With confirmed cases of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) now reported in Cook County, it is important for all of us to be proactive in defending against the spread of this illness. That means implementing practices to avoid getting sick and, if you do get sick, to avoid infecting others.

At this point the best defense is practicing good hygiene and preventative measures. Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or, if soap and water are not available, use hand sanitizer. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands. Avoid close contact with people who are sick. Stay home if you are sick (except to seek medical care). Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash. Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

Schools, businesses, and employers should encourage all employees to practice the above preventative measures. Also take time to review emergency operations plans, including identification of essential business functions, teleworking, and flexible sick leave policies.

Travelers should be alert to changing conditions. Before traveling, check travel health notices at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. If you are returning home from countries with Travel Alert Levels 2 or 3 take the appropriate measures. You can find that and other valuable information at the City of Chicago’s website.

Riverside’s Police and Fire Departments are coordinating with surrounding communities to provide emergency services in a safe and professional manner. Help them out – if a responder asks you to wear a mask or use hand sanitizer please do so. They are only trying to keep you, and themselves, healthy. Together we can help manage the effects of COVID-19 on our community.

Ben Sells, president

Village of Riverside