JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas –
As the number of COVID-19 cases in San Antonio reached 1,000, it is as important as ever to continue following precautions to prevent more cases.
“As we see the light at the end of the tunnel with new case counts dropping and businesses beginning to reopen, we may jeopardize all of our hard-earned gains and sacrifice if we fail to continue to do our part,” said Col. Robert York, Joint Base San Antonio public health emergency officer.
“This is the time to double down, remembering good hand hygiene and avoiding touching of your face, eyes and mouth; wearing a mask that covers your nose and mouth when unable to practice physical distancing, and staying away from sick people and if you are ill, and don't go to work," York said. “Adherence to these rudimentary practices will protect yourself and others and will prevent us from backsliding into a larger outbreak. The end is in sight, and we must remain focused on our ultimate goal – beating COVID-19.”
A little of the glimmer at the end of the tunnel may be seen this week.
On April 17, Gov. Greg Abbott signed an Executive Order authorizing the re-opening of retail businesses effective April 24. These businesses may only complete sales for pickup, delivery by mail, or delivery to the customer’s doorstep, but customers may not enter the business. This applies to non-essential businesses only.
Before you venture out, you may want to review the Texas Department of Health and Safety guidance on how to re-open safely for both employees and customers at https://www.dshs.texas.gov/coronavirus/docs/ReOpenedRetailGuidance.pdf.
Additionally, here are some tips from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on how to venture out into public spaces.
Shopping for food and other household essentials
Order online or use curbside pickup
- Order food and other items online for home delivery or curbside pickup, if possible.
- Only visit the grocery store, or other stores selling household essentials, in person when you absolutely need to. This will limit your potential exposure to others and the virus that causes COVID-19.
- Try to go alone. Leave children and older family members at home, if possible.
Protect yourself while shopping
- Stay at least six feet away from others while shopping and in lines.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a cloth face covering when you have to go out in public. This is currently required in San Antonio. For information on DIY cloth face coverings, go to https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/diy-cloth-face-coverings.html.
- When you do have to visit in person, go during hours when fewer people will be there (for example, early morning or late night).
- If you are at higher risk (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/need-extra-precautions/people-at-higher-risk.html) for severe illness, find out if the store has special hours for people at higher risk. If they do, try to shop during those hours. People at higher risk for severe illness include adults 65 or older and people of any age who have serious underlying medical conditions.
- Disinfect (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/essential-goods-services.html) the shopping cart with disinfecting wipes if available.
- Do not touch your eyes, nose, or mouth.
- If possible, use touchless payment (pay without touching money, a card, or a keypad). If you must handle money, a card, or use a keypad, use hand sanitizer right after paying.
- After leaving the store, use a hand sanitizer that has at least 60 percent alcohol. When you get home, wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
- At home, follow food safety guidelines.
Accepting deliveries and takeout orders
- Limit in-person contact if possible.
- Pay online or on the phone when you order (if possible).
- Accept deliveries without in-person contact whenever possible. Ask for deliveries to be left in a safe spot outside your house, such as your front porch or lobby, with no person-to-person interaction. Otherwise, stay at least six feet away from the delivery person.
- Wash your hands or use hand sanitizer after accepting deliveries or collecting mail
- After receiving your delivery or bringing home your takeout food, wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use a hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol.
- After collecting mail from a post office or home mailbox, wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use a hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol.
- Bank online whenever possible.
- If you must visit the bank, use the drive-through ATM if one is available. Clean the ATM keyboard with a disinfecting wipe before you use it.
- When you are done, use a hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol. Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds when you get home.
- Use gloves or disinfecting wipes on handles or buttons before you touch them.
- After fueling, use a hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol.
- Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds when you get home or somewhere with soap and water.
Going to the doctor or getting medicine
- Talk to your doctor online, by phone, or e-mail.
- Use telemedicine, if available, or communicate with your doctor or nurse by phone or e-mail.
- Talk to your doctor about rescheduling procedures that are not urgently needed.
If you must visit in-person, protect yourself and others
Limit in-person visits to the pharmacy
- Plan to order and pick up all your prescriptions at the same time.
- If possible, call prescription orders in ahead of time. Use drive-thru windows, curbside services (wait in your car until the prescription is ready), mail-order, or other delivery services. Do the same for pet medicines.
- Check with your doctor and pharmacist to see if you can get a larger supply of your medicines so you do not have to visit the pharmacy as often.