Youth sports are back in Michigan…with restrictions
One of the many great disappointments during the pandemic was the loss of sports. From preschool t-ball to professional sports, being active and on a team is such an important part of so many lives. And those that don’t participate, spectate! The rules of the game have changed several times since the beginning of the pandemic, most recently with the resumption of contact sports for Michigan youth.
Beginning February 8th, in-person practice and competitions for sports leagues are now allowed…with some restrictions. For contact sports to resume, masks must be worn at all times during practices and competition. If masks can’t be worn during play, participants must be regularly tested for COVID-19, consistent with MDHHS’s Testing and Additional Mitigation Measures for Athletic Practice and Play guidance according to the state.
If your or your child’s sport of choice is non-contact and played outdoors where the athletes can maintain a social distance, masks will not be required. For all other sports, indoor or outdoor, masks or testing protocol will be required.
Following the guidance outlined by the state is crucial to stop the spread of the virus among athletes and spectators. There will be less people in the stands – up to 250 people are allowed in stadiums that seat fewer than 10,000 people, and up to 500 people are allowed at venues that seat more than 10,000 people, and those that do attend will also need to wear a mask at all times.
General Mitigation Measures for Athletics from the state of Michigan:
Wear a face mask at all times in practice and competition.*
Wash hands frequently and cover coughs and sneezes.
Use separate equipment as much as possible. Frequently clean and disinfect any shared equipment and surfaces.
See the MDHHS Guidance for Athletics for more recommendations to mitigate risk and prevent the spread of COVID-19 in sports.
*Exceptions are for athletes in contact sports where face masks pose a safety hazard. In these situations, additional mitigation measures, including testing before unmasked play, are required. Please see the MDHHS Guidance for Athletics for more information
The development of the COVID-19 vaccine brings hope that we will soon be able to hug loved ones, greet people without a mask and meet friends for dinner. While the COVID-19 vaccines available have been proven safe and effective at preventing COVID-19, it’s understandable that there may be some apprehension around getting the vaccine. We’re here to help sort out the myths from the facts, so you can confidently get your vaccination and move toward an end to the pandemic.
Source: Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC)
The COVID-19 vaccine offers hope for the future, but for now
ending this pandemic will require all the available tools. Your best defense
against COVID-19 is the combination of the vaccine, wearing a mask, social
distancing and continuing to wash your hands.
If you have symptoms of COIVD-19 or have been exposed, save
your spot at one of our testing locations.
Communication tips for the best virtual patient experience
The COVID-19 pandemic has forced many industries to rethink how they deliver services to the public. The medical field is no different. Virtual Care, or healthcare via phone, video or email, offers access to timely medical care without leaving home or entering a waiting room in-person. This format is new to a lot of patients, so we pulled together our providers recommendations for a successful telehealth medical appointment.
Practice using the technology. Download the platform (IHA providers use Zoom) ahead of your appointment time. Then, make sure it works! Virtual appointments require both video and audio. Ensure your device meets the requirements, know how to join your video appointment and do so a few minutes early.
Consider using headphones with a microphone for better sound and privacy.
Know where to go to troubleshoot any issues that come up. Logging on early will give you an opportunity to work out issues before your provider joins the conversation. Visit ihacares.com/resources/video-appointments for information on video appointments with an IHA provider.
Find a quiet space where you can focus on your conversation with your provider. Discourage interruptions by putting a sign on your office door or tell those around you it’s not a good time to interrupt.
Eliminate distractions before your appointment begins – do not login for your video appointment from the car, cafeteria, bathroom, or while making dinner.
Consider your background. Try to minimize natural light by not sitting in front of a window. The glare can make it difficult for your provider to see you in your video.
Bring a flashlight along to your appointment if you have a skin issue such as a lesion or rash to help your provider your skin. Measure the are prior to the appointment if possible.
Confirm your insurance coverage and copays for telehealth appointments. Virtual appointment coverage varies based on insurance companies, so be sure to confirm your personal coverage ahead of time to avoid unexpected bills.
Treat a virtual appointment as you would an in-person appointment. Have relevant health history and treatments at your fingertips and come prepared with your questions or concerns. Write them down beforehand if possible.
