edit.jpg

Volunteers at the Monroe City Police Department fill buddy bags to help bring cheer for those in need during Social Distancing measures.

Several area activities have been canceled due to the social distancing recommendations. Businesses are shutting down temporarily, closing doors and making adjustments to meet guidelines which are ever changing by the hour.

The Monroe City Task Force annual Easter Egg Hunt has been cancelled. Lankford Field will not be filled with the youth of the community this year to gather candy and prizes. Church services are being held via internet, funeral services are limited from large groups and stores have set up markers to keep customers six feet apart. The local Subway restaurant was able to provide sandwiches to 150 children with several donations, giving children a tasteful treat in the midst of the unknown territory the world is chartering.

Both the Monroe City Police Department and Monroe City Fire Department, along with several volunteers spent countless hours putting together dental hygiene packs and buddy packs for the those in need or unable to get out. Sgt. Officer Brian Walters delivered over 60 packages to city residents on March 23. Fire Chief Rich Enochs delivered another 30 packages on March 24. Items donated included toothbrushes, floss, diapers, facial wipes, food items and bottled water.

90641376_2535963236659825_331572531813154816_n.jpg

Fire Chief Rich Enochs delivers bags to the Senior Citizen Housing in Hunnewell on March 24.

In a week’s time, restaurants were limited to curb side, pick-up and drive-thru only. Small non-essential businesses have closed their doors. Although, several businesses remain open, they have closed their doors to the public encouraging social distancing and are operating via e-mail and phone communication.

Families throughout the community have shared pictures of their experiences with the extra time at home. Activities have included art projects, family walks and picnics. As people practice social distancing throughout the nation, time being spent at home is increasing.

Elections have been postponed, restrictions have been lifted across the state concerning insurance decisions, licensure for professionals and tax deadlines have been extended. Changes are updated daily as the numbers climb with people testing for the virus.

Social distancing is a term applied to certain actions that are taken by Public Health officials to stop or slow down the spread of a highly contagious disease. The Health Officer has the legal authority to carry out social distancing measures. Since these measures will have considerable impact on our community, any action to start social distancing measures would be coordinated with local agencies such as cities, police departments and schools, as well as with state and federal partners.

Social distancing measures are taken to restrict when and where people can gather to stop or slow the spread of infectious diseases. Social distancing measures include limiting large groups of people coming together, closing

buildings and canceling events.

Today, social distancing measures are most often thought about as a way to slow the spread of pandemic influenza. Health experts have looked at past pandemics and found that during the 1957-58 pandemic, the spread of the disease followed public gatherings such as conferences and festivals. And during this pandemic, the highest attack rates were seen in school children, due to their close contact in a crowded setting. Health experts believe that avoiding crowds of people will be important in slowing the spread of pandemic.

Other public health actions that are used to limit the spread of an infectious disease include isolation and quarantine. Isolation is used when a person is sick and has a contagious infection. The sick person is separated from people who are not sick. People who are isolated may be cared for in hospitals, other

healthcare facilities and in their own homes. In most cases isolation is voluntary, but federal, state and local health officials have the power to require the isolation of sick people to protect the general public’s health.

When a person is placed in quarantine, they are also separated from others. Even though the person is not sick at the moment, they were exposed to a contagious disease, may still become infectious and then spread the

disease to others. Other quarantine measures include restricting travel of those who have been exposed to a contagious disease, and restrictions on people coming or going into a specific area. States have the power to

enforce quarantines within their borders. Both isolation and quarantine may be used by health officials during a pandemic to help slow the spread of the disease.

Even though it may seem simple, practicing good hygiene habits such as washing your hands and covering your cough will help to stop or slow the

spread of many diseases.

During a pandemic, it will be critical to understand what you may be asked or required to do. It will be important to follow any Public Health social distancing instructions or any other instructions or orders that may be given.