Do gloves protect me and others from COVID-19?
A number of volunteers have started wearing surgical or latex gloves while delivering meals. These types of gloves provide a false sense of security because the gloves themselves can become infected and viruses or other contaminants can be transferred to other people or objects the gloves come in contact with, including when the wearer touches his or her face, eyes or mouth with the gloved hand.
We recommend hand washing or using a hand sanitizer instead of protective gloves. If you choose to wear protective gloves, they must be changed before each client interaction to avoid contamination.
There are a number of studies available on the efficacy of sanitizing protective gloves. The results of these studies indicate a wide range of outcomes based on the brand. Even the best brands begin to break down after being sanitized only a few times. As the gloves break down, the layer of protection they provide is greatly diminished. Remember, public health officials do not recommend the use of gloves as a protective measure against COVID-19 for the general public.
We are delighted to let you know that we have received a shipment of hand sanitizer! It will be available to volunteers each day starting tomorrow, March 24, 2020, at meal distribution sites around the county. If you need hand sanitizer, please take only one bottle per route. If two people work together, we ask them to share a bottle of hand sanitizer so that we have enough of this scarce resource for everyone who needs it. We will continue to distribute hand sanitizer for as long as our supply lasts.
Shelter At Home. What does it mean for me?
This week, Dallas issued a shelter-in-place mandate, broadly requiring people to stay at home. This follows similar mandates in several other large metropolitan areas around the country. These restrictions are a desperate effort to reduce the number of new coronavirus cases. Since similar measures will likely be implemented in Tarrant County over the next few days, many people are asking what this might mean for them.
Dallas’ mandate states, “people may leave their residences only for essential activities — including to get supplies for themselves and their families or perform tasks essential to their health and safety and that of others — or to operate essential businesses, such as healthcare, critical infrastructure and retail, including grocery stores.”
Keep in mind, this is not a quarantine. “People may continue to get take-out, delivery or drive-thru services from restaurants, micro-breweries, micro-distilleries and wineries,” said Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins. “The order does permit people to do activities, such as walking, biking, hiking or running outdoors as long as people maintain social distancing requirements.”
Meals On Wheels provides an essential service to the most vulnerable citizens in our community and as such this service is specifically mentioned in the mandate’s list of acceptable exceptions to the order. Section 2 of the mandate describes this exception:
2.b.i. Essential Healthcare Operations: “…Home-based and residential-based care for seniors, adults, or children are also considered healthcare operations […] This exemption shall be viewed broadly to avoid any impacts to the delivery of healthcare.”
So, what does that mean for you?
If you see a shelter-in-place mandate in Tarrant County, please keep in mind that Meals On Wheels will continue to serve our clients for as long as possible. That means that volunteers are asked to report for their scheduled routes.
Some people have asked about a letter that could be shown to law enforcement to prove they are traveling to an essential job. There have been reports of such letters in Europe, but as far as we know, this is not being required anywhere in the United States.
If interested, you may read Dallas’ Shelter-in-Place Mandate in its entirety at https://www.nbcdfw.com/news/coronavirus/dallas-county-to-give-update-on-covid-19-restrictions/2336502/
Effective today, we are lowering the temperature threshold to 99.6 (previously, 100.4). This applies to all staff and volunteers. Anyone exhibiting a temperature of 99.6 or higher will be sent home. If you are sick, stay home.
Thank you for taking such good care of our dear clients!