If you would have brought someone else with you to your in-person appointment, have them sit with you, virtually or in-person if you are living with them, for your virtual appointment. It can be helpful later to have a second person listening and even taking notes. They may hear something you miss or come up with a question you may not have thought of.
If you use medical devices on a regular basis (blood pressure monitor, heart monitor, thermometer, glucometer, etc.), have them close at hand during your virtual appointment. Or better yet, take readings prior to your call or video appointment.
When it comes to healthcare, we understand patients have individual needs and one size doesn’t fit all! So we offer several ways to access care – Actually 5!
Allowing patients to get care in a way that works best for them is what we’re all about. Click below to schedule your appointment, your way.
Pandemics can be stressful. Holidays and elections can be stressful. Virtual school, social distancing and not seeing friends and loved ones can be stressful too. All these things together can be a recipe for anxiety. Anxiety and fear can feel overwhelming for both adults and children alike. Sometimes it can be hard to identify anxiety or understand the strong emotions that can come along with anxiety, especially for children.
What does anxiety look and feel like?
Fear and worry about your own health and the health of your loved ones, your financial situation or job, or loss of support services you rely on
Being there for and taking care of family and friends is important but you should create a healthy balance with caring for yourself too. Here are some tips from the Centers for Disease Control on coping with the stress that comes with living through a pandemic.
Know what to do if you are sick and are concerned about COVID-19. Contact a health professional before you start any self-treatment for COVID-19.
If you think you may need a COVID-19 test, save your spot at an IHA testing location: ihacares.com/saveyourspot
Know where and how to get treatment and other support services and resources, including counseling or therapy (in person or through telehealth services).
Make time to unwind. Try to do some other activities you enjoy.
Connect with others. Talk with people you trust about your concerns and how you are feeling.
Connect with your community- or faith-based organizations. While social distancing measures are in place, consider connecting online, through social media, or by phone or mail.
Make time for quiet. If you find comfort in prayer or meditation, make time to incorporate this quiet time into your day. As little as 10 minutes can make a difference in your anxiety level.
Quick tips for taking control of your anxiety.
Take control of your breathing. Try square breathing: breathe in through your nose, pause, breathe out through your mouth and pause, counting to four at each step. Watch Alberto Nacif, MD give instructions on square breathing here: https://bit.ly/2Izy1aL
Tighten and relax your muscles. In areas where you feel physical tension tighten your muscles and then relax them.
Go to your happy place. Yes! It does exist! Think of a time or a place in your life where you felt at ease, happy or at peace. Focus on the positive feelings associated with this moment in time.
Know when it’s time to seek medical professional help.
If stress or anxiety get in the way of your daily life several days in a row, it may be time to contact your primary care provider. There are many resources available for managing these feelings and your provider can help you find the best fit for you.
Traditional Thanksgiving gatherings with family and friends are fun but can increase the chances of getting or spreading COVID-19 or the flu. Please be sure to follow the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) orders to make your Thanksgiving holiday safer and to help stop the spread of COVID-19.
The safest way to celebrate Thanksgiving this year is to celebrate with people in your household. If you do plan to spend Thanksgiving with people outside your household, take steps to make your celebration safer.
Wear a Mask
Wear a mask with two or more layers to stop the spread of COVID-19.
Wear the mask over your nose and mouth and secure it under your chin.
Make sure the mask fits snugly against the sides of your face.
Stay at least 6 feet away from others who do not live with you.
Remember that some people without symptoms may be able to spread COVID-19 or flu.
Keeping 6 feet (about 2 arm lengths) from others is especially important for people who are at higher risk of getting very sick.
Wash your hands.
Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
Keep hand sanitizer with you and use it when you are unable to wash your hands.
Use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
Attending a gathering.
Make your celebration safer. In addition to following the MDHHS order, consider these additional steps while attending a Thanksgiving gathering:
Bring your own food, drinks, plates, cups, and utensils.
Avoid going in and out of the areas where food is being prepared or handled, such as in the kitchen.
Use single-use options, like salad dressing and condiment packets, and disposable items like food containers, plates, and utensils.
