Kane County Health Department: Now Is The Time To Help Save Lives! 'Social Distancing' Isn't Just About 6 Feet of Space

Kane County Health Department: Now Is The Time To Help Save Lives! ‘Social Distancing’ Isn’t Just About 6 Feet of Space

  • Editor’s Note: Kane County Health Department Epidemiologist Louise Lie is our local expert on the branch of medicine that deals with the incidence, distribution, and possible control of diseases. This article shares her advice and insights on the COVID-19 emergency.

The impending threat of the COVID-19 pandemic to our community is here.

The Illinois Department of Public Health announced on Wednesday (March 25) 1,865 positive cases and 19 deaths. The city of Aurora announced its first death on Tuesday, as well.

These unprecedented times are calling for what seems like drastic measures, specifically social distancing to “flatten the curve” of the pandemic.

Scientific modelling studies are showing that social distancing — canceling large gatherings, closing schools and offices and even quarantining whole cities will be the best way to stop the spread of COVID-19.

The coronavirus can be spread within 6 feet if someone coughs, so by increasing the social space between people, you can slow the spread of the virus. These measures result in extending the time over which people get sick in order to make sure that our health care capacity is able to accommodate everyone who needs care.

This is important so that we do not see a huge flux of sick people seeking healthcare at the same time, putting pressure on our already fragile health care system.

Social Distancing ‘Is Like a Vaccine’

Social distancing means more than just keeping space between you and your neighbor, friend or co-worker: It’s about limiting your time spent in public spaces and avoiding unnecessary social interactions and potential for disease transmission.

The vulnerable (older people and those with serious underlying conditions) should stay home, visits to nursing homes and long-term care facilities should be limited, day cares and group settings should be avoided if possible.

In the same way that a vaccine protects an individual from a disease and the population (through herd immunity), so too does social distancing. By practicing social distancing, you are looking out for you by giving yourself the best chance to avoid getting sick as well as stopping transmission of COVID-19 on to the most vulnerable in our community.

The social isolation of keeping your family at home and away from family and friends can be hard on everyone particularly in these uncertain times.

Kate McCormack, licensed clinical social worker at the Kane County Health Department, says changing people’s behaviors and routines is hard, especially for children and young people.

“It is important for everyone to give themselves time to adjust to this new challenge,” she said. “As you begin to implement social distancing focus on meeting your basic needs-eat three meals a day, get enough rest, take walks, and talk to family and friends on the phone. Be proud of yourself and know that you are helping your community in this stressful time.”

The Kane County Health Department strongly encourages every reader to fully engage in social distancing practices to protect your own health as well as that of the community.

Kane County is stronger together.