Hello: Fall has officially arrived. And, by “officially,” I mean most of us have probably moved into a warmer wardrobe to deal with chilly mornings, and we notice that it’s getting dark earlier. It’s also the time for us to take stock of gardens and larders, putting things away for the upcoming winter. I spent the weekend roasting off the last tomatoes from the garden (thank you, dear husband), putting up some applesauce (thanks, Dad), and pureeing squash to be used in a variety of ways. I was definitely inspired to use local produce, whether it was from our garden or LV farmers. “Buy Fresh, Buy Local” is a theme I live, and one we support here at MOWGLV. If you follow us on Facebook, you’ve seen how we use local ingredients in our menus because they’re “Better Fresh!”

This time means that we are getting closer to moving indoors for the better part of the day. The shorter days mean fewer opportunities to be outside. As you all are aware, we are entering flu season on top of COVID-19, adding insult to injury. Follow your medical provider’s advice on getting your flu shot.

I wanted to draw your attention to the newest information from the CDC about COVID-19’s transmission. Here is the link to the website: https://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2020/s1005-how-spread-covd.html. Essentially, the updated guidance tells us that there are some reports showing “limited, uncommon circumstances where people with COVID-19 infected others who were more than 6 feet away or shortly after the COVID-19 positive person left an area.” The CDC reports that the transmission occurred in poorly ventilated, enclosed spaces, and often involved activities like singing and heavy breathing. The CDC’s recommendation for protecting yourself from the virus is still to a) stay at least 6 feet away from others; b) wear a mask that covers your nose and mouth; c) washing hands frequently; d) clean touched surfaces often; and 3) staying home when sick.

Last week, I told you about a volunteer who tested positive after having  delivered groceries to two clients. We did follow up with the volunteers to let them know about the volunteer having the virus. In one instance, groceries were dropped outside and, in the other, the volunteer was with the client for less than 15 minutes and was wearing a mask. The PA Department of Health called me last week to make sure that I knew of the potential exposure through this volunteer. The epidemiologist told me that we were not required to notify the clients because of the limited exposure time and because the volunteer was masked. (FYI—we will continue to notify clients in these situations so that they can make their own decisions about following up with their own medical provider). I was impressed with the fairly quick turnaround in the contact from the DOH. It was also good to have a conversation with a professional about our protocol. I know that we are all frustrated, inconvenienced, and otherwise tired of living with and adapting to a world with COVID-19. So much of what has compromised “life” for us has been eliminated or drastically altered, from saying goodbye to loved ones to celebrating events, and that has had a profound effect on both our daily and long-term outlook. I find that cooking at this time of year nourishes my mental and physical health—that’s just one activity on “Vicki’s list to preserve sanity.”

I’m hopeful that your creativity and is flourishing and that you are able to continue safe navigation of this COVID world.