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COVID-19, also known as the coronavirus, is spreading across the country and around the world.

Since the illness was first identified in December 2019, we’ve been hearing about ways to protect ourselves and others from its spread. The message has been consistent, Wade Williamson, RN, BSN, ORAU occupational health nurse, said:

  • Wash your hands often
  • Don’t touch your face
  • Stay home when you’re sick
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, or cough or sneeze into your elbow

Social distancing, or self-quarantining, measures are becoming commonplace as a means of avoiding crowds and thus community spread of COVID-19. Still, it’s important to plan for what could be several weeks at home.

“My basic reference point is, if it’s something that I’ve got to leave the house for in the next couple of weeks that I just absolutely can’t live without, then it’s probably what I need to have,” Julie Crumly, Ph.D., health and education program evaluator, said.

Think about the foods you think you need but also those you might want. If eating ice cream is a big deal to you, and would tempt you too much to venture out of your home, make sure you have some on hand, for example. If you have children, think through the ways you can keep them entertained at home for a couple of weeks and prepare accordingly for those activities.

“It’s not always just about the initial protective measures of washing your hands. That’s included, but think of anything that’s needed to keep everybody at home safely,” Crumly said. 

Finally, misinformation about COVID-19 is spreading faster than the virus. There is a cure for that, Crumly said.

“Make sure that your source of information is as up-to-date, reliable and trustworthy as possible,” she said. If you’re relying on social media for information, make sure you are relying on an official government agency page, like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, to check the facts of what you’re seeing and hearing.

Speaking of which, the CDC web site has tons of information about COVID-19 symptoms as well as guidelines and recommendations for protecting your family, traveling, schools and childcare, community and faith-based organizations and more.

Stay well, stay informed and, by all means, wash your hands.

ORAU prepares communities for pandemic response

ORAU prepares communities for pandemic response

While the federal government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic makes news on a nearly hourly basis, one of the stories being missed is how well prepared many communities are to respond to local outbreaks.

ORAU has been working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on preparedness since 2003. At that time, ORAU had a contract with the CDC’s Division of Global Migration and Quarantine to run tabletop exercises at the eight quarantine centers that existed around the country then.

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Contact us

For information about ORAU’s health communication, preparedness and response solutions, contact Freddy Gray, director, Health Communication and Preparedness programs, at 865.576.0029 or

Our Expert

Julie Crumly, Ph.D.

Julie Crumly, Ph.D.

Senior Evaluation Specialist

Expertise: Health and education program evaluation, research methods and data analysis, multicultural and social psychology, evaluation of health interventions and programs, and outcome evaluations for continuing medical education

Co-author: “Non-pharmaceutical interventions for pandemic influenza: An assessment of communication, training, and guidance needs of state, tribal, local, and territorial public health officials,” 2018

Certification: Master Certified Health Education Specialist