Social Distancing Doesn't Mean Social Isolation
Posted on 03/20/2020

Governor Jay Inslee’s orders of statewide closure to slow the spread of COVID-19 might leave you feeling isolated. Many events, like sports and concerts, are canceled or postponed. Kids are home.  Many employees are working remotely and few people are out in public places. 

Social distancing doesn’t have to mean social isolation. BFHD encourages you to Safely Connect.

There are safe ways to remain socially connected. Remember, social connections are as important for your health as things like eating well, exercising, and not smoking. 

People who aren’t in a vulnerable group – those include people over 60 and those with compromised immune systems – can practice social distancing rather than isolation. Distancing means increasing the physical distance between people to reduce the spread of disease.

  • Avoid handshakes and high-fives. Creative alternatives are popping up, like greeting people with jazz hands, a curtsy or a bow!

  • Avoid hugs, holding hands and other physical touch.Maintain 6 feet of separation.Think about how close you will be to people and for how long. Washington Department of Health  advises that “being within 6 feet of a sick person with COVID-19 for about 10 minutes” constitutes close contact which could result in exposure.

The list of things to avoid is short, but the list of things you can still do is long as long as you maintain physical distancing:

  • Call a friend or family member

  • Reach out to your older relatives. They might appreciate a handwritten note or card

  • Get together with a few friends if you are not ill

  • Go outside for fresh air and activity. Give your pets an extra walk

  • Do some spring yard work, go for a hike or take a bike ride

  • Take a walk around your neighborhood

  • Watch your favorite movie or show with others

Use technology instead:

Research shows it is good for your body to see your loved ones’ faces and hear their voices – even if it is not in person!

Consider virtual options:

  • Video chat with friends and family

  • Play a game that doesn’t require being in the same room like Words with Friends.

  • Watch a movie together and talk about it

  • Attend online events like education webinars, workshops, conferences and church services

  • Tune in to live-streams of your favorite YouTube channels or social media accounts

  • Get online grocery delivery or ask a health family member to pick up your groceries

  • Visit Action for Healthy Kids for resources for Schools and Families During COVID-19

Protect yourself

Whether you are at home alone or in public with others:

  • Practice good hand hygiene.Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds

  • Avoid touching your mouth, nose or eyes with unwashed hands

  • Regularly disinfect surfaces people touch often like doorknobs and light switches

  • Sneeze and cough into your elbow

  • Stay home when you are sick