Hosting a gathering.
If having guests to your home, please limit the number of people based on the MDHHS order. Additional ideas that can make your celebration safer include:
Have a small outdoor meal.
Have conversations with guests ahead of time to set expectations for celebrating together.
Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces and items between use.
If celebrating indoors, make sure to open windows.
Limit the number of people in food preparation areas.
Have guests bring their own food and drink.
If sharing food, have one person serve food and use single-use options, like plastic utensils and plates.
Consider new Thanksgiving activities.
Host a virtual Thanksgiving meal with friends and family who don’t live with you
Schedule a time to share a meal together virtually.
Have people share recipes and show their turkey, dressing, or other dishes they prepared.
Watch television and play games with people in your household
Watch Thanksgiving Day parades, sports, and movies at home.
Find a fun game to play.
Shop online sales the day after Thanksgiving and days leading up to the winter holidays.
Use contactless services for purchased items, like curbside pick-up.
Shop in open air markets staying 6 feet away from others.
Safely prepare traditional dishes and deliver them to family and neighbors in a way that does not involve contact with others (for example, leave them on the porch).
Participate in a gratitude activity, like writing down things you are grateful for and sharing with your friends and family.
Safe travel tips for college students.
There is no universal approach to Thanksgiving this year for colleges and universities. Though some are encouraging students to stay on campus for the holiday, others are allowing them to go home for the long Thanksgiving weekend. Still more are sending students home to begin their winter break or finish their semesters remotely.
Take the risk seriouslyYoung people have been identified as sources of some family outbreaks, infecting their older, more vulnerable relatives who live in the same household. Experts also point out that travel could increase students’ risk of exposure to the virus, and that holiday celebrations held indoors could facilitate transmission.
Self-quarantine and get testedIn the days before leaving campus, students should be tested, preferably with a PCR test, the laboratory test used to diagnose the coronavirus. Many colleges and universities have been regularly testing their students, and some have rolled out special guidance for holiday travel.
Source: Centers for Disease Control
Save Your Spot for drive-up COVID-19 testing at select IHA Urgent Care locations
During this pandemic, feeling sick can be scary. If you have symptoms like fever, cough, or shortness of breath, it is important to get tested for COVID-19. You should always contact your doctor with questions or concerns, but having test results will help with their recommendations for your care.
IHA offers convenient drive-up COVID-19 testing for new and established patients. We offer both PCR and Rapid tests. Your provider will determine which test is best for you based on your symptoms. Rapid testing is not always recommended. Do not go to your local IHA Urgent Care or emergency department for COVID-19 testing.
Patients in need of a COVID-19 test, please be aware: 1. You must have an appointment. Save Your Spot at one of our COVID-19 testing locations below. 2. Testing is being prioritized for symptomatic patients and patients who have had a high-risk exposure. 3. COVID-19 test results usually take 24 to 72 hours to return, but due to recent significant increases in testing – results are taking up to 5 days. 4. If you are not experiencing COVID-19 symptoms or have not had a high-risk exposure, please visit Michigan.gov to find an alternate testing location.
Halloween and everything that surrounds it –
trick-or-treating, costume parades, bobbing for apples – are fun, but can
spread COVID-19 or other seasonal infections, like influenza. While celebrating
Halloween this year will look very different from every other year, there are
still ways to enjoy all that Halloween has to offer, while protecting yourself
and your family from picking up a virus.
Giving Out Candy
Avoid direct contact with trick-or-treaters
Give out treats outdoors, if possible
Set up a station with individually bagged treats
for kids to take
Wash hands or use hand sanitizer before handling
treats, and in between trick-or-treaters
Wear a cloth mask
Wear a mask
Make your cloth mask part of your costume
A costume mask is not a substitute for a cloth
Do NOT wear a costume mask over a cloth mask. It
can make breathing more difficult
should NOT be worn by children under the age of 2 or anyone who has trouble
Wash your hands
Bring hand sanitizer with you and use it after
touching objects or other people
Use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol
Parents: supervise young children using hand
Wash hands with soap and water for at least 20
seconds when you get home and before you eat any treats
Stay at least 6 feet away from others who do
not live with you
Indoors and outdoors, you are more likely to get
or spread COVID-19 when you are in close contact with others for a long time
Make sure you are always doing the following. Every.
