Checklist to Prepare & Protect Your Family/Household in an Outbreak

During a public health crisis, there are actionable steps you can take to protect yourself, loved ones and the public. One of the most important things to keep in mind is not to panic, instead be mindful in preparing your household to weather the uncertain times as best you can by following some best practices.

Preventive measures can limit exposure to the COVID-19 virus for yourself and our community.

Plan & Prepare

  • The best way to prevent illness is to limit possible exposure to the virus.
  • Know the symptoms of the COVID-19 virus, which include respiratory symptoms, such as fever greater than 100, cough, shortness of breath, sore throat. Seek medical attention early if you experience any combination of these symptoms. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure.
  • Get up-to-date information about COVID-19 activity from Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC).
  • Create a list of important organizations and providers your household can call in case of emergencies.
  • Choose a designated room that can be used to separate family members who are sick or under monitoring.
  • Stay home and avoid others if you don’t feel well. Self-monitor your symptoms.
  • Let family members who are sick or have underlying issues stay at home and away from others.
  • If you need to venture out of the house, take extra steps to ensure your safety, including consolidating trips, maintaining appropriate distance between others in public, only going out for essential reasons, disinfecting surfaces and frequently washing hands.

Take Everyday Preventative Action

  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use a hand rub that contains at least 60% alcohol.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue then throw the tissue in the trash. If a tissue isn’t available, use your elbow.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces daily. This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets and sinks. If surfaces are dirty, clean them before disinfecting them. Use detergent or soap and water prior to disinfection.
  • Practice social distancing by reducing face-to-face contact with other people. Maintain at least six feet distance between yourself and others. Avoid public and mass gatherings, sporting events, concerts and airports.
  • Avoid sharing personal items.

Stay in Touch

  • Stay informed about the local outbreak situation.
  • Notify your work or school if your schedule or arrangements need to change.
  • If you live alone, ask family, friends and health care providers to check on you during the outbreak.
  • Keep in contact with family and friends with chronic medical conditions.
  • Continue to stay connected to friends, family and colleagues through phone and video calls.

Take Care of Your Household’s Emotional Health

  • Outbreaks are stressful for both adults and children.
  • Children may respond differently to stressful situations. Talk with them and answer their questions. Let them voice their fears or worries.
  • Practice meditation and mindfulness, even just taking a few minutes a day to take deep breaths can help.
  • Stick to a schedule. It’s helpful to maintain a routine in times of uncertainty, if possible. It can help provide a sense of calm and normalcy during this time.
  • Give your mind a break by reserving dedicated time away from distractions, including TV, social media, etc.
  • If you have having difficulty coping, ask for help. People may be able to support you in a myriad of ways from afar.

If you have questions about how to further protect yourself or a loved one, consult with your health care provider or visit the CDC website.


About Hospice of the Red River Valley
In 1981, Hospice of the Red River Valley was founded on the belief that everyone deserves access to high-quality end-of-life care. We fulfill our nonprofit mission by providing medical, emotional, personal and spiritual care, as well as grief support to our patients, their families and caregivers during a tender time in life. Our staff helps those we serve experience more meaningful moments through exceptional hospice care, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, wherever a patient calls home. The organization serves more than 40,000 square miles in North Dakota and Minnesota, including in and around Bismarck, Detroit Lakes, Devils Lake, Fargo, Fergus Falls, Grand Forks, Lisbon, Thief River Falls, Valley City and many more communities. Hospice of the Red River Valley offers round-the-clock availability via phone, prompt response times and same-day admissions, including evenings, weekends and holidays. Contact us anytime at 800-237-4629 or


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