Ask Dr. Nandi: How to reenter society: Questions and advice on life post-quarantine

Posted at 6:11 PM, May 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-20 18:11:41-04

(WXYZ) — Now that Governor Whitmer has relaxed restrictions in the Upper and parts of the Lower Peninsula, and our stay-at-home order is expected to end next week, it’s time to start thinking about what life will be like post-quarantine.

First of all, I don’t want anyone thinking that life will be the same way that it used to be. It’s important that we move forward cautiously - we certainly don’t want the virus cases to spike back up again.

Now, as for hugging people, it really depends on a few things. Has that person has been isolating at home? And wearing a mask at the grocery store, and staying at least 6 feet from others? Even then, there is no guarantee that they are virus-free.

Now, you might think it’s okay to hug if you or the other person was recently tested. But, the incubation period is roughly 3 to 5 days. So if a sample is taken too soon, well the test might not be able to detect the virus’s genetic material yet.

And lastly, I’d strongly recommend that you avoid hugging anyone who is elderly or immunocompromised. The risk of them getting very sick if infected is quite high.

Doctor offices that are open will have strict protocols in place. Everyone will be screened for COVID-19, both patients and employees. Surgical and N95 masks will be worn by doctors and medical staff, along with gloves and eyes shields. Plus, offices will be cleaned and disinfected on a regular basis.

As for patients, I’d recommend that you wear a mask, bring your own pen to fill out forms, and bring tissues or gloves that you can throw away after opening any doors.

Now, if you’re still worried about going inside, then you can ask for a telemedicine appointment instead. What’s important here is that you stay on top of your health, especially if you have a chronic condition like diabetes or heart disease.

There are specific signs that tell you that a business is taking this virus seriously. For example, look for:

  • Staff that are wearing masks – this is very important because their mask helps protects you
  • Next, how much room is there inside the store? You want to keep at least 6 ft between you and other people as you move around
  • Also, are there social distancing markers to stand or sit at while waiting to check out or to be served?
  • I’d also look for posters or signs that explain the store’s protocols and what you expect once inside
  • And lastly, if you plan to eat inside a restaurant, make sure tables and chairs have been taken out to allow for extra space around diners.

You don’t want too many people around you and you also shouldn’t really be eating with friends or family that aren’t living with you. As that increases your risk. Instead of a sit-down meal, I’d recommend touchless takeout. The less time you spend in one place, the less opportunities for you to be exposed.

And remember, just because restrictions are relaxing doesn’t mean that the coronavirus is taking a break. You should always assume that it could be present at any location you go to.

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