Wear a mask
Stay 6 feet away from anyone that does not live
with you – indoors and outdoors
Wash your hands or use hand sanitizer frequently
If you decide not to take your kids trick or treating this
year, here are some ideas how you can enjoy Halloween safely.
Decorate and carve pumpkins
Decorate your home for Halloween.
Carve pumpkins with members of your household or outside with neighbors or friends.
Walk from house to house, admiring Halloween decorations at a distance.
Visit an orchard, forest, or corn maze. Attend a scavenger hunt.
Go on an outdoor Halloween-themed scavenger hunt.
Visit a pumpkin patch or orchard. Remember to wash your hands or use hand sanitizer frequently, especially after touching frequently touched surfaces, pumpkins, or apples.
Go to a one-way, walk-through haunted forest or corn maze.
Hide Halloween treats in and around your house. Hold a Halloween treat hunt with household members.
Hold a socially distanced outdoor costume parade or contest so everyone can show off their costumes.
Host a socially distanced outdoor Halloween movie night with friends or neighbors or an indoor movie night with your household members.
Flu Before Boo!
Protect yourself and your family during flu season by getting your flu vaccine before Halloween. Scheduling your flu shot is easy! Click below and choose an appointment time that works for you.
How to reduce the risk of COVID-19 exposure while playing
Many youth sports leagues are easing back into practice and
in some cases competition. While it’s a much-welcomed change after a summer of
quarantine, whatever you or your children play, you should play it safe. There
are a number of steps you can take to help lower the risk of COVID-19 exposure
and reduce the spread while playing sports. The more people a participant
interacts with, the closer the physical interaction, the more sharing of
equipment there is by multiple players, and the longer the interaction, the
higher the risk of COVID-19 spread. Therefore, risk of COVID-19 spread can be
different, depending on the type of activity. Read on for guidance from the
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Make a game plan to reduce risk
Lowest Risk: Performing skill-building drills or
conditioning at home, alone or with members of the same household
Increasing Risk: Team-based practice
More Risk: Within-team competition
Higher Risk: Full competition between teams from
the same local geographic area (e.g., city or county)
Highest Risk: Full competition between teams
from different geographic areas (e.g., outside county or state)
If organizations are not able to keep safety
measures in place during competition (for example, keeping participants six
feet apart at all times), they may consider limiting participation to
within-team competition only (for example, scrimmages between members of the
same team) or team-based practices only
Similarly, if organizations are unable to put in
place safety measures during team-based activities, they may choose individual
or at-home activities, especially if any members of the team are at an
increased risk for severe illness
Prepare before you participate
Bring supplies to help you and others stay
healthy—for example, masks (bring extra), hand sanitizer with at least 60%
alcohol, broad spectrum sunscreen with SPF 15 or higher, and drinking water.
Prioritize participating in outdoor activities
over indoor activities and stay within your local area as much as possible.
If using an indoor facility, allow previous
groups to leave the facility before entering with your team. If possible, allow
time for cleaning and/or disinfecting.
Check the league’s COVID-19 prevention practices
before you go to make sure they have steps in place to prevent the spread of
If you are at an increased risk for severe
illness or have existing health conditions, take extra precautions and preventive
actions during the activity or choose individual or at-home activities.
Stay home if sick
If the participant has symptoms of COVID-19, has been
diagnosed with COVID-19, is waiting for COVID-19 test results, or may have been
exposed to someone with COVID-19, they should stay home and not participate in
Have smaller team sizes
Sports with a large number of players on a team
may increase the likelihood of spread compared to sports with fewer team
Limit your team to a core group of participants,
by restricting non-team players from joining when your team is short players
and not adding new members during the season.
Reduce physical closeness between players when possible
Maintain at least 6 feet between yourself and
your teammates, other competitors, and officials while actively participating
in the sport.
Focus on building individual skills, like
batting, dribbling, kicking, and strength training.
