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Social distancing is good right now. Social isolation is not.

Photo of Health Promotion Coordinator Marcy Boulet
by Marcy Boulet03/13/2020 1:00 p.m.
Updated: 03/16/2020

Gov. Inslee’s orders to ban gatherings of more than 250 people and close schools to slow the spread of COVID-19 might leave you feeling isolated. Many large events like sports and concerts are already canceled or postponed. Kids are home. Many employees are working remotely and fewer people are out in public places.

Social distancing doesn’t mean social isolation.

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 online, like greeting people with jazz hands.
  • Avoid hugs, holding hands and other contact. Maintain 6 feet of separation.

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

  • Call a friend or family member!
  • Reach out to your older relatives. They might appreciate a hand-written note or card.
  • Get together with a few friends if you’re not ill.
  • Go outside for fresh air and activity. Give your pets an extra walk.
  • Take a walk around your neighborhood.
  • Watch your favorite movie or show with others.

Use technology instead.

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

If you’re uncomfortable with small gatherings or you’re in a high-risk population, think about virtual options:

  • Video chat with friends and family.
    • Play a game that doesn’t require being in the same room.
    • Watch a movie together and talk about it.
  • Ask your school, church or work if they offer video conferences.
  • Attend online events like educational webinars, workshops, and conferences.
  • Tune in to live-streams of your favorite YouTube channels or social media accounts.
  • Get online grocery delivery or ask a healthy family member to pick up your groceries.
  • You can virtually tour 12 museums around the world.
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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’re sick.

Check tpchd.org/coronavirus for our latest guidance and updates.

  1. Updated: 03/16/2020
Photo of Health Promotion Coordinator Marcy Boulet

by Marcy Boulet

Marcy helps connect people so communities can experience better social health.

 

We invite your comments but will delete those with profanity, personal attacks, derogatory statements, ads or promotional material. Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department does not provide personal medical advice; please contact your health care provider.