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The 5 Ws for beating yet another wave of COVID-19
June 08, 2022
Mom and child wearing masks and washing hands

    After a relatively quiet early spring, COVID numbers have been ticking up…again. As much as we’d all like it to be a distant memory, COVID is still lurking and demanding diligence with protective measures.

    Dr. Suzanne Lavoie, infectious diseases specialist, explains the 5Ws for keeping ourselves and others safe and healthy.

    Curb COVID’s spread with the 5 Ws

    1. Wear a mask

    Many counties in Central Virginia – and throughout the state and country – are now labeled as areas of high community spread. Because of this, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends wearing a mask when indoors in public spaces. This is especially true if you’re immunocompromised or will be around others at high risk of severe illness.

    Many business, schools and other organizations have dropped their mask mandates which can be confusing given the current surge. This New York Times article explains the benefit of continuing to wear a mask despite fewer mandates with a concept called one-way masking. We recommend you make decisions that best fit the needs of your family’s health and the health of those around you.

    1. Wash hands

    It’s a good time to remind kids about effective hand-washing techniques. This includes lathering with soap by rubbing hands together for at least 20 seconds – try singing the Happy Birthday song twice while scrubbing!

    1. Watch distance

    The term social distancing was said on repeat early in the pandemic, but it continues to be important with each COVID wave. As a reminder, it’s best to stay six feet apart from those who don’t live in your home. We know this can be tough for our kids. Try outdoor playdates or indoor activities where masking can be maintained.

    1. Wait to host or attend gatherings

    During times of high community spread it’s a good idea to postpone large gatherings, especially indoors and when social distancing isn’t easily managed. Thankfully summertime sets the stage for outdoor activities which tend to be better for spacing out and reducing the spread of viruses and germs.

    1. Whack COVID by getting the vaccine

    Make sure everyone in your household gets the COVID vaccine – and all vaccines – when they’re eligible. We may be nearing emergency use authorization for the little ones under age 5, which will give us another valuable tool in our defense against COVID.

    The importance of early COVID testing and isolation

    Testing is another key step in stopping COVID in its tracks. By testing early – at the first sign of symptoms – then masking and isolating individuals who test positive, we can help prevent the spread of COVID even within households. Of course, isolation isn’t possible for young children, but kids and caregivers should take protective measures to the greatest degree safely possible.

    Did you have an exposure or test positive? Now what?

    The CDC has a helpful online tool to help you determine next steps with quarantine and isolation.

    Stay on top of the latest COVID news and information for your family.

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