Her Majesties Government updated their guidance around Coronavirus (otherwise known as COVID-19).
Although this does mean there is a change in phases from “containment” to “delay” it is important not to be panicked or alarmed by this development. However, we would like to request you do take this seriously and ensure that you follow Government guidance to ensure that we minimise the transmission to friends, colleagues, loved one and service users.
Government advice is being updated regularly and Public Health England is addressing common questions in its blog. A UK-wide public information campaign has been launched to give advice on how to slow the spread of coronavirus and reduce the impact on NHS services. Please ensure you keep up to date through these channels. The current guidance around Covid-19 is to:
- Wash your hands thoroughly with warm or hot water and soap for at least 30 seconds before eating, after using the toilet and regularly throughout the day.
- Avoid sneezing or coughing into your hand, it is better to use tissues (and then dispose of them) or if not available your arm/elbow crease. Remember to wash your hands afterwards.
- Although hand sanitiser is an effective way to help stop the spread of germs, please always wash your hands with soap and water where those facilities are available.
We understand that individuals working in frontline teams may be feeling concerned but please be assured that there is no explicit government guidance which suggests that any specific changes need to be taken except where individuals may have returned from specific areas. It is believed currently that prolonged close contact with a person, who has tested positive for Coronavirus/Covid-19, is required for the illness to spread (this means within 2m for more than a few minutes).
If you think you have symptoms or other concerns:
The symptoms of Coronavirus are similar to those of a fever, cough and shortness of breath.
- If the agency worker has recently returned from any areas specifically detailed on the government website, they must contact NHS 111 immediately and take advice.
- If they are concerned about any symptoms, they should contact NHS 111.
- If they are advised to self-isolate by NHS England, they should follow this advice.
- If they are concerned about any future travel, they should take advice from the government website or NHS 111.
If they are advised to ‘Self-Isolate’
If you are required to self-isolate following advice from NHS England, you should immediately contact your line manager and discuss the advice you have received. If you do not have any symptoms, you should agree with your manager to work from home (if possible).
If it isn’t possible to work from home, you may need to take unpaid leave.
If you are required to self-isolate because you are unwell and therefore not able to work, this should be recorded as absent due to sickness. Temporarily, as per the recent government announcement, you may be entitled to claim SSP from the first day of absence so please liaise with your consultant.
Every member of staff should, in all circumstances and before taking any action about self-isolation and risking contact, discuss this with their line manager. If you do feel unwell please ensure that you check the Government guidance around staying at home if you think you have/have been diagnosed with Covid-19.
We will continue to monitor government advice and we will communicate with you further should this change.