Romano Law Nurse Corner #14
Getting Back to Life with COVID-19: Assessing Your Activity Risk
Life is likely not returning to “normal” anytime soon. Whether we acknowledge it or not, nothing is as it was before we had COVID-19 to grapple with. In our view, acceptance is the key. If we collectively accept and adapt to our new “normal” lives will be saved. Seeing so many people without a mask and failing to take other safety precautions is disheartening to these writers. Our masks protect you, your mask protects us.
We all want to resume life “outside”. Most of us are tired of staying at home. We all want our economy up and running. More than that, we all want to stay safe, alive and healthy as possible. Steps taken to avoid COVID-19 infection and transmission, keeps our loved ones and others a safe as possible.
With the many varied plans in motion for reopening economies, there remains confusing guidance on what activities are “safe” or “not safe”. Each of us are best served by assessing our individual risk for activities we engage in. One thing is for sure; reopening does not mean there is no risk. This virus is here to stay for the foreseeable future. We have already experienced numbers of infected patients steadily rising since reopening began.
The Center for Disease Control urges people to consider the following before engaging in activities outside your home:
- How many people will you interact with?
- Interacting with more people raises your risk.
- Being in a group with people who aren’t social distancing or wearing cloth face coverings increases your risk.
- Engaging with new people (e.g., those who don’t live with you) also raises your risk.
- Some people have the virus and don’t have any symptoms, and it is not yet known how often people without symptoms can transmit the virus to others.
- Can you keep 6 feet of space between you and others? Will you be outdoors or indoors?
- The closer you are to other people who may be infected, the greater your risk of getting sick.
- Keeping distance from other people is especially important for people who are at higher risk for severe illness, such as older adults and those with underlying medical conditions.
- Indoor spaces are riskier than outdoor spaces where it might be harder to keep people apart and there’s less ventilation.
- What’s the length of time that you will be interacting with people?
- Spending more time with people who may be infected increases your risk of becoming infected.
- Spending more time with people increases their risk of becoming infected if there is any chance that you may already be infected.
The CDC also recommends that we consider the following to help determine your level of risk:
- Is COVID-19 spreading in my community-be aware of your local news.
- What are the local orders in my community?
- Will the activity put me in close contact with others?
- Am I at risk for severe illness?
- Do I live with someone who is at risk for severe illness?
- Do I practice everyday preventive actions?
- Will I have to share any items, equipment, or tools with other people?
- Will I need to take public transportation?
- Does my activity require travel to another community?
- Do I know what to do if I get sick?
More specific activity tips are available on the CDC website: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/activities.html
In places such as restaurants and hair salons, making the environment safe falls mostly on store owners, however as a customer you can make sure certain precautions are in place. Of course, if you have to go to these places, you can do your part to decrease risk by wearing a mask and staying 6 feet apart from others. Obviously, at a restaurant you cannot eat with your mask, however you can make sure that you are 6 feet apart from others and that the staff is doing their part with masks and sanitary practices. If a business is not doing their part for safety, you can choose to simply not go there.
An article published June 8, 2020 on “Michigan Live” website ranks 36 activities by coronavirus risk level, using a group of public health experts in that state. Bars, gyms, concerts/sporting events, amusement parks, churches, and buffets pose the highest risk. While beaches and pools do not pose a threat in terms necessarily for water transmission, they are risky when they are crowded and people are not socially distanced.
Each activity has multiple factors which all need to be evaluated in assessing your own personal risk. For a complete listing of these activities and the full text of this interesting article: https://www.mlive.com/public-interest/2020/06/from-hair-salons-to-gyms-experts-rank-36-activities-by-coronavirus-risk-level.html
So, we recommend that consider all the factors when you decide what you are willing to do as we reopen. If you want have a small get together, do it outdoors. If at least 6 feet of distance between people in spaces, (in particular indoors) is not possible, always make sure you wear a mask. Continue diligent handwashing and wiping of surfaces. These precautions have made a difference in reducing the spread and will continue to make a difference if folks continue (or begin) these safety practices. Again our mask protects you, your makes protects me (or my loved ones). Be aware and look around, and as we have been saying, we are all in this together.
We are Susan Ramsey and Amie Goldberg, both practicing attorneys and nurses here at the Romano Law Group. Here is a little more about each of us:
Susan Ramsey is both an attorney and an RN. Ms. Ramsey’s professional experience began as a Registered Nurse in the Intensive Care Unit at Yale New Haven Hospital. While pursuing her Bachelor’s Degree, she was a counselor with the New Haven Rape Crisis Program. During her time with the Program, Ms. Ramsey counseled sexual assault survivors and performed seminars for local police departments, universities, and high schools. During her time working as a registered nurse, Ms. Ramsey decided to attend law school. Ms. Ramsey graduated from CUNY Law School, and has practiced law in several different State and Federal Courts. She is a Florida Heath Care Risk Manager and a member of the Palm Beach County Sober Home Task Force. Ms. Ramsey actively litigates cases involving catastrophic injuries and wrongful death on behalf of survivors, cases include injuries suffered by victims of professional negligence, product liability and medical negligence.
Amie Goldberg is both an attorney and a certified APRN. After completing a Bachelor of Arts Degree at Whittier College, Ms. Goldberg attended nursing school at Emory University. Ms. Goldberg’s professional experience started as a Registered Nurse at Egleston Children’s Hospital taking care of children with congenital heart disease. After a few years, she continued working in all areas of the hospital while attending Kennesaw State University on weekends in order to get her Master’s Degree in Nursing with a specialty of Primary Care Nurse Practitioner/Family Nurse Practitioner. During her time as an APRN, Ms. Goldberg decided to attend law school at St. Thomas University in Miami, Florida. Since graduating, she has mainly practiced in the areas of personal injury and worker’s compensation, fighting for the rights of injured people. Since joining the Romano Law Group, Ms. Goldberg has been the Director of the Opioid Litigation Project. Ms. Goldberg also practices in the area of
medical malpractice and nursing home negligence, bringing an inside perspective and knowledge to help get justice for our clients.