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How to reduce coronavirus risk when handling deliveries and grocery shopping

The following practices can help you limit your exposure to infection.

In addition to frequent handwashing and social distancing, many Canadians are opting to shop online and visit the grocery store as little as possible to mitigate the spread of coronavirus. 

Even when accepting deliveries and grocery shopping, there are additional ways to stop the virus in its tracks. 

While the coronavirus is mainly transmitted from person to person through contact with water droplets discharged during coughing or sneezing, the coronavirus is known to be detectable on some surfaces for up to two or three days

The risk of catching the disease from a contaminated surface is lower than if you were to come into direct contact with an infected person, but the following practices can help you limit your exposure to infection. 

Handling packages and deliveries: 

Joseph G. Allen, assistant professor of exposure and assessment science at Harvard University’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health told the Washington Post that the following steps can be taken to protect yourself from contaminated surfaces when handling packages or deliveries:

  • Leaving the package outside or in the hallway for a few hours 
  • Cleaning the exterior of the package with disinfectant wipes
  • Opening the packaging outdoors and immediately recycling the packaging material
  • Washing your hands immediately after touching, moving, or opening the package

On plastic and stainless steel, the virus has a half-life of 5.6 – 5.8 hours, meaning that each time that amount of time passes the amount of the virus on the surface decreases by half. 

Handling grocery items:

Canadians are being advised to practice social distancing and stay inside their homes as much as possible. But when venturing to a grocery store to get essential goods, it is important to maintain a distance of two metres between yourself and others. 

According to Professor Allen, the following additional steps can help limit your exposure to surfaces that may have been contaminated by the coronavirus: 

  • Only shop when it’s absolutely necessary and keep a two-metre distance away from others
  • Avoid touching your face
  • Wash your hands as soon as you get home 
  • Wait a few hours before opening or using anything you bought
  • Wipe the items down with disinfectant before using them
  • Wash all fruits and vegetables 

By following these steps, Canadians can keep themselves and others safe. 

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