Even prior to the number of COVID-19 cases in North Dakota rising to 10, 20 and beyond, Fargo, Moorhead and West Fargo residents had started stocking their homes with essential items.
While toilet paper has flown off shelves, it is not the only item residents should be purchasing.
The American Red Cross advises that if a two-week quarantine were imposed, households should keep a supply of one gallon of water per person, per day. This totals 56 gallons of water for a family of four to last a two-week quarantine. Hoarding water bottles is not crucial, however.
Brandon Brown, an epidemiologist at the University of California-Riverside, noted in an interview with the Los Angeles Times that most Americans still have access to tap water. Whereas past natural disasters have wiped out access to drinking water, the coronavirus pandemic has not done so.
Rather than bottled water, water filtration systems are an alternative long-term option for consumers. A water filtration system is more cost-efficient than buying cases of water and is environmentally friendly. Filters can also improve the taste of tap water, which is useful when the water from the Red or Sheyenne River “tastes off”.
In addition to water, the Department of Homeland Security suggests individuals maintain a supply of fluids with electrolytes, such as Pedialyte or sports drinks.
When considering food, the United States Department of Agriculture states that individuals need two to six-and-a-half ounces of protein per day. Required protein intake varies based on age, sex and level of physical activity.
Dry, canned and frozen goods will last the length of a quarantine. Registered dietician Marlene Koch points out through The Mercury News that frozen vegetables have the same nutritional value as fresh vegetables.
Fresh produce with a lengthy shelf life such as apples, citrus, carrots, potatoes and unripened bananas or avocados can also last the length of a quarantine, NBC News contributor Samantha Cassetty noted.
Brown added that, while many shoppers are drawn to hand sanitizer, soap and water are equally effective at removing pathogens from the skin.
“If you have those two things, you don’t need hand sanitizer,” Brown said.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends individuals to maintain a two-week supply of over-the-counter and prescription medications.
Also among the Red Cross’ list of recommended items are batteries, cellphone chargers and a battery-powered or hand-crank radio.
Above all, shoppers are advised not to hoard goods, rather to purchase only what is necessary.
Many grocers nationwide have requested consumers refrain from buying more than they need. Local grocery stores Hornbacher’s and Cash Wise have applied purchase limits on certain items to meet the demand of all shoppers.
President Donald Trump commented on the matter this past Sunday, telling Americans “You don’t have to buy so much,” and to “take it easy, just relax.”