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Coronavirus Update

The safety and well being of our individuals and staffs are our primary concern.  We have put this information package together to bring the latest on the coronavirus (COVID-19) to our staff and individuals.  We believe this will empower them to take the right actions/advice for their safety and the safety of their family and love ones.  This will be regularly updated as Public Health Wales and the Government give up date for the situation. It is designed in the form of questions and answers from our individuals and staff.



MOST RECENT

12 January 2021 COVID-19 vaccination information.  The impact of safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines will offer individual protection as well as greater protection for our loved ones and communities. In time it could mean that restrictions are eased and we can move further towards a return to more normal day-to-day.  The three vaccines currently approved in Wales are the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine, the AstraZeneca vaccine and Moderna vaccine. Two doses will be needed, with an interval of between four and 12 weeks between doses for the first two vaccines and two doses 28 days apart with the Moderna vaccine.  Many people have already received their vaccination including some staff in our Care Home.  No resident has been vaccinated yet.  

12 January 2021 COVID-19 Resources for health and social care professionals.  This page is designed to direct health and social care workers to resources needed for delivery of the vaccine programme. Our staff can download the invitation and consent forms for our individuals, relatives and staff from HERE.   And can also find Health & Social Care professional FAQ's

23 December 2020 Guidance to Prevent COVID-19 Among Care Home Residents and Manage Cases, Incidents and Outbreaks in Residential care Home Settings in Wales

23 December 2020 This update is from Public Health Wales website.   It is Public Health Wales statement on Novel Coronavirus (COVID0-19) outbreak.  This statement is updated daily at midday.  It gives the latest on the Welsh government handling of the pandemic.  The statement contains Frequently Asked Questions in both English and Welsh.  

23 December 2020  Coronavirus control plan: alert levels in Wales for social care services for adults and children.  

19 December 2020.  COVID-19 alert levels: What you need to know.  This guidance sets out COVID-19 alert level in Wales.  All Wales is in Level 4.  

18 December 2020  Stay at home: Guidance for households with possible or confirmed coronavirus (COVID-19) infection.  This guidance is for:

  • people with symptoms that may be caused by COVID-19, including those who are waiting for a test
  • people who have received a positive COVID-19 test result (whether or not they have symptoms)
  • people who currently live in the same household as someone with COVID-19 symptoms, or with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19

In this guidance a household means

  • one person living alone
  • a group of people (who may or may not be related) living at the same address and who share cooking facilities, bathrooms or toilets and/or living areas. This may include students in boarding schools or halls of residence who share such facilities




Coronavirus (COVID-19): FAQs

A:
  • For more information, read the Guidance to Prevent COVID-19 Among Care Home Residents and Manage Cases, Incidents and Outbreaks in Residential Care Settings in Wales
  • Wash your hands with soap and water for 20 minutes when entering the home and dry them thoroughly with paper towels.
  • Follow guidelines as covered in infection control and hand hygiene training throughout your shift.
  • Increase cleaning activity in the home and ensure that the home is properly ventilated by opening windows whenever safe and appropriate.
  • Use our usual detergents for cleaning as these will get rid of the virus on surfaces.
  • Surfaces that are frequently touched should be cleaned regularly.
  • Dispose of waste according to our waste management policy and procedure.
  • Use tissue/hand towels or in your elbow when coughing and sneezing. Put used tissues in bin straight away. (CATCH IT, BIN IT, KILL IT). Then wash your hands.
  • Do not touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean.
  • Staff must observe social distancing measures when direct hands on care is not being delivered. 
  • Staff also need to maintain social distancing between themselves during their shift.
  • Encourage individuals to use tissue when coughing/sneezing as above. Support them to wash their hands properly for 20 minutes and dry them thoroughly.
  • Follow your food hygiene training when preparing meals.
  • Support individuals when they are helping to prepare meals.
  • Support individuals when helping with washing dishes to ensure dishes are washed thoroughly.
  • Wash hands for 20 seconds before you leave work and when you arrive home.
  • Use hand sanitizer gel if soap and water are not available.
  • Staff are required to use personal protection equipment (PPE) whenever support needed for an individual requires going within 2 metres of them.
  • Staff must stay at home when not at work.