Avoid high fives, handshakes, fist bumps or
Keep space between players in the practice
areas, including on the sideline, dugout, and bench.
Wait in car or away from the playing area until
just before the warm-up period or the beginning of the game.
Avoid congregating in the parking lot or near
the field before or after games.
If it is not possible to avoid congregating,
practice social distancing by ensuring there is at least 6 feet between
If social distancing is not possible, wear a
mask whenever possible to reduce risk of virus transmission.
Space out spectators by 6 feet
Limit nonessential visitors, spectators, and
volunteers. Ensure they wear masks and maintain social distancing.
Wear a mask if possible
Wear a mask if feasible, especially when it is
difficult to stay less than 6 feet apart from other people or indoors, for
example in close contact sports such as basketball.
Lower intensity sports: Emphasize wearing masks
and practicing social distancing for lower intensity sports.
Higher intensity sports: People who are engaged
in high intensity activities, like running, may not be able to wear a mask if
it causes difficulty breathing.
If unable to wear a mask, consider conducting
the activity in a location with greater ventilation and air exchange (for
instance, outdoors versus indoors) and where it is possible to maintain
physical distance from others.
In situations where individuals might raise
their voices, such as shouting or chanting, we strongly encourage wearing
For youth athletes, parents, coaches, and sports
administrators should decide if the kids need to wear a mask.
It is not known if face shields provide any
benefit as source control to protect others from the spray of respiratory
particles. CDC does not recommend use of face shields for normal everyday activities
or as a substitute for masks.
Minimize sharing of equipment or gear
Encourage players to bring their own equipment
if possible, like gloves, balls, and helmets.
Limit the use of frequently touched surfaces on
the field, court, or play surface.
Bring your own water to minimize use and
touching of drinking fountains.
Clean and disinfect shared items between use.
Don’t share towels, clothing, or any items used
to wipe your face or hands.
Avoid sharing food, drink containers (e.g.,
coolers), and utensils.
Cover your coughs and sneezes.
When coughing or sneezing, use a tissue or the
inside of your elbow. Used tissues should be thrown away and hands washed
immediately with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer
with 60% alcohol.
If soap and water are not readily available,
hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol can be used.
Wash your hands with soap and water for at least
20 seconds or use hand sanitizer with 60% alcohol.
Before and after you play.
Before adjusting your mask—review information
about proper use, removal, and washing of masks.
Limit travel outside of your area
Consider competing against teams in your local
area (neighborhood, town, or community).
Checklist for coaches
Send a welcome email or call parents (for youth players) and/or players. Inform them about actions that the sports program will take to protect players. Remind them to stay home if sick or if they have been around someone who is sick.
Be a role model. Wear a mask and encourage family members, fans, officials, and sports staff to wear one during practices and games.
Provide hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol to players before and after practice/game and encourage them to wash their hands with soap and water.
Educate players about covering coughs and sneezes with a tissue or their elbow. Discourage spitting.
youths practicing basketball
Encourage players to focus on building individual skills
Remind players about social distancing and identify markers (such as signage or tape on floor).
Encourage your players to focus on building their individual skills and cardiovascular conditioning, so they can limit close contact with other players.
Check with your sports administrator to make sure they are following cleaning and disinfection recommendations.
Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces on field, court, or play surface (such as drinking fountains) at least daily or between use.
Clean and disinfect shared equipment.
If you have questions or concerns about your child participating in sports this fall, make an appointment to talk it over with yout pediatric provider.
CDC offers the following tips for staying safe and slowing the spread of COVID-19 while scheduling services or repairs inside the home. This may include installation and repair of plumbing, electrical, heating, or air conditioning systems; painting; or cleaning services.
In general, the closer and longer you interact with others, the higher the risk of COVID-19 spread. Limiting close face-to-face contact and staying at least 6 feet away from other people is the best way to reduce the risk of COVID-19 infection, along with wearing masks and practicing everyday preventive actions. Before welcoming service providers into your home, consider these tips to help keep you, your family, and the service provider safe during in-home services or repairs:
Before the visit
Check with your local health department to see if there is a stay-at-home order in your state or local community that restricts non-essential activities or services. If a stay-at-home order is in effect in your community, consider if the service request is essential or if it can be delayed.
