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Coronavirus: What you need to know if you leave your home

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Hand sanitizer, cleaning wipes, gloves, and masks are now just as necessary as your cell phone when you leave the house. You should wipe grocery cart handles before you do your shopping.

In the era of the coronavirus COVID-19, social distancing no longer means staying in on a Friday night. The entire country has been asked to self-quarantine to varying degrees, forcing people inside their homes to work, play, and eat.

During this time, going outside probably seems weird, but if you do need to leave confinement, here are some ways you can keep yourself and the community safe.

Avoid touching your hands, face, and mouth

Any surface you touch outside of your home is a potential breeding ground for germs. If you touch a surface that has the virus on it, your hands can easily transfer the virus to other surfaces or yourself.

Bring supplies

Hand sanitizer, cleaning wipes, gloves, and masks are now just as necessary as your cell phone when you leave the house. You should wipe grocery cart handles before you do your shopping. Masks and gloves also place a barrier between your body and potential infection. If you must touch something with bare hands, sanitize once you've returned home.

Stick to yourself and accomplish only what you need to do

Medical officials believe the virus is spread through person-to-person contact and respiratory droplets from infected people, so try to maintain at least six feet between yourself and others. Don't congregate around the same area in stores and have a plan in mind to avoid taking detours.

Prepare beforehand

If your errands require you to reach into your bag and trade something with another person, make sure it's ready to go. You don't want to risk setting your bag down and spilling its contents onto a counter that might be infected with the virus.

Pay digitally whenever possible

Many utilities and landlords allow online payment. Some stores, if they haven't closed their doors temporarily, offer payment options with your phone. You can help yourself and others by using these options to eliminate the physical act of money changing hands.

Call ahead to the doctor's office

If you have tested positive for coronavirus or you're showing symptoms of the virus, let your care provider know before you show up to the office. This will help doctors and nurses to prepare accordingly, and it can protect others who are already in the waiting room.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have outlined several behaviors that can help slow the spread of the virus. These include washing your hands for at least 20 seconds and sanitizing frequently used surfaces daily.

This article is for informational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose or treat any condition, including the coronavirus. If you have any concerns, please speak with your doctor.

Sinclair Broadcast Group is committed to the health and well-being of our viewers, which is why we initiated Sinclair Cares. We encourage everyone to continue to follow the CDC guidelines as we navigate these difficult times. Stay safe and healthy.