Tips for Covid-19: Assessing Risk of Activities During “Re-opening”

As regions around the world “re-open” after quarantine in response to Covid-19, many are faced with decisions about how and where they will spend time at work, with extended family and friends, and at outdoor activities; who they can safely spend time with, and even how their children will return to school in a few weeks. When deciding the best plan for you or your family while reducing risk of contracting or spreading Covid-19 (especially in regions that are experiencing a surge in cases, or anticipating a second wave), there are several things to consider:

1. What are the local provisions where you live? Are masks required? Are there other limits or restrictions for entry into public places, or to travel destinations? What is your level of comfort as it relates to risk (this is important!)?

2. What is your or your family’s specific health situation? Are any of you considered to be at increased risk for negative health outcomes of Covid-19 (e.g., elderly, immune-compromised, diagnosed with a respiratory illness, or someone employed as an essential worker)? The World Health Organization (WHO) provides recommendations on how to navigate decisions for this group.

3. When thinking about your employment options, what can you personally accommodate in terms of reducing risk (i.e., are you able to support virtual learning students full time at home this Fall while working full time)? It’s important to remember that your emotional well-being should be thoughtfully considered here.

4. Are you able to access testing for Covid-19 disease, or antibody testing? How often?

The level of risk each family is willing to assume will depend on the questions above, as well as personal preference. The infographic CovidRisk_Distancing developed by the Texas Medical Association, is a helpful reference in making decisions that ranks various activities from 1-9.

There will likely be a lot of discussion about what to do, and perhaps a little anxiety, too; it is important to understand that there is no “perfect” solution, and that the transition from quarantine to re-entry will likely be uncertain at times, and may require retracing your steps to ensure you and your family stay safe.

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