PC Emergency Management Offers Guidelines

Mike Seals - April 29, 2020 11:16 pm

Paula Cain, Ponca City Emergency Management Director, offers the following information for the reopening of Ponca City:

Hands are villages to thousands of germs, including bacteria and viruses. All it takes is a friendly
handshake to spread respiratory diseases like COVID-19. Respiratory droplets from coughs and sneezes can also spread these germs, as can touching surfaces like doorknobs and phones where those droplets may have landed. Below is a review of all the elements of effective hand washing:

Use Soap
– Soap and water together, with rubbing, is what helps rinse organisms off your hands. Don’t
worry about removing hand jewelry, those need to be washed, too.
– Soap acts as a surfactant: a substance that helps release bacteria’s grip from your hand when
water is added. Usually, half a teaspoon of liquid soap is enough, or a glob about the size of a
quarter, although bigger hands might need more.
– The CDC says studies haven’t shown that soaps with antibacterial ingredients provide any health
benefits or remove more germs than plain soaps. All soaps, however, can deactivate a
coronavirus so it can no longer infect you.

Scrub All Surfaces of Your Hands
– People on average wash their hands for only about six seconds, according to several studies.
Twenty (20) seconds is what’s recommended—or, the length of the “Happy Birthday” song sung
twice. And even 20 seconds is not helpful if you’re not washing the right places – It’s about
quality, not quantity. The most vulnerable parts of your hands are your fingertips, between
your fingers, the backs of your hands, and under your nails.
– Scrubbing too hard or too frequently can damage your skin by making it dry and more
susceptible to cracking. Cuts and cracks give germs the perfect spot to set up shop. To avoid skin
damage, use a moisturizer after washing.
– Studies have shown that water temperature doesn’t affect how many germs are removed. The
CDC says warm or cold water will do, but some experts warn that when water is too hot, it can
also damage skin.

Dry Your Hands Completely
– Dry your hands as thoroughly as you can, because moist hands give living organisms a better
chance of surviving and spreading to others.

Use Alcohol-Based Sanitzers in a Pinch
–  If you’re on the go, alcohol-based sanitizers are great alternatives to soap and water. They
cannot kill all viruses, but a sanitizer can kill any coronavirus on your hands as long as it’s made
up of at least 60 percent alcohol. Plain rubbing alcohol also works, but sanitizers maintain a
balance of alcohol and other ingredients to help keep skin healthy and moisturized.
– It’s important to use enough sanitizer to cover the entire hand – one-half to one teaspoon.
Sanitizer also works only when it’s still wet, so give the product at least 10 seconds to complete
its job, then rub your hands together or let them air-dry.

Keeping space between you and others is one of the best tools we have to avoid being exposed to
COVID-19 and slowing its spread.

COVID-19 spreads mainly among people who are in close contact (within about 6 feet) for a prolonged period. Spread happens when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or talks, and droplets from their mouth or nose are launched into the air and land in the mouths or noses of people nearby. The droplets can also be inhaled into the lungs.
Recent studies indicate that people who are infected, but do not have symptoms, likely also play a role in the spread of COVID-19.

It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or eyes. However, this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads. COVID-19 can live for hours or days on a surface, depending on factors such as sun light and humidity.
Social distancing helps limit contact with infected people and contaminated surfaces.

How to Social Distance
Social distancing means keeping space between yourself and other people outside of your home. To practice social or physical distancing:
– Stay at least 6 feet (about 2 arms’ length) from other people
– Do not gather in groups
– Stay out of crowded places and avoid mass gatherings
– Cover your mouth and nose with a cloth face cover when around others, including when you
have to go out in public.

Although the risk of severe illness may be different for everyone, anyone can get and spread
COVID-19. Everyone has a role to play in slowing the spread and protecting themselves, their
family, and their community.

CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain, especially in areas of significant community-based transmission.

CDC officials are warning that cloth face coverings are NOT a replacement for social distancing. People wearing cloth masks should wash their hands before putting it on their face covering.
CDC also advises the use of simple cloth face coverings to slow the spread of the virus and help people who may have the virus and do not know it from transmitting it to others. Cloth face coverings fashioned from household items or made at home from common materials at low cost can be used as an additional, voluntary public health measure.

Cloth face coverings should NOT be placed on young children under age 2, anyone who has trouble
breathing, or is unconscious, incapacitated, or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance.

The cloth face coverings recommended are not surgical masks or N-95 respirators. Those are critical supplies that must continue to be reserved for healthcare workers and other medical first responders, as recommended by current CDC guidance.

How to Wear a Cloth Face Covering

Cloth face coverings should:
– fit snugly but comfortably against the side of the face
– be secured with ties or ear loops
– include multiple layers of fabric
– allow for breathing without restriction
– be able to be laundered and machine dried without damage or change to shape
– be routinely washed depending on the frequency of use

A washing machine should suffice in properly washing a face covering.
To safely remove a used cloth face covering, individuals should be careful not to touch their eyes, nose, and mouth when removing their face covering and wash hands immediately after removing.
For more information on how to make you own face covering go to: www.cdc.gov.

Community members can practice routine cleaning of frequently touched surfaces (for example: tables, doorknobs, light switches, handles, desks, toilets, faucets, sinks) with household cleaners and EPAregistered disinfectants that are appropriate for the surface, following 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.

How to Clean and Disinfect Surfaces
– Wear disposable gloves when cleaning and disinfecting surfaces. Gloves should be discarded
after each cleaning. If reusable gloves are used, those gloves should be dedicated for cleaning
and disinfection of surfaces for COVID-19 and should not be used for other purposes. Consult
the manufacturer’s instructions for cleaning and disinfection products used. Clean hands
immediately after gloves are removed.
– If surfaces are dirty, they should be cleaned using a detergent or soap and water prior to
– For disinfection, diluted household bleach solutions, alcohol solutions with at least 70% alcohol,
and most common EPA-registered household disinfectants should be effective.
– Diluted household bleach solutions can be used if appropriate for the surface. Follow
manufacturer’s instructions for application and proper ventilation. Check to ensure the
product is not past its expiration date. Never mix household bleach with ammonia or any
other cleanser. Unexpired household bleach will be effective against coronaviruses when
properly diluted.
– Prepare a bleach solution by mixing 5 tablespoons (1/3 cup) bleach per gallon of water or 4 teaspoons bleach per quart of water.
– Products with EPA-approved emerging viral pathogens claims are expected to be effective
against COVID-19 based on data for harder to kill viruses. Follow the manufacturer’s
instructions for all cleaning and disinfection products (e.g., concentration, application
method and contact time, etc.)
– For soft (porous) surfaces such as carpeted floor, rugs, and drapes, remove visible
contamination if present and clean with appropriate cleaners indicated for use on these

After cleaning:
– Launder items as appropriate in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. If
possible, launder items using the warmest appropriate water setting for the items and
dry items completely, or Use products with the EPA-approved emerging viral pathogens
claims that are suitable for porous surfaces.

For more information, contact: Paula Cain, Emergency Management Director, 767-0380


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