If you or someone in your home has COVID-19, has symptoms consistent with COVID-19, or has been in close contact with someone who has COVID-19, wait to schedule non-emergency services that require entry into your home until it is safe to be around others.
If you or someone in your home is at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19, such as older adults or those with underlying medical conditions, consider not being inside the home during the service, or find someone else who can be in the home instead.
Do as much of the pre-service consultation as possible before the service provider arrives, to reduce the amount of time the service provider spends inside your home. For example, discuss the details of the service request on the phone or by email, and send pictures ahead of time.
Discuss any COVID-19 precautions the service provider is taking, including the use of masks for the duration of the service visit, any pre-screening procedures (such as temperature checks) and using the restroom during the service call.
During the visit
Do not allow service providers to enter your home if they seem sick or are showing symptoms of COVID-19.
Ask the service provider to wear a mask before entering your home and during the service visit. Also, you and other household members should wear a mask. Consider having clean, spare masks to offer to service providers if their cloth face covering becomes wet, contaminated or otherwise soiled during the service call.
Avoid physical greetings, for example, handshakes.
Minimize indoor conversations. All conversations with the service providers should take place outdoors, when possible, and physically distanced indoors, if necessary.
Maintain a distance of at least 6 feet from the service provider, and limit interactions between the service provider and other household members and pets.
During indoor services, take steps to maximize ventilation inside the home, such as turning on the air conditioner or opening windows in the area.
After the visit
If possible, use touchless payment options or pay over the phone to avoid touching money, a card, or a keypad. If you must handle money, a card, or use a keypad, wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol after paying.
After the service is completed, clean and disinfect any surfaces in your home that may have been touched by the service provider.
If you have symptoms of COVID-19 and need to be tested, Save Your Spot at Fever and Upper Respiratory Illness Clinic at an IHA Urgent Care near you.
Who could have imagined the struggles that all of us would encounter from this unprecedented global pandemic? Not only has it brought our state and country great economic stress, but it also has changed how healthcare services will be delivered forevermore.
Early in the crisis, IHA’s healthcare providers and staff took multiple steps to help our community respond to the pandemic. Within a matter of days, our medical group opened drive-thru testing sites, implemented a free on-line COVID screening tool, and designated locations where patients with fevers and upper respiratory symptoms could be treated. Additionally, we rolled-out video appointments for all our patients and began piloting home care visits for our most vulnerable patients.
These are complicated times with rapidly changing standards, which is why IHA has been providing regular updates to our staff and providers, as well as our patients. In a matter of weeks, IHA has addressed the most significant and complex changes to face healthcare in our lifetime, but we are not done. We are moving toward what many are calling the “new normal.”
Staying safe in the “new normal”. Video appointments continue to be our primary method used to treat patients. Since launching this service just a few weeks ago, we have completed nearly 25,000 video appointments. The decline in new COVID cases is enabling IHA to reconnect in-person with patients whose appointments, surgeries or outpatient procedures were cancelled. Over the next two weeks, our physicians and practitioners will slowly increase the number of in-person appointments they offer and surgeries they perform. As we reopen more offces, we want to assure you that we are committed to being both responsive and responsible, navigating these unusual times with everyone’s safety in mind.
Numerous safeguards and quality measures are in place across IHA to care for COVID and Non-COVID patients. These include our use of telehealth visits which are actively being embraced by our patients and our providers alike.
IHA is following CDC guidelines and has put additional cleaning and screening processes in place to keep anyone entering an IHA building safe. These processes include requiring all staff and patients to wear masks and having their temperature checked before entering a practice. Along with maintaining appropriate social distancing, items such as hand sanitizer and tissues will be prominent in every location.
Saving lives, improving quality of life.
Our difficult journey is not over, but we must look to the future. Children need to maintain their immunization schedules, older adults or those with complex medical issues need their health and medications regularly monitored, and further delaying surgeries or exploratory procedures may cause serious harm or lead to other health problems. The steps we are following to reopen are being implemented with extreme care and will be constantly evaluated. As a member of Saint Joseph Mercy Health System, we are working together on safety and security protocols. We have developed COVID-Free Zones, areas where we provide care only for people not known to have COVID-19 or COVID symptoms. We wish to assure the community that our healthcare delivery system is working closer than ever to keep your health and wellness at the center of everything.