Test, Trace and Protect. Test, Trace and Protect (TTP) works by: 

  • testing those people who have coronavirus symptoms, asking them to isolate from wider family, friends, co-workers and their community whist taking a test and waiting for a result
  • tracing those individuals who have been in close contact with the person who has tested positive for coronavirus, requiring them to take precautions and self-isolate (for 10 days).  Contacts do not need to be tested unless they have symptoms. 
  • providing advice and guidance, particularly where the person who has tested positive or their contacts are vulnerable or at greater risk
  • ensuring that if the individual tests negative and the symptoms are not due to coronavirus, individuals can get back to work and their normal routines as soon as possible
A:
  • Read Guidance to Prevent COVID-19 Among Care Home Residents and Manage Cases, Incidents & Outbreaks in Residential Care Settings in Wales
  • Isolate the individual in their room. Open windows and keep door closed. 
  • Immediately notify Public Health Wales on 0300 00 300 32.  This is a dedicated number to support care home settings 7 days a week from 8am to 8pm.
  • Testing will be arranged within 24 hours and all other individuals and staff will be tested.  
  • Observe 2 metre (3 steps) distance from the symptomatic individual for both staff and other individuals. 
  • Staff should use personal protection equipment (PPE) for activities that bring them into close personal contact such as washing and bathing, personal hygiene and contact with bodily fluids.
  • Aprons, gloves and fluid repellent surgical masks should be used in these situations. If there is a risk of splashing, then eye protection will minimise risk.
  • Use PPE only once. Put used PPEs in yellow bins and follow our waste management policy.
  • Frequently touched surfaces should be regularly cleaned using our usual detergents and following infection control policies.  
  • Do not shake dirty laundry.  This minimises the possibility of dispersing virus through the air.
  • Wash items as appropriate in accordance with manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Dirty laundry that has been in contact with an ill person can be washed with other people’s items.
  • Items heavily soiled with body fluids, such as vomit or diarrhoea, or items that cannot be washed, should be disposed of, with the owner’s consent.
  • Encourage and support the individual to remain in their room as much as possible.
  • Allow only one individual to use the communal area at a time.
  • Infection control policy to be followed with thorough cleaning.
  • Encourage individuals to avoid kitchen areas.
  • The individual's bedroom should be deep cleaned using Prosan Chlorination tablets with concentration of 1,000ppm twice daily.  
  • Bathrooms to be cleaned after every use.
  • Encourage individuals to take adequate fluid throughout the day.
  • Follow other infection control measures as in question 1.
A:

The most common symptoms of COVID-19 symptoms are recent onset

  • new continuous cough
  • high temperature
  • loss of or change to your normal sense of smell or taste (anosmia)

We recommend that staff use COVID-19 symptom checker on NHS 111 Wales. This is important if staff requires or will require sick note. Do not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy, or hospital

Stay at home and away from others. You and members of your household to follow self-isolation guidance.

Call and inform your manager.  Your manager will contact Public Health Wales on 0300 00 300 32.

Apply for coronavirus test here as essential worker or phone 119.  You will be given options to take the test at a drive-through test site or from home.  Apply within the first 3 days of having symptoms. The test is best taken within 5 days of symptoms starting.

Members of your household who develop symptoms of coronavirus but are not essential worker can also use this service to get tested. This is to ensure you return to work as quickly as possible if they are negative. 

Test, trace and protect. Under this scheme, if staff tests positive, all individuals and staff in that home will be tested.  Staff will receive text, email or phone call from NHS Wales Test and Trace requesting to that they log onto their website to create a confidential account where they can record details about their recent close contacts. If you do not have access to the web, then you will be phoned by a contact tracer working for the NHS Test and Trace service. The information you provide will be handled in strict confidence and will enable the NHS Test and Trace service to contact those people and provide them with advice on whether they should go into self-isolation. This will help stop the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19). The people contacted will not be told your identity, but by alerting them when you first develop symptoms, you can help make sure that they are prepared for being contacted by the Test and Trace service.

The test, trace and protect works by:

  • testing those people who have coronavirus symptoms, asking them to isolate from wider family, friends, co-workers, and their community whist taking a test and waiting for a result
  • tracing those individuals who have been in close contact with the person who has tested positive for coronavirus, requiring them to take precautions and self-isolate (for 10 days).  Contacts do not need to be tested unless they have symptoms. 
  • providing advice and guidance, particularly where the person who has tested positive or their contacts are vulnerable or at greater risk
  • ensuring that if the individual tests negative and the symptoms are not due to coronavirus, individuals can get back to work and their normal routines as soon as possible

If you have symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19), however mild, OR you have received a positive coronavirus (COVID-19) test result, the clear medical advice is to immediately self-isolate at home for at least 7 days from when your symptoms started. (ending isolation).

If you live with others and you test positive, then all household members must stay at home and not leave the house for 10 days. The 10-day period starts from the day when staff in the house became ill. 

If you can, move any vulnerable individuals (such as the elderly and those with underlying health conditions) out of your home, to stay with friends or family for the duration of the home isolation period.

If you cannot move vulnerable people out of your home, stay away from them as much as possible and follow the guidance here
Plan and ask others for help to ensure that you can successfully stay at home and consider what can be done for vulnerable people in the household

  • ask your employer, friends, and family to help you to get the things you need to stay at home
  • wash your hands regularly for 20 seconds, each time using soap and water, or use hand sanitiser and cover coughs and sneezes. 
    After 7 days, or longer, if you still have symptoms other than cough or loss of sense of smell/taste, you must continue to self-isolate until you feel better.

