An Urgent Update to the NTMN Community about Coronavirus – March 20, 2020
“Rapidly evolving” hardly captures the changes we’ve experienced over the last week. Phrases like community spread and social distancing, new to my vocabulary, are now heavily on our minds. As of yesterday, Dallas County reported 55 covid-19 cases and, sadly, our first fatality.
At the same time, significant progress is being made on the testing front and some of the first cases have already gone home healthy. We all have a major role in what happens from here. To quote Dallas County Judge Jenkins again,
“It is imperative that you exercise sound decision-making in your personal responsibility decisions. We must replace selfishness with sacrifice if we are to protect our seniors and most vulnerable amongst us. Don’t give into fear, rather have faith in the science, the science that will be your road map to keeping you and your family safe. Replace panic with prayer and personal responsibility. We can do this North Texas, but it takes all of us. The life you save may be your Nana’s.”
The latest CDC recommendation is to postpone or cancel events over the next eight weeks. The NTMN board wholeheartedly supports this. To that end, all North Texas Master Naturalist in-person gatherings are suspended at least until May 15th.
While our meeting venue at Brookhaven College remains closed, the programs team is working on a way to conduct the May meeting online. Check here for updated information.
We will be closely monitoring the situation. Any changes will be posted here.
A few resources:
CDC on stress and anxiety: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prepare/managing-stress-anxiety.html
City of Dallas Regulations: https://files.constantcontact.com/4bcac1ec301/0a508e65-854b-48a0-a5b3-9ce47c4f391d.pdf
Large events and mass gatherings can contribute to the spread of COVID-19 in the United States via travelers who attend these events and introduce the virus to new communities. Examples of large events and mass gatherings include conferences, festivals, parades, concerts, sporting events, weddings, and other types of assemblies. These events can be planned not only by organizations and communities but also by individuals.
Therefore, CDC, in accordance with its guidance for large events and mass gatherings, recommends that for the next 8 weeks, organizers (whether groups or individuals) cancel or postpone in-person events that consist of 50 people or more throughout the United States.
Events of any size should only be continued if they can be carried out with adherence to guidelines for protecting vulnerable populations, hand hygiene, and social distancing. When feasible, organizers could modify events to be virtual.
Please keep up the nonpharmaceutical interventions:
1 – Practice good hygiene
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
2 – Practice social distancing to minimize close contact, especially if you are at higher risk.
- Limit going out as much as you can
- When out in public, take advantage of the space available to spread out.
- Greetings – consider a wave, nod, etc. A handshake isn’t necessary.
- Vulnerable populations (60+ years old and/or certain health conditions) – avoid gatherings
- Again, if you are sick, stay home and seek medical advice as needed.
These practices truly slow the spread of infection. And you’ll be modeling good behaviors to the public.