After almost two months of watching the new Coronavirus outbreak (COVID-19) from afar, it’s officially reached my city. Two people in Charlotte, North Carolina area tested positive for the virus yesterday.
COVID-19 reached our state capital Raleigh, North Carolina last week. The city of Charlotte is just two and a half hours away from Raleigh, and we have the largest population in the state. It was only a matter of time before we had the official announcement.
I’ve noticed a pattern of announcing COVID-19 in single digits, then it jumps to double digits, triple digits and so on. Test kit availability remains low at first, so the number of cases appear low. People prepare and take precautions, but full panic doesn’t ensue. Our state has announced 15 cases as I’m writing this and we have a low number of test kits.
Last weekend my local target ran out of Clorox/Lysol wipes and hand sanitizer. On Tuesday a state of emergency was announced, and toilet paper was the next thing to go. I didn’t realized this until we were down to the end of our last roll on Wednesday, but luckily my husband found some.
All UNC Colleges will go virtual after spring break. Some of the private schools in the area are going completely virtual. My husband pointed out that “those kids have technology”. Our water services will remain on for all, even if bills are unpaid. Things are changing slowly but surely.
I know that my family is in a lower risk category for the Coronavirus. I’m thankful that the risk is low for children, because my son is just under 8 months old. I worry about my immunocompromised and elderly family members, but they are doing everything to protect against it. My grandpa’s dialysis center is giving out masks at the door, and I’m thankful to hear that. My grandparents aren’t attending any public gatherings and they are prepared with food in the freezer.
I wish I would of started preparing weeks ago. I think I didn’t want to believe this was coming, although I’ve suspected that it was already circulating here. I jumped into preparation mode yesterday and here’s what I’ve done so far.
1. Prevention- I bought a large bottle of hand sanitizer after I had my son. I use it to refill small travel sized containers that I keep with me. I would definitely buy another container if I could. I still have unopened travel sized Clorox wipes from our plane trip last November, so I keep this in my purse.
At grocery stores I use their sanitizing wipes on the carts and practice social distancing. My husband and I went to a Publix last night to avoid crowds, everyone seemed to be avoiding each other. I hate to say it but I still remember the exact moment someone coughed nearby me.
We were going to go to a restaurant last night, but we didn’t feel comfortable. This was just the first day of the virus in our city, and we still have many weeks to go. I will be so thankful when this is over.
We’re living in times where one news article can change lives and create fear. Town borders blocked off. State of Emergency. National Guard called. These are all scary titles in the news headlines these days. I think a small amount of fear is healthy. It makes you more cautious. But panic and chaos helps no one.
2. Preparing for Possible Self-Quarantine- I really don’t want to be stuck in self-quarantine. I watched my husband do it for a week last month when he had the flu, and the Coronavirus would require two weeks. We have the gloves, thermometer with covers, and Tylenol for fever ready. We have the food ready. But it was miserable and isolating. I really don’t want to have to spend two weeks this way.
3. Stocking up on Food- We had little to no freezer space yesterday, so I cleared out the freezer. We’ve had plans to get a deep freezer for months, but we haven’t gotten around to it. I realized that right now I just need to make due with what I have. We stocked the freezer with a few packs of meat and frozen veggies. I got a pack of frozen bread, in case we have to resort to PB&J sandwiches. Luckily one of my favorite breakfast meals that I make is frozen, so that was easy.
I also cleaned out the pantry and checked inventory. We had a lot of non-perishables already. Rice, Beans, pasta, soup, oatmeal, Peanut butter. I did purchase a few extra boxes of shelf-life stable almond milk, just in case we run out of refrigerated milk.
We have a water filter, so I’m not too worried about water. We did get distilled water in case we do get sick and need the humidifier.
I’m on a dairy, soy, and egg free diet so my options are really limited with freezer meals. I have a few boxes of a vegan pizza I keep on hand, but I have to make almost all of my meals from scratch. This allergy diet is a blessing in disguise, because I’ve gotten into the habit of always having extra food.
I’ve noticed that most people are going to Walmart, Target, Sam’s, and Costco for items. I had better luck at Publix, and I hear that grocery stores in general have more items stocked! Less crowds too!
You may be wondering if I’m over preparing or panicking. I definitely don’t think so. I wanted to be out shopping and preparing while cases are low, so I don’t have to be out when cases are high. I don’t want to deal with chaos and a higher risk of exposure.
I’m currently a stay at home mom, but this time last year I was working as nurse in a large hospital. I feel for my other healthcare workers who are risking exposure every day. When other jobs shut down, they remain working. It’s a job that takes a lot of bravery!
I’m praying for our country and I’m praying for the world. The mortality rate may only be in the 2-3 percent range, but these are people not just a percentage. We’re all affected by this in one way or another. I hope that our efforts for prevention pay off and that a vaccine is found soon.
If you do experience symptoms such as fever, cough, and shortness of breath, take action quickly. Know your state or counties Coronavirus hotline. Be prepared and take precaution!