September 8, 2020

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wear a mask. protect others.

Creating Community During COVID-19

September is National Preparedness Month. This month we provide resources on creating community, which can help people continue to take precautions in the face of a long pandemic. We discuss some of the ways people can work together to improve personal preparedness, social connectedness, and community resilience where they live and work.

The word community can mean different things. It can describe a geographic area, a group of people with shared interests, or a feeling of teamwork and fellowship. How do you create community during an emergency? In the case of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, it begins with following CDC’s recommendations on navigating daily life while taking everyday steps to protect yourself and others, including people who need to take extra precautions.

  • Care for each other: Some of the greatest strengths of a community are its people and their relationships to each other
  •  Get Involved: People who are resilient and ready to care for their neighbors can have positive and even lifesaving impacts on their neighbors and in their communities at large
  • Improve Access: Community health preparedness and resilience is not achieved until everyone has a fair and just opportunity to be as prepared as possible
  • Lead by Example: Get in the habit of being a preparedness role model for your family and in your community

Plan Ahead: In a rapidly changing situation like the COVID-19 pandemic, it is important to know how to stay informed and what you can do to avoid and help put a stop to misinformation. Do some legwork. Cross-check what you read online with what experts at CDC, FEMA, and the World Health Organization have to say on the same topic or issue. If you have doubts about the accuracy of something posted to social media, try to verify the information by contacting your health department or visiting their website.

Building Community Trust

Father adjusting daughter's face mask.

The COVID-19 pandemic may change some of the ways we connect and support each other. As individuals and communities respond to COVID-19 recommendations and circumstances (e.g., school closings, workplace closures, social distancing), there are often unintended challenges for important aspects of emotional well-being such as social connectedness and social support. Shared faith, family, and cultural bonds are common sources of social support. Finding ways to maintain support and connection, even when physically apart, can empower and encourage individuals and communities to protect themselves, care for those who become sick, keep kids healthy, and better cope with stress.

What We Can Do: Find out what you can do to empower and encourage individuals to protect themselves and their communities during COVID-19.

Community and faith-based organizations can

  • Review and put into practice CDC’s guidance. This includes promoting preventive measures such as social distancing, use of masks, frequent hand-washing, and staying home when appropriate. 
  • Share COVID-19 prevention information with communities, using ways known to effectively connect with that specific community’s members. 

Employers can

  • Review and put into practice CDC’s guidance for businesses and employers, reminding managers to ensure that best practices are followed. 
  • Provide masks, alcohol-based hand sanitizers, hand-washing stations, and personal protective equipment as appropriate. 

Healthcare delivery systems can

  • Work with community health workers, healthcare providers, and patient navigators to connect community members with health resources. 
  • Provide telehealth options that are tailored to the needs of patients.

Public health agencies can invest in partners who promote fair access to health by

  • Ensuring that community diversity is considered in contact tracing efforts 
  • Establishing accessible testing sites for COVID-19 
  • Helping community members get what they need in order to isolate if they are sick or have been exposed to the virus that causes COVID-19 
  • Helping community members get information and resources to keep themselves and their loved ones safe and well.

Resources and Learning Opportunities

Non-CDC content is provided for informational purposes only. Inclusion in this newsletter is not intended to indicate actual or implied endorsement. Information is provided “as is.” Users are encouraged to evaluate these resources and make their own determination about usefulness and effectiveness.

Contact Us

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Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
1600 Clifton Rd
Atlanta, GA 30329 

Contact CDC-INFO
800-CDC-INFO (800-232-4636) TTY: 888-232-6348