Every health organization, including the CDC and WHO, is recommending social distancing in the United States right now. It might be the best way to reduce community spread of coronavirus (COVID-19). Gov. John Carney has expanded the state-of-emergency, places that used to be gathering places — bars, restaurants — should be closing their dining areas and focusing on take-out service.
Dr. Bill Chasanov and Dr. Scott Olewiler of Beebe Infectious Disease & Travel Medicine went live on Beebe Healthcare’s Facebook page on Monday, March 16, to discuss common questions about COVID-19, and here is their key advice regarding social distancing.
Q. An important and timely topic right now is social distancing. Dr. Chasanov, can you explain what is social distancing?
A. Dr. Chasanov: Social distancing is a term that it used to try and keep people with a little bit of distance between themselves. It is especially helpful at a time of having an infection of like COVID-19.
We recommend that people stay away from each other (about 6 feet), avoid large gatherings, which we are hoping people will avoid. We are asking people to avoid crowds, basically to stay away from people who may be sick and definitely to stay away from people who are exhibiting signs of illness.
This is a little bit tricky, because this may ask people to change their routine. Places they might go that have a lot of people there, we’re asking them to rethink that. Maybe they don’t want to go to a place where there is going to be 50 people. They might want to stay away from that.
Q. Dr. Olewiler, why is this method of social distancing going to be important in our community?
A. Dr. Olewiler: It’s important because what we are trying to do is prevent community spread of this virus. Community spread means the virus spreading from person to person throughout our county without any really travel outside of it. With social distancing, we probably won’t eliminate all spread. The virus will have a case here and there throughout the county, but what we can do, is limit the velocity of spread.
We are very prepared to handle critically-ill patients here at Beebe Healthcare, but what no hospital can prepare for is a sudden flood of 10,000 people all sick at once. Trying to use social distancing is what we think will help limit that velocity to something that is manageable.
For more information, visit www.beebehealthcare.org/public-health-information. Additional resources are available at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/communication/factsheets.html.