Q: Is Grand Forks Public Health expecting or preparing for more community spread in the fall? If so, what should members of the public do to prepare or protect themselves?

The Herald and Grand Forks Public Health are teaming up to try to answer questions related to the coronavirus pandemic and its impact on the Greater Grand Forks Community.

Here is Grand Forks Public Health's answer to today's question:

The risk of increased transmission of COVID-19 does pose the possibility within the Grand Forks community. UND students will be returning to the community and K-12 returning to school, so the transmission of the disease could present an increase in opportunities for spread.

According to Grand Forks Public Health, community members can help to slow the spread by using the basic measures including:

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  • Wash hands often for at least 20 seconds, especially after you have been in a public place, or blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing.
  • If it is possible, put 6 feet of distance between yourself and people who don’t live in your household, remember, that some people without symptoms may be able to spread the virus
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a face covering when around others, the face covering is meant to protect other people in case you are infected
  • Cover coughs and sneezes.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces often.
  • Monitor your health daily for symptoms.

It is important for industries to follow the ND Smart Restart universal and industry specific protocols.

It is also important to make sure residents are up to date on immunizations and receive annual influenza vaccine. Being up to date on vaccinations is essential for protecting individuals and communities from vaccine-preventable diseases and outbreaks and reducing the burden of respiratory illness during the upcoming influenza season.

Also important is cooperation and participation with contact tracing if you are identified. If you think or are a confirmed COVID-19 case, stay home and avoid contact with others. Separate yourself from other people, if you are able to designate a specific room within your home for yourself. Then, monitor symptoms.

Confirmed COVID-19 cases are assigned a contact tracer that will call you to check on your health and identify those with whom you have been in contact. Close contacts then can be contacted.

If identified as a close contact, it is important to quarantine and monitor for symptoms. This helps to slow the spread of COVID-19.

Glad You Asked is a segment in the Grand Forks Herald. Do you have a locally interesting question you'd like answered? Submit it to letters@gfherald.com and we'll consider it. Be sure to put "Glad You Asked" in the subject line.