We wanted to take a moment to acknowledge and share some information about the current situation with Coronavirus (COVID-19).
First off, it is not a time to panic but it is a time to prepare.
This week the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said to expect community spread of the novel coronavirus in the United States which we are now seeing. As COVID-19 spreads more widely it can and will cause disruptions to our daily lives. No one expects to be without critical services such as power or water, but you may be advised to spend less time in public.
The virus isn’t deadly for the majority of our population, and for many, wouldn’t be any more bothersome than a bad cold. BUT, this virus has caused deaths, and it is for the most at risk among us that WE need to act. In order to protect our community, we need to act collectively to minimize the spread and effect of this virus.
What is the Coronavirus?
Coronaviruses, first documented in the 1960’s, are a family of viruses which, most of the time, cause symptoms similar to a bad cold, causing mild to moderate upper respiratory problems such as a runny nose and sore throat. Unfortunately, they can also be potentially deadly, such as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), which occurred in the early 2000’s infecting over 8,000 people and killing over 800, and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), first found in Saudi Arabia in 2012, with 2,500 infected and over 800 deaths.
The latest coronavirus, COVID-19 (2019-CoV) was first identified in Wuhan, China last year. While the death rate is far less than SARS (10%) and MERS (30%), COVID-19 has spread much more than those two. As of February, 28th we’re nearing 90,000 documented infected people around the globe, and so the death rate of over 2% has meant that nearly 3,000 people have already died worldwide.
The spreading of the virus occurs by direct contact with infected individuals, or touching or coming in contact with droplets from sneezes and coughs. While there are no cures or vaccines for the COVID-19, there are several steps one can take to try to avoid the virus and also strengthen your immune system to make sure that if you do contract the virus you increase the odds of recovering.
What is the Alameda Marketplace doing?
As of today, we are providing portable sinks at all entrances to the building. The sinks come with soap, paper towels, and water. We encourage you to wash your hands before entering the building.
We will have team members frequently wiping down door handles, countertops, common area tables, shopping cart handles, and baskets during the day.
As supplies are available, we also have wipes available for customers to wipe their carts down as well.
Hand sanitizer is available in several spots in the building, and all vendors are required to provide hand wipes and/or sanitizer at their counters with separate disposal baskets for them
Any employees of the building with fever or cough are required to stay home.
We already do, but we’re reminding all employees to wash their hands multiple times a day with warm water and soap.
We are looking at solutions to provide alternative hand drying options and access to our restrooms to minimize hand contact.
What you can do to protect yourself.
Wash your hands. This is the simplest and most effective thing you can do. Frequent hand washing, even with just soap and warm water, is important for protecting against all infectious diseases, and using hand sanitizers and disinfectants can reduce viral spread by over 85%.
Avoid touching your face.
If you cough or sneeze, do so into a handkerchief or the inside of your elbow.
Disinfect surfaces – Coronaviruses can persist on surfaces for up to 9 days! Make sure you disinfect surfaces in your home, especially if you think someone might be infected.
You don’t need to wear a face mask if you’re well, but you should if you are sick.
The CDC “does not recommend that people who are well wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory illnesses, including COVID-19. You should only wear a mask if a healthcare professional recommends it.”
You/Your daily routine may be out of commission for a few weeks so get the things you need to manage that. If you’re sick, if your workplace is closed, if schools are shut down, or we’re otherwise advised to stay in some sort of quarantined state we won’t be able to make frequent trips out. You’re advised to purchase a few weeks worth of food, supplies, and essentials like your prescriptions.
Strengthen Immunity – Unfortunately those folks who are older and/or are immune compromised have a much higher rate of death from all viruses, and so doing what you can to strengthen your immune system is vital.
Get your vaccines and flu shots. While there isn’t one for COVID-19 protecting yourself from preventable diseases and illnesses keeps you and your community safer by preventing their spread.
Strategies to Boost your Immune System
Exercise, stress relief, a balanced diet and certain supplements are all effective ways to boost your immune system:
Exercise – Regular exercise mobilizes T cells, a type of white blood cells which guard the body against infection. However, continuous rigorous workouts can actually weaken the immune system, so moderation is a key.
Sleep – A solid 7-8 hours is needed to avoid reducing the activities of T cells in your body.
Less Stress – Stress can release the hormone cortisol, which negatively affects T cell reproduction. Try yoga, meditation or deep breathing each day to reduce your stress levels.
Moderate Alcohol intake – while moderate consumption of alcohol can positively affect overall health, excess intake (more than 2 drinks/day) can negatively affect the immune system.
Stop smoking – Smoking impairs the immune system, and you have a significantly higher chance of being seriously affected by virus infections.
Healthier Diet – Vegetables, fruits, seeds and nuts are loaded with nutrients essential to immune health. A diet rich in colorful food typically will be higher in valuable vitamins.
These foods all can help you strengthen your immune system:
- Red Bell Peppers
- Green Tea
- Sunflower Seeds
Herbs, Vitamins and Supplements – While the hope is you can get many needed nutrients from your diet, supplementing can help improve your immune system. Here are just a few things you may want to include in your daily regime:
◦ Echinacea, Elderberry & Zinc
◦ Vitamins A, B6, C, D & E all help strengthen your immune system, and especially Vitamin C, which you can get from citrus fruits, spinach and strawberries. And although it’s cold here now, consider getting outside during sunny days to help your body produce more Vitamin D. Even just 15 minutes in the sunlight will help!
◦ Mushrooms and mushroom supplements – rich in essential nutrients and very good for your immune system.
We sincerely hope that the spread of COVID-19 is contained and dealt with as soon as possible and with the least amount of disruption. However, we are actively taking more concerted steps to prevent the spread and protect our most vulnerable populations and encourage you to do the same. These are all good habits to practice and be mindful of for your personal health, as well as that of our community.
Special thanks to Joe Nolan of Good Harvest Market in Pewaukee, WI who shared their announcement and from which large portions of this text were copied .