In this blog, I thought it would be helpful to discuss the facts, fears and policies we are undertaking in regard to coronavirus. There is a lot of worry, fear and some panic and I thought it’d be helpful to share some insight from reliable sources and let you know how we’re operating on a business level, due to the recent outbreaks.
What is Coronavirus?
Also known as COVID-19, Coronavirus is much like the flu. 2% of the infected population may die from Coronavirus, compared to 1% in flu cases. Also there is no vaccine for Coronavirus, it primarily doesn’t affect children, but the elderly and men are most at risk. It spreads quickly through droplets if someone infected sneezes or coughs on or within 6 feet of you. The droplets can live on counters for a week. So if you touch them & touch your face, you may get infected.
Wash your hands thoroughly, 20 seconds minimum. Wipe counters for 30 seconds with sanitizing wipes. When you can’t wash hands (after touching public objects like gas pumps, ATMs, elevators, handles), use Purell or homemade recipe (below). Wash your hands asap. Wearing a mask will not prevent you from getting infected. Only those who are coughing or sneezing should wear a mask.
How our company is preparing for it
Those of you that know Me & Michelle know that we are somewhat germaphobic. So we have ALWAYS washed our hands thoroughly after each pet visit in our clients’ homes. We strive to be as clean as possible and not transfer any germs/virus between homes. We sanitize our hands further as required on the job, and in our cars (steering wheel, etc.) We clean up any messes we may have caused before we leave your home, as to leave it better than when we found it.
When walking your dogs in public, we do our best to avoid all other dogs and people, and will aim to NOT let other people pet your dog. I would want this for my own dog, so we extend the courtesy to our valued clients.
While we know that many of you are exercising caution, we want to encourage you to try and maintain your pet’s normal routine as much as possible. Regular socialization and exercise are extremely important for dogs and dramatic changes to their day-to-day life can compound anxiety and stress for your pup.
We are aware that many Doctors are advising NO unnecessary travel. So we understand if you need to cancel future trips, until the outbreak has subsided. So far, we’ve had a few overseas trips cancelled. We have a very forgiving cancellation policy, which is especially helpful when circumstances are beyond your control. If you need to cancel less than 24 hours before service, we charge a $10 per visit/overnight cancellation fee. A 50% non refundable deposit is required for all major holidays.
While more and more businesses will be affected by the current uncertainty, our services are often uniquely impacted when travel plans are canceled or when office workers stay home. The dog walkers and pet sitters who take such good care of your furry kids are all affected by booking cancellations or reductions in service requests.
If possible, we hope you’ll continue to support Claws and Paws Pet Sitting Service during this time. Whether it’s giving your pup the exercise and socialization they need, helping you create a quiet and productive work environment at home, or taking care of your furry family member while you’re sick, our pet sitting and dog walking services are here for you and your dog. Remember, we also provide pet taxi and pet supply delivery services if you need help with those tasks.
If you have any additional questions about our safety and sanitary procedures or other concerns related to coronavirus and COVID-19, don’t hesitate to contact us.
Message from a Retired RN
For further info, here is an email from my dear friend, Jan, who is a retired RN. It was dated 3/6/20:
It’s clear that the spread of the coronavirus named SARS CoV-19 has not yet been successfully contained in the US. Johns Hopkins interactive map tonight is reporting 233 cases up from 153 yesterday. News sources are reporting that a person in San Diego worked in a retail store while ill and is now confirmed as having COVID-19, the disease caused by SARS CoV-19.
I’d like to provide some additional information to that I think will be helpful in reducing risk and anxiety. Read whatever interests you but I suggest at the very least read #1. YOUR BEST DEFENSE.
1. How to correctly use wash your hands and how to correctly use hand sanitizer.
2. How to make hand sanitizer
3. How to understand why information may differ depending on the source.
4. Precautions that are reasonable to take right now considering the current rate of spread of SARS C0V-19.
1a. Hand washing with soap and water is the best way to prevent spread of germs and is necessary if hands are visibly soiled, dirty, or greasy. An small but increasing number of germs are not killed by alcohol based hand sanitizer so soap and water is your new best friend. When you can’t use soap and water, use hand sanitizer but use it correctly! Remember to keep ethyl alcohol (ethanol)-based hand sanitizers out of reach from small children. Here’s more info.
