While the COVID-19 crisis is stabilizing, we hear a lot about gradual lockdown lifting. How can lockdown measures be safely lifted?
What is meant by “gradual lockdown lifting”?
Recently, Canadians have had their displacements restricted and their activities limited to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Now that the situation appears to have stabilized somewhat, normal activities will gradually pick up again, in stages, around the country. This is what is meant by gradual lockdown lifting. Governments, in collaboration with public health authorities, will dictate the stages of the various reopenings and resumptions.
Many people have mixed feelings of excitement and apprehension about a return to “normal” life. In order to avoid a resurgence of COVID-19 cases and a return to the strict physical distancing measures we have experienced, it is important not to let our guard down. It is essential that we understand that lockdown lifting doesn’t mean that there is no longer a risk of contracting the virus. In fact, the longer we continue to abide by the protective measures, the better chance we have of living more freely and without fear.
What precautionary measures should be adopted?
Since the coronavirus is still present in the community, and there is no vaccine or approved treatment at this time, it is crucial to continue to follow the various health measures to reduce its spread. By doing this, we protect ourselves and others, including our loved ones, who are sometimes more vulnerable. This is the case, for instance, for the elderly or the chronically ill.
The virus can be contracted through the inhalation of droplets projected by an infected person when they talk or sneeze, as well as through contact with contaminated surfaces or objects.
Here is a reminder of the most important basic precautions to reduce virus transmission:
- During your outings, maintain a two-metre distance between you and other people at all times.
- Cough and sneeze into the crook of your arm.
- Wash your hands often with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds or use a hand sanitizer (hydroalcoholic solution or gel).
- Avoid bringing your hands to your face when you are near other people or in public places.
What about wearing face coverings?
In addition to the basic protective measures mentioned above, health authorities now recommend wearing face coverings when going out to public places, especially when physical distancing rules are difficult to follow (e.g., on public transport or at the grocery store). The objective is to prevent a person who is unknowingly infected with COVID-19 due to lack of symptoms, from infecting others.
Since anyone can become infected without knowing it, wearing a face covering when travelling by bus or when running errands can prevent the spread to others. Read our health tip: What you should know about face coverings for additional details.
How do I choose a face covering?
You will find a page on the Government of Quebec's website providing a number of tips on how to make face coverings with items you probably have at home (bandanna or a square of tightly woven flexible fabric, hair elastics and scissors). There are also several patterns and tutorials online from which you can draw inspiration.
Are there any other precautions I can take to ensure my safety and that of my loved ones?
Everyone can do their part to flatten the coronavirus transmission curve. Here is what is recommended despite the gradual lockdown lifting:
- Avoid public places and follow social gathering restrictions.
- Limit your outings to essentials.
- Don’t bring your children into stores with you when possible.
- Follow proper hygiene measures when returning from the grocery store.
- Have your purchases delivered (especially for people over the age of 70, and for those who are immunocompromised or have chronic illnesses).
- Continue to follow isolation rules if you have tested positive for COVID-19 or are returning from a trip abroad.
Pharmacies affiliated to the Jean Coutu network remain open to serve you. They are doing everything they can to offer you excellent service in a safe environment. Do you need to stay at home? With the Jean Coutu mobile app, you can renew your existing prescriptions, send a picture of your new prescriptions to be prepared, pay your medications online and have them delivered to your door. The pharmacist will call you to provide you with the appropriate advice if needed. We’re here for you, even in the comfort of your home!
Don’t hesitate to speak to your pharmacist for additional information about how to stay healthy during the COVID-19 crisis.