COVID-19 – well prepared plans in place
UPDATED: 29 MARCH 2020 at 11am
The latest Coronavirus Somerset briefing which can be found on the new site, available at https://www.somerset.gov.uk/coronavirus/covid-19-latest-advice/
We’d like to reassure you that our local health and care services are well prepared with well-rehearsed plans in place to deal with the outbreak of COVID-19 (Coronavirus).
For most people, COVID-19 produces mild symptoms which include a cough, high temperature (fever) and shortness of breath and you’ll be fine after plenty of rest. However, for some (usually the elderly or those with an underlying health condition), it can lead to severe respiratory issues.
Public Health England will identify all close contacts of anyone who tested positive and give further advice. For more information about contact tracing, see https://publichealthmatters.blog.gov.uk/2020/02/13/expert-interview-what-is-contact-tracing/
What are the symptoms?
If you are showing symptoms (fever, dry cough and shortness of breath), you must self-isolate (stay indoors and avoid contact with others) and contact NHS 111 either online at https://111.nhs.uk/covid-19 or by phone for further advice.
What will reduce its spread?
COVID-19 is a new virus and health professionals are learning more about it all the time. However, it’s believed to be spread from person to person through cough droplets.
Simple hygiene measures can help prevent its spread. This includes:
- wash your hands with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds
- wipe down objects and surfaces
- use a tissue when sneezing or coughing and throw it away – ‘catch it, bin it, kill it’. Without a tissue, then use the crook of your arm rather than your hand.
- Avoid touching your face (particularly your nose, mouth and eyes)
What do I do if I’ve been in close contact with someone who tested positive?
If you think you’ve been in close contact with someone who tested positive, and you start to develop symptoms, then please self-isolate (avoid close contact with others) and contact NHS 111 online at https://111.nhs.uk/ or by phone for further advice. Please do not visit your GP, pharmacy or your local A&E/hospital.
Close contact is defined as spending a minimum of 15 minutes with someone affected and less than 2 metres away.
How do I self-isolate?
If you are self-isolating, you need to stay indoors in a well-ventilated room away from others and don’t share towels, utensils or crockery with anyone else in your household.
Public Health England have issued guidance for anyone who is undergoing COVID-19 testing and self-isolating. This can be viewed at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/wuhan-novel-coronavirus-self-isolation-for-patients-undergoing-testing
There is also guidance on why self-isolation is so important: https://publichealthmatters.blog.gov.uk/2020/02/20/what-is-self-isolation-and-why-is-it-important/
I’m over 60 and/or have an underlying health condition, what should I do?
If you are over 60 or have an underlying health condition like a cardiovascular disease, a respiratory condition or diabetes, you have a higher risk of developing a more severe reaction to COVID-19. You may wish to take extra precautions such as avoiding crowded areas or places where you might interact with people who are sick.
Check out https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-information-for-the-public for the latest advice if you are planning to travel outside of the UK or have recently returned
Need more information?
For the latest public information, advice and guidance on COVID-19, check out https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/
General Public Health questions and answers
Schools, parents and young people helpline
The Department for Education (DfE) has set up a dedicated helpline for schools, parents or young people. Available Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm, phone 0800 046 8687 or email [email protected]
5 things you can do to protect yourself and your community
Government’s action plan
Public Health England (PHE) has published a number of useful guides in response to COVID-19 (Coronavirus). These are:
Decontamination in non-healthcare settings such as offices, workplaces, libraries
Employers and businesses
Professionals who need to advise the general public
Social or community care and residential settings
Staff in the transport sector
Travel advice for those travelling and living overseas
Information taken from the Somerset County Council Newsroom: https://somersetnewsroom.com/covid-19-well-prepared-plans-in-place/
© Somerset County Council 2020
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