Over the past two months, no one industry has learned more than healthcare about the need to change and adapt quickly in order to care for those we serve. Our lives have drastically changed but fulfilling IHA’s mission of healing will remain with us forever. Please know that we stand ready to care for you. IHA’s motto “our family caring for yours” has never meant more to us than it does today.
We encourage you to call your provider’s office or visit ihacares.com today to learn about the many ways we can connect and safely provide the care that you need. IHA is here for you.
Recommended precautions for household members, intimate partners, and caregivers of COVID-19 patients
Close contacts of COVID-19 patients should follow these recommendations: • Make sure that you understand and can help the patient follow their healthcare provider’s instructions for medication(s) and care. You should help the patient with basic needs in the home and provide support for getting groceries, prescriptions, and otherpersonal needs. • Monitor the patient’s symptoms. If the patient is getting sicker, call his or her healthcare provider and tell them that the patient has laboratory-confirmed COVID-19. This will help the healthcare provider’s office take steps to keep other people in the office or waiting room from getting infected. Ask the healthcare provider to call the local or state health department for additional guidance. If the patient has a medical emergency and you need to call 911, notify the dispatch personnel that the patient has, or is being evaluated for COVID-19. • Household members should stay in another room or be separated from the patient as much as possible. Household members should use a separate bedroom and bathroom, if available. • Prohibit visitors who do not have an essential need to be in the home. • Household members should care for any pets in the home. Do not handle pets or other animals while sick. • Make sure that shared spaces in the home have good air flow, such as by an air conditioner or an opened window, weather permitting. • Perform hand hygiene frequently. Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains 60 to 95% alcohol, covering all surfaces of your hands and rubbing them together until they feel dry. Soap and water should be used preferentially if hands are visibly dirty. • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands. • The patient should wear a facemask when you are around other people. If the patient is not able to wear a facemask (for example, because it causes trouble breathing), you, as the caregiver, should wear a mask when you are in the same room as the patient. • Wear a disposable facemask and gloves when you touch or have contact with the patient’s blood, stool, or body fluids, such as saliva, sputum, nasal mucus, vomit, urine. • Throw out disposable facemasks and gloves after using them. Do not reuse. • When removing personal protective equipment, first remove and dispose of gloves. Then, immediately clean your hands with soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Next, remove and dispose of facemask, and immediately clean your hands again with soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizer. • Avoid sharing household items with the patient. You should not share dishes, drinking glasses, cups, eating utensils, towels, bedding, or other items. After the patient uses these items, you should wash them thoroughly (see below “Wash laundry thoroughly”). • Clean all “high-touch” surfaces, such as counters, tabletops, doorknobs, bathroom fixtures, toilets, phones, keyboards, tablets, and bedside tables, every day. Also, clean any surfaces that may have blood, stool, or body fluids on them. • Use a household cleaning spray or wipe, according to the label instructions. Labels contain instructions for safe and effective use of the cleaning product including precautions you should take when applying the product, such as wearing gloves and making sure you have good ventilation during use of the product. • Wash laundry thoroughly. • Immediately remove and wash clothes or bedding that have blood, stool, or body fluids on them. • Wear disposable gloves while handling soiled items and keep soiled items away from your body. Clean your hands (with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer) immediately after removing your gloves.
• Read and follow directions on labels of laundry or clothing items and detergent. In general, using a normal laundry detergent according to washing machine instructions and dry thoroughly using the warmest temperatures recommended on the clothing label. • Place all used disposable gloves, facemasks, and other contaminated items in a lined container before disposing of them with other household waste. Clean your hands (with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer) immediately after handling these items. Soap and water should be used preferentially if hands are visibly dirty. • Discuss any additional questions with your state or local health department or healthcare provider. Check available hours when contacting your local health department.
If you or someone you know has symptoms of COVID-19, take our free online screening today.