendations, they should be followed to ensure the safety of yourself and others from the transmission of COVID-19:

  • Strong Recommendations
    • Maintain six feet of physical distancing
      • Orange County residents should maintain at least 6 feet of physical distance from others outside of their home or living unit.
    • Vulnerable populations
      • All Orange County residents who are 65 years old or older, have serious underlying medical conditions, or have a compromised immune system should remain at home.
    • Other recommendations
      • Avoid contact with people who are sick.
      • Do not gather in groups.
      • Stay out of crowded places.
      • Avoid mass gatherings.
      • Continue safety and prevention practices such as washing hands and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces.

Ventura County (Stay Well VC, 2020)

The Stay Well VC Health Officer Order was revised on September 22, 2020. According to the Order, businesses must establish, implement and enforce COVID-19 prevention. Businesses must post a written notice explaining how it will comply with physical distancing requirements.

Regarding Masks
Everyone in California must wear a face mask or face covering while in the following situations
Source: California Department of Public Health  (Guidance for the Use Face Coverings):

  • Inside of, or in line to enter, any indoor public space.
  • Obtaining health care services such as from a hospital, pharmacy, clinic, physician or dental office, etc.
  • Waiting for or riding on public transportation or while in a taxi or ride-sharing vehicle.
  • Engaged in work (at the workplace or off-site) when:
    • Interacting in-person with any member of the public
    • Working in any space visited by members of the public
    • Working in any space where food is prepared or packaged for sale or distribution to others
    • Working in or walking through common areas, such as hallways, stairways, elevators, and parking facilities.
    • In any room or enclosed areas where others outside of your own household are present and not able to physically distance.
  • While outdoors in public spaces when maintaining a physical distance of six feet from people outside of your household or residents is not possible.

There are a few individuals who are exempt from the face covering mandate:

  • Children who are ages two or younger.
    • Children of these ages must not wear a face covering due to the risk of suffocation.
  • Those with medical condition, mental health condition, or disability that prevents wearing a face covering.
    • This includes those with medical conditions in which wearing a face covering would obstruct breathing.
    • This includes those who are unconscious, incapacitated, or unable to remove a face covering without assistance.
  • Those who are hearing impaired, or communicating with a person who is hearing impaired, where the ability to see the mouth is essential for communication.
  • Persons seated at a restaurant or establishment that offers food or beverage service, while they are eating or drinking, provided that they are able to maintain a distance of at least six feet from those outside of their household or residence.
  • Those who are engaged in outdoor work or outdoor recreation such as swimming, walking, hiking, bicycling, or running while alone and are able to maintain a distance of six feet from others.

Keiro’s Article on Masks

Traveling (Coronavirus in the US, 2020)

There are COVID-19 cases in all 50 states. Traveling increases your chance of both coming in contact with infected individuals and spreading the virus. If possible, avoid any unnecessary travel out of your region.

  • If you are considering traveling, ask the following questions:
    • Is COVID-19 spreading where you are going?
    • Is COVID-19 spreading in your community?
    • Will you be in close contact with others during your trip?
    • Are you traveling with at-risk individuals?
    • Does the state or local government where you are traveling to or from require a quarantine period after arrival?
  • Types of travel (Coronavirus in the US, 2020)
    • Air Travel: traveling by air requires you to wait in lines at the airport, share communal spaces with others, and use frequently-touched surfaces.
    • Viruses and germs do not spread easily on flights due to the air filtration system. However, physical distancing may not be guaranteed or possible (Coronavirus in the US, 2020)
    • Bus or Train Travel: physical distancing may not be possible in this form of travel, depending on seating arrangements. The longer you spend near others, the greater your risk of infection.
    • Car Travel: you may be traveling with people in your household and expect a low-risk experience. However, stopping for gas, food, and bathroom breaks brings you in contact with both other people and shared surfaces.
  • If you are thinking about traveling internationally, keep in mind that there continues to be ongoing transmission of COVID-19 in the majority of countries around the world.
    • The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends that all travelers avoid nonessential travel to all global destinations.

Other Articles Written By Keiro on COVID-19 Lifestyle

Other Articles Written By Keiro on Caregiving During this Pandemic

Keep in mind that since a vaccine is not yet available, there are no zero-risk outings or gatherings. Ultimately, it remains your decision on if you should go out and what activities you take part in. Do not be afraid to say no or avoid handshakes. Even though we might be returning to normal activities, the way we interact and socialize has changed immensely. Keep washing your hands frequently, and wear a mask. Choose to gather in outdoor spaces, with fewer people instead of smaller spaces with more people. Together, we will continue adapt to our “new normal.”

Sources:

Aleccia, J. (2020). ‘We Miss Them All So Much’: Grandparents Ache as the COVID Exile Grinds on. Retrieved from https://khn.org/news/we-miss-them-all-so-much-grandparents-ache-as-the-covid-exile-grinds-on/

Aubrey, A., Wamsley, L., & Wroth, C. (2020). From Camping to Dining Out: Here’s How Experts Rate the Risks of 14 Summer Activities. Retrieved from https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2020/05/23/861325631/from-camping-to-dining-out-heres-how-experts-rate-the-risks-of-14-summer-activit

Coronarvirus in the US – Considerations for Travelers. (2020). Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/travel-in-the-us.html

How to Protect Yourself and Others. (2020). Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/prevention.html

Martin, E. (2016). The Ins and Outs of Online Banking. Retrieved from https://www.aarp.org/money/investing/info-2016/online-banking-101.html

Parker-Pope, T. (2020). When Can I See My Grandkids? Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2020/05/20/well/family/coronavirus-grandchildren-grandparents-when-can-i-see-my-grandkids.html

Reopening Safer at Work and in the Community for Control of COVID-19. (2020). Retrieved from http://publichealth.lacounty.gov/media/Coronavirus/docs/HOO/HO_Order_COVID-19_Safer_at_Work_and_in_the_Community_05292020_FINAL_WithAppendices.pdf