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Personal Preparedness for COVID-19

Make a Plan

You will want to be prepared if COVID-19 becomes common in your community. A change in regular behaviors and routines can help reduce the risk of infection.

Your plan should include how you can change your regular habits to reduce your exposure to crowded places. For example, you may:

  • do your grocery shopping at off-peak hours or use grocery pick-up services
  • opt to exercise outdoors instead of in an indoor fitness class
  • commute by public transit outside of the busy rush hour
  • avoid large public gatherings

Considerations if You Have to Self-Isolate

You may be required by authorities to self-isolate (i.e. stay at home) for 14 days to avoid potentially infecting others.  As this will require that you do not go out in public, attend work or school, you should plan ahead for things such as:

  • care for children and other dependents
  • getting groceries, medicine and other supplies
  • options provided by your employer (e.g. work from home, sick leave)

If you are a caregiver of children or other dependents, you will want to have thought ahead to engage backup caregivers.

Have your prescriptions refilled now so that you do not have to go to a busy pharmacy if you do become sick. Consider seeing your health care provider to renew your prescriptions ahead of time.

Have Supplies Ready

Panic purchasing does not improve the situation. It is easier on the supply chain and those needing certain supplies for immediate use (e.g. healthcare providers) if people gradually build up their household stores instead of making large-scale purchases all at once. To do this, you can add a few extra items to your grocery cart every time you shop.

In addition to having a 72 hour kit (e.g. food, water, clothing, toiletry, etc) for any emergency, be sure to have the following to prepare for COVID-19:

  • fever-reducing medications, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen (including products for children if you are a parent or caregiver)
  • soap
  • facial tissue
  • paper towels
  • alcohol-based hand sanitizer
  • household cleaning products including household bleach for creating a solution of 1 part bleach to 9 parts water to disinfect surfaces
  • regular detergents for washing dishes and doing laundry
  • plastic garbage bags for containing soiled tissues and other waste

While having such items will help with self-isolation and disinfecting your home, they will also help ensure that you do not need to leave your residence at the peak of the outbreak or if you become ill.

Check on Others and ‘Buddy-Up’

Building a support network is good for any potential emergency.  Share your plan with others in your network as this might motivate them to make their own.

Talk to them about a buddy system in which you agree to check in on each other and run essential errands if you become sick.