Why you should add hand sanitizer, face masks, gloves to your hurricane supplies

The 2020 hurricane season started early amid the COVID-19 pandemic

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – As we prepare for the 2020 hurricane season, officials are adding new supplies to the recommended list in response to the threat of the coronavirus. Now it is recommended that your hurricane supply kit include two face masks per person, gloves and hand sanitizer.

The primary concern is for those that plan to go to a hurricane shelter during a storm. Area emergency managers plan to screen people for fevers and signs of illness before entry, designate at least one shelter exclusively for people showing signs of illness or who have COVID-19 and lower shelter capacity. They plan to open more shelters to spread the people out among, so fewer people are in each shelter. This would also allow for more space between people and cots at shelters.

As we move through the next few months, we expect Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance to change based on the infection levels of COVID-19. Hurricane shelters will change to comply with those guidelines whether they relax further or become more conservative.

If you plan to remain in your home during a hurricane, the face masks, gloves and hand sanitizer would be less of an imperative need, until you needed to go leave your home. If you live in an area that depends on electricity for running water, such as the use of a private well, hand sanitizer would be imperative because of the inability to properly wash your hands.

If you plan to evacuate to a non-shelter location, the CDC recommends wearing a face mask when you leave your home. If you plan to go to a family or friends house, you would not necessarily need the masks and gloves. But if you plan to go to a hotel, you would.

See if your plans should change because of Coronavirus