These are truly unprecedented times.  COVID-19, or the coronavirus, has upended life as we know it.  You can’t turn on the television or radio without hearing about it…everything from the lack of testing kits and protective equipment for health care workers, to national and state mandates to help slow the spread of the disease, to the latest count of confirmed cases and, unfortunately, deaths.

It seems like on almost a daily basis, new restrictions are being put in place.  We’ve gone from no gatherings with groups of 500 or more people to 200 to 100 to 50.  Sporting events went from competing with limited crowds to no crowds to postponed or canceled. Schools were called off for a week then two weeks and now until at least May 1.  Businesses, especially small ones, have been crippled financially because restrictions have greatly limited their ability to operate or even at all.  And, we’ve all seen how the stock market has reacted.

In short, this is tough…tough for all of us.  I just recently got back from vacation in Arizona and, upon return, was placed under a 14-day quarantine for out-of-state travel.  Is this something I wanted?  Of course not.  I feel fine.  But as we’ve learned with this disease, you can be a carrier without symptoms.  It’s highly contagious.  So, if I were unknowingly a carrier, I wouldn’t want to inadvertently pass along the virus to someone more susceptible to the disease which may cause them harm.

I’m following the quarantine.  It’s the right thing to do.  And that’s what I wanted to talk about- the right thing to do.

Be grateful we aren’t on total lockdown as people were in parts of China and now in Italy.  Be thankful we aren’t under “shelter-in-place” restrictions requiring people to stay at home.  However, we can all do our part to help limit our exposure and transmission of the disease.

First, we need to understand the virus is believed to spread mainly person-to-person, typically within six feet or less, by respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.  This is according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.  With that said, you can take theses steps to help protect yourself and others:

Avoid close contact and stay away from those who are at greater risk of getting very sick (older adults, pregnant women and those with underlying medical conditions such as heart disease, lung disease, asthma and diabetes).

Wash your hands often with soap and hot water for at least 20 seconds.  This especially should be done after being in a public place, blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing.  A hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol can be used as well.  Make sure you cover your entire hands and rub them together until they feel dry.

Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue or the inside of your elbow.  Throw tissues away and immediately wash your hands.

If you are sick, stay home and, if sick, wear a facemask if you absolutely have to be around other people.

Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily: light switches, doorknobs, handles, table and countertops, desks, keyboards, phones, toilets, sinks, etc.

Limit your travel.  We aren’t under mandatory travel restrictions but it’s sound advice to limit your travel until further notice.

Many businesses and organizations in Rising Sun have taken preventative measures to limit exposure to the public.  You’ll find a list of who is open and closed on the city’s website. Please support them in any way you can.  For the time being, city services will continue as usual, but I ask you to help us out and limit your visits to city offices and facilities to only when they are absolutely necessary.  Your cooperation is appreciated.

Lastly, please be kind to one another.  I know this virus has created a great deal of stress for all of us.  But there is no reason to take out that stress and even anger on others.  Remember, we’re all in this together and we’ll get through it together.  Please, be kind.

Steve Slack
Mayor of Rising Sun