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CoronaVirus (COVID19) Update

Following the World Health Organisation’s assessment of Covid19 as a pandemic, and the announcement from the UK government this week, the following is an update of the latest advice

(Current Advice as of 13 March 2020)

“Anyone with a new persistent cough or high temperature is now advised to self isolate for 7 days”

If you develop the above symptoms, then from Friday 13th March, you need to isolate yourself at home. If you are able to work from home, and feel you are well enough, this should be considered the first option. If you are too unwell to work, report this to your manager following usual practice sickness procedures.

Why has the period of self isolation reduced from 14 days to 7 days?

The 14 days was advised for those that have been exposed to the virus and waiting for any symptoms. 14 days represents the incubation period.

Most people will not be likely to  transmit the virus 7 days after symptoms have started. You do not need to call NHS 111 or see a doctor to go into self isolation. You can self certificate your absence for 7 days. If symptoms persist after 7 days, contact NHS 111.

Self Isolation

If you are advised by a GP or NHS 111 to self-isolate, inform your practice manager immediately.

The government has released guidance on self isolation including:

  • Stay away from anyone who is elderly or in the high risk group
  • Stay in a room with good ventilation, opening the windows if you can.
  • Try to stay 2 meters away from other family members, where possible.
  • Try to use a separate bathroom and towels from other family members, where possible.
  • Use the kitchen at other times to other family members, including only using cutlery and crockery that has been washed in a dishwasher if you have one, if not ensure you wash up with plenty of washing up liquid, hot water and use a separate tea towel to dry up.

 

If you are high risk, or live with someone who is high risk

Staff with underlying conditions, or those who live with people who are high risk, might feel more comfortable working from home, if this is possible. If you are concerned, please speak to the Practice Manager.

Personal Travel Outside of Work

The government is not advising against travel to any countries other than:

  • Travel to Hubei Province, China
  • All but essential travel to mainland China. If you’re in China and able to leave, you should do so.
  • Daegu, Cheongdo and Gyeongsan in South Korea
  • All but essesntial travel to Italy

What to do if you develop symptoms of Covid-19 at work

If someone becomes unwell in the practice, the unwell person should be isolated in a room with a door that can be closed, if possible. If it is possible to open a window, do so for ventilation.

The individual should call NHS 111 from their mobile, or 999 if it is an emergency. Whilst they wait for advice from NHS 111 or an ambulance, they should remain at least 2 metres away from other people. They should refrain from touching people, surfaces and objects. When sneezing or coughing they should cover their mouth and nose with a tissue, then put the tissue in a bag and throw it in the bin.

If they need to use the bathroom whilst waiting for advice, they should use a separate bathroom from other employees/ patients.

 

General Advice- Unchanged since March 3rd 2020

Main symptoms of Covid-19:

  • Cough
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Fever

Generally these symptoms will be worse in people with weakened immune systems, the elderly and those with long term conditions such as lung disease, diabetes or cancer.

To Prevent Infection

  • Hand hygiene remains the most important factor in preventing the spread of infection. Wash your hands regularly with hot water and soap
  • Use hand sanitiser gel where possible
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve when you cough or sneeze, not your hands
  • Put used tissues in the bin immediately
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects in non-clinical areas, such as phones.

You can download this update here.

More information is available on gov.uk and nhs.uk.

You can also access a Pandemic Flu PolicyFlu Pandemic Contingency PlanFlu Pandemic Checklist and Flu Pandemic Practice Buddy Guide in our new Pandemic Flu Toolkit if you are an FPM member.

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