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The best way to prevent COVID-19: Stay home

Note: This article was last updated in March 2020. For the latest updates on COVID-19, see

One of the most important ways to prevent the spread of COVID-19 is staying home. 

“I would like the public to understand the importance of staying home and avoiding crowds,” Piedmont infectious disease physician Jesse Couk, M.D.

This is especially important for people at higher risk from COVID-19, like older adults and people with chronic medical conditions.

But Piedmont recommends everyone, including people who are currently healthy, practice social distancing to keep our communities safer.

It’s best to avoid getting within about six feet or so of others if you can. Stay home as much as possible, and talk to your employer about remote-work options.

“I think our reality right now is that we’re going to be dealing with COVID-19 for a long time,” Dr. Couk says.

Piedmont Healthcare also recommends the following steps :

  • Stay home when you are sick with infectious respiratory disease symptoms. 
  • Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue, then throw it in the trash can. If you don’t have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your bent elbow.
  • Wash hands often, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing. Wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with 60% to 95% alcohol.
  • Routinely clean frequently touched surfaces and objects like cellphones, keyboards and door knobs.

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