SAN DIEGO COUNTY, Calif. — San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer on Friday was joined by representatives from UCSD Health, the National Alliance on Mental Illness San Diego to provide resources and information for residents to protect their mental and physical health while following stay-at- home public health directives.
"This crisis has impacted every aspect of our lives. I know we are taking care of each other," said Mayor Faulconer.
The mayor also reiterated how crucial the month of April will be, not just for San Diego but for the state in its fight to flatten the curve.
"April is the critical month to stop the virus from spreading. No gathering on the weekends. It is not easy, but if we work together we can flatten the curve and save lives," he said.
Dr. David Folsom, from UC San Diego Mental Health, said that as San Diegans adjust in the fight against the virus, it is important to maintain mental and physical health.
"Anxiety, stress, and depression are going to be more common. For those already dealing with them, it is going to get worse," he said.
According to Dr. Folsom, tele-mental health and tele-psychiatry appointments have soared in the past weeks. He encouraged San Diegans to make appointments in order receive the help as needed.
Dr. Folsom reminded San Diegans that everyone is on the same boat.
"Take extra steps to be more patient, more considerate of others and yourself. Manage your anxiety by talking to friends and family," he said.
He also encouraged residents to exercise every day, but respecting social distance orders. Dr. Folsom said taking care of one's physical care will also help with one's mental health.
He further advised San Diegans to take a break form technology, especially those who are now working from home.
Dr. Folsom did warn residents to limit the amount of alcohol consumption and avoid the over use of prescription drugs. He also encouraged limiting social media use and the consumption of news.
If working from home, San Diegans are encouraged to keep a routine. For example, creating a separate working space, maintain normal meal hours, and dressing up for work (not necessarily a full suit).
Cathryn Nacario, RN, CEO of NAMI San Diego echoed Dr. Folsom saying, "if you are telecommuting, it is important to develop normal routines and boundaries. Stick to regular sleep routines."
Nacario also focused on children.
"Their whole world has changed. They can be scared. Kids watch us so taking care of ourselves to model well," she said.
For children, Nacario advised parents to set up a modify school schedule that includes work mimicking school activity like doing lunch together and switching up an activity/ work every 45 minutes. She also said parents should do lunch together with their kids in order to stay connected.
For those experiencing crisis, the NAMI San Diego Helpline offers trained peer and family support specialists at 1-800-523-5933. The 24/7 Access and Crisis Line can be reached at 888-724-7240. For San Diego resources, residents can also call 2-1-1 or visit 211sandiego.org.
“In these times of high-stress and anxiety, it is just as important as ever to maintain a routine, especially any existing mental health treatment plan,” said Nacario.
The San Diego County YMCA is also serving residents with the goal of providing a safe place to nurture and uplift all people.
With a team of mental health professionals, the YMCA has implemented a Virtual YMCA where residents can access workout classes as well as mental health and childcare services affordably. Additional resources can be found at YMCASD.org
Mayor Faulconer also announced the city has obtained 10,000 washable and reusable face masks for its city workers, which are now considered emergency workers. He asked that use of N95 masks be left for healthcare workers on the frontlines.
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Click here to watch "Facts Not Fear," a News 8 Special on coronavirus from March 26, 2020.
According to the CDC, coronavirus (COVID-19) is a family of viruses that is spreadable from person to person. Coronavirus is believed to have been first detected in a seafood market in Wuhan, China in December 2019. If someone is sick with coronavirus, the symptoms they may show include mild to severe respiratory illness, cough, and difficulty breathing.
Currently, there is no vaccine, however, the CDC suggests the following precautions, as with any other respiratory illness:
Know how it spreads:
There is no vaccine
The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to the virus
It is thought to spread mainly from person-person between people in close contact
And believed to be spread by respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes
Wash your hands with soap and water for a minimum of 20 seconds
If soap and water aren't available, use hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol
Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth
Avoid close contact with people who are sick
Put distance between yourselves and others
Stay home when you are sick
Wear a facemask if you are sick
Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash
If you don't have tissue, cough or sneeze into the inside of your elbow
Immediately wash your hands after coughing and sneezing
Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe
You can find information on disinfecting and cleaning on the CDC's How to Protect Yourself page.
The California Department of Public Health has issued guidance on the use of cloth face coverings to protect against the spread of the novel coronavirus COVID-19.
The County of San Diego has made face coverings mandatory for those working with the public including grocery stores, pharmacies, gas stations, convenience stores, and similar businesses.
While officials say these face coverings are not a substitute for practices like social distancing and handwashing, there is evidence to suggest that the use of cloth face coverings by the public during a pandemic could help reduce disease transmission. Officials do not recommend the public use N-95 or surgical masks which are needed by health care workers and first responders.