You do not need to self-isolate if you only have a cough or loss of sense of smell/taste after 7 days, as these symptoms can last for several weeks after the infection has gone. See the ending isolation section.

If you feel you cannot cope with your symptoms at home, or your condition gets worse, or your symptoms do not get better after 7 days, then use the NHS 111 online coronavirus (COVID-19) service. If you do not have internet access, call NHS 111. For a medical emergency dial 999.

If you develop new coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms at any point after ending your first period of isolation (self or household) then you must follow the same guidance on self-isolation again.

A:

Stay at home and follow instructions from health professionals. Inform your manager at once and keep in touch during your illness. Follow all advice as in Question 3 above.  

  • There is currently no specific treatment for coronavirus.
  • Antibiotics do not help, as they do not work against viruses.
  • Treatment aims to relieve the symptoms while your body fights the illness.
  • You will need to stay in isolation, away from other people, until you have recovered
A:

The Welsh government issued guidance shielding early on in the pandemic.  Over 70,000 people in Wales were contacted and advised about shielding and protecting themselves. This guidance is for people, including children, who are at very high risk of severe illness from coronavirus (COVID-19) because of an underlying health condition, and for their family, friends and carers.  This guidance will apply to individuals in our homes.   

The extremely vulnerable referred to in this guidance include:

People falling into this extremely vulnerable group include:

Solid organ transplant recipients
People with specific cancers:· people with cancer who are undergoing active chemotherapy or radical radiotherapy for lung cancer

· people with cancers of the blood or bone marrow such as leukaemia, lymphoma or myeloma who are at any stage of treatment

· people having immunotherapy or other continuing antibody treatments for cancer

· people having other targeted cancer treatments which can affect the immune system, such as protein kinase inhibitors or PARP inhibitors

· people who have had bone marrow or stem cell transplants in the last 6 months, or who are still taking immunosuppression drugs

People with severe respiratory conditions including all cystic fibrosis, severe asthma and severe COPD.
People with rare diseases and inborn errors of metabolism that significantly increase the risk of infections (such as SCID, homozygous sickle cell).
People on immunosuppression therapies sufficient to significantly increase risk of infection.
Women who are pregnant with significant heart disease, congenital or acquired.
Shielding is for your personal protection, it is your choice to decide whether to follow the measures we advise. Individuals who have been given a prognosis of less than 6 months to live, and some others in special circumstances, could decide not to undertake shielding. This will be a deeply personal decision. We advise calling your GP or specialist to discuss this.

If you think you fall into one of the categories of extremely vulnerable people listed above and you have not received a letter by Sunday 29 March 2020 or been contacted by your GP, you should discuss your concerns with your GP or hospital clinician.

We understand this is an anxious time and people considered extremely vulnerable will understandably have questions and concerns. Plans are being readied to make sure you can rely on a wide range of help and support.

Those at increased risk of severe illness from coronavirus should be particularly stringent in following social distancing measures. It is important to understand what social distancing is and how important it is. Social distancing.

This group includes those who are:

aged 70 or older (regardless of medical conditions)
under 70 with an underlying health condition listed below (i.e. anyone instructed to get a flu jab as an adult each year on medical grounds):
-chronic (long-term) respiratory diseases, such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), emphysema or bronchitis
-chronic heart disease, such as heart failure
-chronic kidney disease
-chronic liver disease, such as hepatitis
-chronic neurological conditions, such as Parkinson’s disease, motor neurone disease, multiple sclerosis (MS), a learning disability or cerebral palsy
-diabetes
-problems with your spleen – for example, sickle cell disease or if you have had your spleen removed
-a weakened immune system as the result of conditions such as HIV and AIDS, or medicines such as steroid tablets or chemotherapy
-being seriously overweight (a BMI of 40 or above)
 those who are pregnant
avoid close contact with people who have symptoms of coronavirus
Avoid contact with people who have symptoms of coronavirus

Any staff in this category may be furloughed if they are given a letter identifying them as being in this vulnerable group.

Your no longer attend social activities, such as going to pubs, restaurants, theatres and cinemas, cafes as the government has ordered them to close.  

Avoid events with large groups of people

A:

This depends on the reason(s) why you are not working. 

1. Staff informs their manager that they cannot report for work as they: 

  • have symptoms of COVID-19
  • have to self-isolate as someone in their household is has symptoms of COVID-19 or has tested positive for COVID-19
  • tested positive for COVID-19
  • have to self-isolate because they have been contacted by the NHS Wales Test Trace Protect service

If staff confirms they wish to access the Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) enhancement scheme ( by signing the form provided by your manager): 

  • Cwm Care Limited will pay your full salary as per usual payroll arrangement for you 10 days isolation .  
  • Cwm Care will inform Blaenau Gwent and provide details of staff NI number, pay, absence dates and category of absence.  The local authority will pay us back.  

