How to not bring COVID-19 home as an essential worker

Posted at 5:18 PM, Apr 02, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-02 19:52:57-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Essential workers need to take precautions so they don’t bring COVID-19 home.

Dr. David Aronoff is the director of the Division of Infectious Diseases at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. He said healthcare workers who have direct contact with COVID-19 patients should leave their clothes in the garage, or put them in the washing machine immediately.

“If people will just remember to not touch their faces, to participate with hand hygiene, and perhaps make greetings more verbal than physical, that may also help,” Dr. Aronoff said, “The virus does not survive very well in the environment outside the human body, even on artificial surfaces infectious virus decays pretty quickly, and after about 24 hours it’s almost all gone, and certainly by a couple of days or 3 days it is all gone.”

If you’re an essential worker, but not in direct contact with a sick patient, it doesn’t hurt to wash your hands and shower immediately when you get home. “But it really depends on level of exposure.”

Also, it’s not recommended to wear jewelry out and about right now as it could hold onto germs.

“Probably limiting the amount of foreign objects that are near your face, or exposed to others, or might dangle and could touch surfaces if you work in the hospital for example, is prudent.," Aronoff said.

Healthcare workers should take off their shoes before coming inside their home and everyone should make sure they’re not touching the bottom of their shoes.

“The main thing is really hand hygiene,” Aronoff said.

If you leave your belongings like a backpack or purse in a room for more than 24 hours it most likely won’t be infectious. It may help to designate one room, or the garage, as the decontamination area.