06 Mar 2020
Public Health England have issued further guidance on Coronavirus for community care including domiciliary care services.
From what we know about other coronaviruses, spread of COVID-19 is most likely to happen when there is close contact (within 2 metres) with an infected person. It is likely that the risk increases the longer someone has close contact with an infected person.
Respiratory secretions containing the virus are most likely to be the most important means of transmission; these are produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes, in the same way colds spread.
There are 2 main routes by which people can spread COVID-19:
infection can be spread to people who are nearby (within 2 metres) or possibly could be inhaled into the lungs
it is also possible that someone may become infected by touching a surface, object or the hand of an infected person that has been contaminated with respiratory secretions and then touching their own mouth, nose, or eyes (such as touching door knob or shaking hands then touching own face). Our current understanding is that the virus doesn’t survive on surfaces for longer than 72 hours.
There is currently little evidence that people without symptoms are infectious to others
Preventing the spread of infection
There is currently no vaccine to prevent COVID-19. The best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed to the virus.
There are general principles anyone can follow to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses, including:
washing your hands often - with soap and water, or use alcohol sanitiser that contains at least 60% alcohol if handwashing facilities are not available - this is particularly important after taking public transport. Guidance is available on hand washing
covering your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throwing the tissue in a bin. See Catch It, Bin It, Kill It
people who feel unwell should stay at home and should not attend work
employees should wash their hands:
before leaving home
on arrival at work
after using the toilet
after breaks and sporting activities
before food preparation
before eating any food, including snacks
before leaving work
on arrival at home
avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands
clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces
if staff are worried about their symptoms or those of a family member or colleague, please call NHS 111. They should not go to their GP or other healthcare environment
see further information and the Public Health England Blog and the NHS UK page
Guidance on facemasks:
During normal day-to-day activities facemasks do not provide protection from respiratory viruses, such as COVID-19 and do not need to be worn by staff in any of these settings. Facemasks are only recommended to be worn by infected individuals when advised by a healthcare worker, to reduce the risk of transmitting the infection to other people. It remains very unlikely that people receiving care in a care home or the community will become infected.
PHE recommends that the best way to reduce any risk of infection for anyone is good hygiene and avoiding direct or close contact (within 2 metres) with any potentially infected person.READ THE FULL ARTICLE