Van Beek: The Grim Reaper’s 14-day staycation
It started with a sniffle, a sneeze, a slight cough, and the way people looked at me, you’d think that riding behind me were the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.
It’s called a cold. However, given the panic spreading across the nation and even this valley, it appears that having a common cold has now surpassed the fear of no snow at Christmas.
While I am not a medical professional, nor am I an authority on COVID-19, which is a serious health concern, I’d like to think that I’ve retained some degree of common sense. It is perfectly normal to experience colds, the flu, allergies, and other ailments, which accompany springtime in the Rockies. It is not the Grim Reaper at your door!
Having said that, we must be sensible about our daily interactions. Of course, keeping hands clean is a given. If you decide to wear a surgical mask and have no intention of actually performing surgery, then keep in mind that it is most effective in keeping your germs away from others. There seems to be some question about its effectiveness in preventing exposure. Keep in mind, it will cause either laughter or panic by those around you, depending upon how much they’ve had to drink.
However, there is a possibility of voluntary quarantine, and for that, you should prepare. In a community this size, with an international clientele flying in and out of town, there is certainly the possibility of exposure, and while most will not experience serious symptoms, no one wants to spread it around. The recommended timeframe for a self-quarantine is 14 days.
Shopping for two weeks at once is nothing stressful — we do it all the time in trips to Costco. One package of those mega sizes will keep you going for quite some time. Keep in mind that if you can’t head to the store for 14 days, you may want to pick up a few more non-perishables than normal, and also some extra prescription medications.
Living in a rural area, we tend to prepare for emergencies a bit differently than our urban counterparts. It’s time to check your emergency kit and go-to bag. We also have disaster supplies in our homes, in case we are stranded in a snowstorm or other emergency. It’s always good to have extra bottled water … you’ll need it to swallow all those non-perishables. Things you might not consider are disinfectant wipes, to contain the spread, in case someone in your home actually does get sick.
If you’re feeling ill and concerned that it may be more than a cold, call your doctor, do not go to the hospital, unless asked to do so (no need to risk possible infection). However, most quarantines are self-imposed, preventative measures.
If you are home for two weeks, here are some ideas to pass the time.
- First of all, be thankful that it will keep away all those annoying people that you are too polite to reject … as nothing says, go away, like a quarantine sign on your front door.
- You’ve heard about “staycations” — well this is yours … sleeping in late, barbecuing, hitting the jacuzzi, relaxing around the firepit.
- They suggest that you don’t share the bathroom with anyone else in the house — finally, the bathroom, all to yourself … happy dance!
- Take time to stalk the kids on Facebook and be sure to post on their page; they’ll love it!
- Who are these Kardashians? I can’t stand them… yet I can’t turn off the TV.
- YouTube has language courses; I can finally learn my favorite curse words in 12 languages.
- Check out those online video games. I can always tell people that it’s work-related and that I’m refining my skills with “Grand Theft Auto.”
- I can finally repurpose that clothing rack in the corner … what’s a Peloton, anyway?
- Video chat anyone who is stuck in “the real world” while relaxing in front of the fireplace.
- Reading books that I’d be embarrassed for anyone to see … who knew there were so many positions (in yoga … get your mind out of the gutter).
- Experiment on new recipes with the family … they’re probably sick, anyway.
- You now have time to write those wedding day thank-you notes from eight years ago … without your ex-wife around, they should be pretty short!
- Get out the toolbox and begin banging on things … it’s called creative license.
- Get silly with the kids. Make a paper mache animal. Build a Lego city. Bring out the Play-Doh. Pick up a white paper roll and wallpaper the room in preparation for a finger-painting masterpiece. Dig out that 1,000-piece puzzle and hide one piece. See if you remember how to play all those old board games.
- If you begin to feel a bit like a prisoner, remember that orange is the new black … orange as in, Cheetos, sweet potato fries, buffalo wings.
COVID-19 is a serious concern, but panic helps no one. Due to our active lifestyle, Eagle County is probably one of the healthiest places in the nation. As a community, we are there for one another. Be responsible, be safe, and remember to stay happy.
James van Beek is the Eagle County sheriff. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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