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Jefferson County Public Health on staying safe while allowing workers in your home.

HOLLY M. GILL/MADRAS PIONEER - Jefferson County Public HealthThe recent removal of Jefferson County from the governor's COVID-19 Watch List provides another opportunity for our community to move forward through this global pandemic toward the normal that we once knew.

However, as COVID-19 has shown us in the past, we cannot move forward too quickly. To do so after all the progress that has been made could result in an increase in cases, an overwhelming of the hospital system, additional economic impacts, and the devastating loss of additional life. Continuing to practice physical distancing, wearing of masks/face covering, and increasing hygiene, should remain part of our new normal for months to come.

When reviewing the data and overall numbers, Jefferson County continues to see the spread of COVID-19 a little different locally in comparison to the state or nation as whole. While many of the larger outbreaks we've seen reported in the news are associated with large commercial workplaces, restaurants/pubs, or long-term care facilities, locally we continue to see social gathering and families are the primary method of spread. The reason is quite simple; we feel safe with our families in our own homes.

Besides friends and families, we also open up our homes to a variety of other people. Maintenance professionals, plumbers, electricians and apartment managers can be frequent guests in many of our homes. During this pandemic (and during other times of illness), it is essential we do everything we can to keep ourselves, our families, and visitors safe and limit any possible exposure to COVID-19.

There are things we can do for ourselves and things we can ask of the service provider to keep ourselves healthy. First, consider your own overall health. If you or someone in your home is at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19, consider not being inside the home during the service or having a family member or friend be there for you.

Also consider 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, you may wait to schedule services until you know it is safe. Do not allow service providers to enter your home if they seem sick or are showing symptoms of COVID-19.

Whenever expecting a service provider, wear your mask/face covering and ask the service provider to wear theirs as well when entering your home. Avoid physical greetings, for example, handshakes. During the visit or appointment, try to minimize indoor conversations and maintain at least 6 feet of physical distance from the service provider.

After the visit or appointment, clean and disinfect any surfaces in your home that may have been touched by the service provider. Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol after paying. Additionally, use touchless payment options or pay over the phone at a later time for the service if this is an option.

For service providers, keeping both clients and staff safe should be a priority. As a service provider, it is recommended that you ensure your client or customer follow the guidelines in home visits and that you wear proper personal protective equipment to protect yourself during all service calls. Do not work if you are having symptoms consistent with COVID-19 (or any other illness) and contact your primary care provider. Do not work with clients/customers in person until at least 14 days after your last possible exposure to the virus. Best practice would be to take your temperature before the start of each work shift. Stay home if you have a fever of 100.4F or greater.

Before going into someone's home, call your client or customer and ask them if they are experiencing symptoms consistent with COVID-19 or if they have had recent exposure to a person with COVID-19. If your client/customer has been exposed, has symptoms, or tests positive for COVID-19, cancel your in-person appointment (unless you are an essential caregiver or aid). Encourage your client/customer to contact their healthcare provider or help them contact their provider, if assistance is needed.

While providing service, ensure physically distancing by staying at least 6 feet away from clients/customers and others in clients/customer's home when possible. Avoid physical greetings, for example, handshakes. During the visit or appointment, try to minimize indoor conversations and maintain at least 6 feet of physical distance from the client/customer. Do not touch your eyes, nose or mouth.

After the service is completed, offer touchless payment options or payment over the phone, through mailing invoice, or at a later time for the service if this is an option. Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. You do not need to wear gloves if you wash your hands often (unless they are already required for your job or specific job-related tasks). Disinfect any equipment or tools that may have been utilized during the service call or visit.

If at any point while in a customer's home you develop any symptoms consistent with COVID-19, keep your mask on to inform the customer and immediately leave the home. If you develop symptoms after leaving the customer's home, contact your employer and inform them of the situation and contact your primary care provider for follow up. If you test positive for COVID-19, you or your employer will need to notify any clients/customers you visited during the period from two days before your symptoms started (or two days before your test if you are asymptomatic) until you meet criteria to discontinue isolation.

Jefferson County Public Health reminds you to Mask Up. Back Up. And Wash Up!


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