Why Social Distance? Its a Matter of Life or Death

Posted on March 26, 2020

The Health Department would like to continue to emphasize the importance of social distancing. What we as a community do, matters. With children home and more people working from home, it may be tempting to get together for play dates, parties, have sleepovers or shoot some basketball. But social distancing only works if we all participate.

Those who take this outbreak seriously are saving lives. People who do not follow social distancing guidelines are more likely to endanger themselves, their family and their neighbors.

To put this into perspective, in Montgomery Township, we have approximately 23,000 people. If 20 percent of us become infected with COVID-19, approximately 4,600 people in our community will get sick, and dozens of our residents could die from the disease. That is why social distancing is so important. It slows the rate at which people become sick. It will buy us time and flatten the curve, to take the burden off our critical hospital beds. Parents — please reinforce this message to your children, especially teens.

Most people who get sick will be able to self-care at home. But 1 in 5 people who get the illness will need hospitalization, especially older people or those with chronic illness. But  sometimes, young people get seriously ill, too.

Residents who are at greatest risk of serious or fatal complications include people who are 60 years old and older, as well as people who have underlying health conditions. High risk conditions include heart disease, diabetes, and lung disease.

We cannot state this any better or more eloquently than the Governor of New York, who provided the following guidelines for people of normal health and people of a compromised immune system.

Guidelines for Vulnerable Populations (Matilda’s Law):

  1. Remain indoors
  2. Can go outside for solitary exercise
  3. Pre-screen all visitors and aides by taking their temperature
  4. Do not visit households with multiple people
  5. All vulnerable persons should wear a mask when in the company of others
  6. To the greatest extent possible, everyone in the presence of vulnerable people should wear a mask
  7. Always stay at least six feet away from individuals
  8. Do not take public transportation unless urgent and absolutely necessary

Guidelines for People of Normal Health:

  1. Non-essential gatherings of individuals of any size for any reason (e.g. parties, celebrations, or other social events) are cancelled or postponed at this time.
  2. Any concentration of individuals outside their home must be limited to workers providing essential services and social distancing should be practiced.
  3. When in public, individuals must practice social distancing of at least six feet from others.
  4. Businesses and entities that provide essential services must implement rules that help facilitate social distancing of at least 6 feet.
  5. Individuals should limit outdoor recreational activities to non-contact and avoid activities where you come in close contact with people.
  6. Individuals should limit use of public transportation to when absolutely necessary, and should limit potential exposure by spacing out at least 6 feet from other riders.
  7. Sick individuals should not leave their home unless to receive medical care, and only after a telehealth visit to determine if leaving the home is in the best interest of their health.
  8. Young people should also practice social distancing and avoid contact with vulnerable populations.

For the latest information, check out the Health Department’s COVID 19 webpage at:

www.health.montgomery.nj.us/covid19

Source: Montgomery Twp. Health Officer Stephanie Carey