In the wake of the spread of Coronavirus Public Health (England) have now raised the risk to the public from low to moderate. PHE staff are working to contact anyone who has been in close contact with people who have Coronavirus.
As front-line care staff what you do matters to the lives of many in our care. You are considered essential, as such you must be extra vigilant to ensure you do not catch this virus. However, if you do show symptoms it is absolutely essential that you follow the guidance and self-isolate and inform us immediately.
A small number of our employees who may fall under non-essential support services your department heads will decide if it is possible to work from home during self-isolation or as part of departmental precaution.
Please note COVID-19 is a new illness that can affect your lungs and airways. It's caused by a virus called coronavirus. Like many organisations the situation is evolving, and we will not have all the answers. However, what we do know is the symptoms of Coronavirus are:
• a cough
• a high temperature
• shortness of breath
But these symptoms do not necessarily mean you have the illness. The symptoms are similar to other illnesses that are much more common, such as cold and flu.
What Action are we taking in the Jeesal Group?
We have updated out infection control plans, and we are putting these in place, we will also be putting in place today, Tuesday 17 March 2020, a group, chaired by Tom Burns, Chief Operating Officer. This group will give guidance to Managers and staff regarding how we will respond to this challenge,
Some of the things we are putting in place include:
• Leaving all possible internal doors open around our services to minimise risk, but only where this is practical and safe to do so.
• Thorough, regular housekeeping and cleaning, especially in higher risk areas like toilets and kitchen facilities.
• Extra staff information on cleaning, general hygiene and hand washing.
• Posters highlighting handwashing and other advice being placed around our services.
• Continual monitoring of government information.
Actions you can take:
• Wash your hands much more frequently when around the hospital, home or workplace, especially before and after entering the premises and immediately when arriving home.
• if you sneeze or cough please immediately take the opportunity to wash your hands. We have hand sanitisers and we have plenty of soap and hot water and would encourage you to wash your hands at every opportunity.
• Try and catch coughs and sneezes in a tissue or your elbow and if you do cough or sneeze immediately wash your hands
• Try as hard as you can not to touch your face.
• Avoid handshakes and physical greetings. Elbow touching to say hello is allowed!
• In addition: -
Stay at home if you have coronavirus symptoms
Stay at home if you have either:
• a high temperature – you feel hot to touch on your chest or back
• a new, continuous cough – this means you've started coughing repeatedly
• Do not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital.
• You do not need to contact 111 to tell them you're staying at home.
• Testing for coronavirus is not needed if you're staying at home.
How long to stay at home?
• if you have symptoms, stay at home for 7 days
• if you live with other people, they should stay at home for 14 days from the day the first person got symptoms
• If you live with someone who is 70 or over, has a long-term condition, is pregnant or has a weakened immune system, try to find somewhere else for them to stay for 14 days.
• If you have to stay at home together, try to keep away from each other as much as possible.
Urgent advice: Use the NHS 111 online coronavirus service if:
• you feel you cannot cope with your symptoms at home
• your condition gets worse
• your symptoms do not get better after 7 days
• Use the 111-coronavirus service
Only call 111 if you cannot get help online.
There is also general guidance for everyone, this is on the NHS website: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/
What are we doing to protect our service users, patients, staff and visitors?
In order to prevent the spread of infections our current recommendations and procedures are that volunteers and all visitors should be discouraged from entering our services. Non-essential visits should not be permitted, should there be a disagreement this should be referred to Tom Burns for Cawston Park and Sam Wiseman for Community Services.
Do you have enough Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), face masks, sanitizers to care for anyone with an infectious sickness?
Yes. We are putting together packs with PPE in line with Public Health England guidance for our hospital service only and these will be distributed. We have enough sanitisers to continue providing them to all services.
How would a home or Cawston Park deal with a person suspected of being infected by Covid-19?
If there was to be a suspected case on a ward, we would clean the area as per our agreed isolation and outbreak procedure. The only difference would be the need for PPE, and this will be provided, along with clear instructions for use.
In our community services, Sam Wiseman has issued separate advice to Managers.
If a staff member got sick from one of our services, most would not want to take this home to their families. Has this been considered?
Yes, and this is something faced by all hospitals and community services. That is why Public Health England are specifying the need for PPE to provide protection in hospitals and additional hygiene measures in residential services.
We are continuing to keep a close eye on the situation and the latest advice from Public Health England. We will continue to update you as and when required.
What is the Jeesal Group’s view on home working?
Most of our staff provide one to one support to our service users and patients. However, it is the decision of the Service Manager if they can support a member of staff to work from home. We will keep this under review.
What about contact between different parts of the Group?
We have asked that movement between the services is significantly reduced to all but essential contact including contact with Head Office.
What about head office staff?
We will be putting in place separate arrangements for our head office staff at Dereham and Sarah Harvey will advise us of these.