- Effective hand washing.
Wet your hands with running water (warm or cold), turn off the tap, and apply soap.
Lather your hands by rubbing them together vigorously (get the friction going!) with the soap including the backs of your hands, between your fingers for 20 seconds. Hum the “Happy Birthday” song from beginning to end twice.
- Before and after preparing food, before eating food.
- After using the toilet, after changing diapers or cleaning up a child who has used the toilet
- After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing
- After handling pet food, pet waste, or garbage.
1b. How to use hand sanitizer with 60-90% alcohol CORRECTLY. The problem comes with a) not using enough or b) wiping it off before it has dried.
- Read the label to learn the correct amount
- Apply the correct amount to the palm of one hand
- Rub the product all over all the front, back and between your fingers until your hands are dry.
2. My resident PhD chemist calculated that this recipe will provide 61% alcohol content. He’s counting aloe gel as basically 100% water and 61% is at the low end of the recommended range (60-95%) so you might want to increase the proportions of alcohol a little. Please take care to actually measure since you don’t want less than 60%.
- Here’s what you need:
2/3 cup Isopropyl alcohol 91% (NOT 70%, check the label) Ethyl alcohol 91% is more effective if you can get it.
1/3 cup aloe vera gel
Essential oil in your choice of fragrance (optional)
A small or medium mixing bowl
An empty container, such as a 3-ounce container from a travel toiletries kit
A small piece of masking tape for labeling
Here’s how to make it:
In a mixing bowl, stir Isopropyl alcohol and aloe vera gel together until well blended.
Add 8-10 drops of scented essential oil (optional, but nice!). Stir to incorporate.
Pour the homemade hand sanitizer into an empty container and seal.
Write “hand sanitizer” on a piece of masking tape and affix to the bottle and keep out of reach from small children.
3. Sorting information from the CDC, White House, Johns Hopkins, News sources
- CDC. Tuesday the CDC had their most recent media briefing (the public can listen in and the transcript is posted on the CDC website). They explained to the media that they update their case count only once a day at 12 noon so cases reported by states after 12 are not going to be in their total until their update the next day. They said individual state’s numbers can be used to follow the case numbers between updates.
- Johns Hopkins interactive website. This is source of minute to minute data. They provide background on the outbreak as well as their purpose and methodology so you can decide for yourself how reliable it is. I think it is a first of it’s kind so there’s a learning curve but it looks reliable to me.
- NIH. Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the division of NIH that deals with infectious disease, has many years of experience with new diseases and vaccine development so his estimates are based on extensive experience and knowledge. He is a reliable source.
- The White House. Thus far, information from this administration has not been consistent with my own knowledge as a nurse and epidemiologist or that of highly respected experts and long established institutions such as the CDC and NIH so I am disregarding this source.
- News sources are going to vary in their approach and accuracy. Personally, I do not rely on these sources for this type of information.
4. Please take basic precautions as outlined by Dr. Robb and talk to others about doing the same! Here’s the minimum:
- Don’t shake hands! Twice this week people have reached out to shake my hand. They’ve happily accepted an elbow shake instead (and a brief explanation.)
- Don’t touch “public” surfaces if you can avoid it. Today at the post office people were streaming in and out by using their hands to open the doors instead of a shoulder or hip. I didn’t see anyone using hand sanitizer as they left. Hundreds of people leave germs on these surfaces, we touch the same surface and then we touch our hands to our faces! We touch our face an average of 90x/day UNCONSCIOUSLY.
- Use ONLY your knuckle to touch light switches. elevator buttons, etc.
- Lift the gasoline dispenser with a paper towel or use a disposable glove.
- Open doors with your closed fist or hip – do not grasp the handle with your hand, unless there is no other way to open the door. Especially important on bathroom and post office/commercial doors.
- In public bathrooms, after washing your hands use the paper towel to open the door when you leave a public bathroom! You may have to look around for a trash can to put the paper towels in but I think it’s worth the inconvenience!
- Use disinfectant wipes at the stores when they are available, including wiping the handle and child seat in grocery carts.
- If possible, cough or sneeze into a disposable tissue and discard. Use your elbow only if you have to. The clothing on your elbow will contain infectious virus that can be passed on for up to a week or more!
Instead of spreading germs, spread good habits-encourage others to practice good habits,