2. After you 10 day isolation and claiming SSP enhancement, Cwm Care Limited will pay you normal SSP from the last day of your isolation for up to 28 weeks. To check your statutory pay sick pay entitlement, please visit Statutory Sick Pay information.  

3. Parental/carer responsibility.  This may occur if your child or member of your family has a non-coronavirus related illness and you qualify for time off work.  This will be handled through our standing policy and procedure addressing absences. 

 

A:

Encourage your colleague to stay at home.

Share your concerns with your manager.

A:

As a parent / guardian living with your child / dependent, it is likely that you have been exposed to the virus. We will recommend that you stay at home.

A:

Family and friends can visit their love ones in our homes.  This must be outdoors, and the following will be essential:

• Ensure that visits only take place if homes are Covid-19 free
• Ensure a risk-assessment is completed for all types of visit
• Ensure visitors pre-arrange all visits with the care home
• Seek confirmation that visitors are not symptomatic
• People who are required to self-isolate, including as an identified contact of a positive case under Test, Trace and Protect Strategy must stay at home (and are not permitted to visit a care home)
• Ensure visitors observe hand hygiene requirements and provide hand sanitiser at a fixed point
• Take all reasonable measures to ensure all visitors maintain a 2-metre distance from residents, staff and other visitors at all times
• Discourage visits from young children and toddlers due to the difficulty of maintaining social distancing and the risk that presents
• Specify a maximum visiting time – we suggest 30 minutes as a guide
• Limit the number of visitors to no more than two people from the same household
• Minimise the number of households from which visitors are drawn. As a guide, it is suggested that visits be limited to visitors from 1 or 2 households per week (if multiple visits from the same household occur within a week, it should be the same two visitors, not different people from the same household). However, this should take into account the residents’ individual circumstances - residents may have multiple adult children each living in separate households
• Inform all visitors they will be required to wear a face covering and specify whether they should bring their own or whether you will provide. If you are providing face coverings this should be restricted to single use type I or type II masks and should not compromise the supply of Personal Protective Equipment for the care home staff
• Ensure that those making outdoor visits do not enter the care home premises
• If a toilet visit is necessary consider having a designated “visitor toilet” which would need to be cleaned after each use and is not used by others (staff or care home residents) until it has been cleaned once all visitors have left;
• Ensure that food and drink are not shared
• Inform all visitors that gifts and flowers are discouraged. If food is brought by visitors as a gift, restrict this to sealed, wipeable products which do not require refrigeration
• Ensure all chairs and equipment are cleaned between visits.

There is no need to wear face coverings where visits are outdoors and social distancing is maintained.  If a visitor wishes to use face coverings, this is a matter of choice.

A:

We encourage use of video or telephone conferencing.  There are apps available that can permit this. In this way staff will keep abreast of issues in the homes. It may be possible to hold meetings when 2 metre distance is possible to maintain social distancing.  Where this would be difficult or impossible and the meeting is absolutely necessary, then face masks must be worn and the meeting kept to a minimum possible time.  

A:

This will depend on the level of coronavirus circulating in the local community of Blaenau Gwent.  If there is high circulation of coronavirus in Blaenau Gwent and Wales, the Welsh Government may impose a lockdown situation.  This means that going outside of hour home has to be for a very good reason.  There may be less restrictions to going out when the level of coronavirus in Blaenau Gwent is low. Please click HERE for more guidance on how to keep safe during the outbreak and what rules are in place to protect people.  

On 11 May 2020, the Welsh Government updated their advice on exercise.  People can now go outside to exercise more than once a day. Travelling by vehicle before exercise is allowed for people with specific health or mobility issues.  For example, some wheelchair users may not be able to start to exercise immediately outside their homes for practical access reasons, and may need to drive to a suitable flat location, such as a park, for this purpose. In these circumstances the journey should be to the nearest convenient accessible location and no long journeys should be undertaken unless absolutely necessary. Please see exercise guidance.  

Although the main purpose of leaving home should be to exercise, activity incidental to that which is good for people’s health or wellbeing is also considered to be reasonable. Going for a walk and also stopping to have something to eat or sit in a park, for example, is intended to be permitted. Most of the time away from home should, however, be spent exercising.

Any “incidental” activity of this sort done while out exercising is again subject to the requirement not to congregate with others, and the advice on social distancing should also be followed.

Combining more than one outdoor activity that is reasonable, especially if this reduces the time spent away from home, is also encouraged. This may for example involve combining exercise with walking a dog or going to a shop to buy food.

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