The CoVid-19 virus
The entrance of CoVid-19 to the UK has created a situation in constant flux, and our organisations need to be responsive to the changes. Every organisation will be called upon to make decisions and need reliable information in order to do so. Useful resources include www.nhs.uk, www.who.int/COVID-19 and https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/coronavirus-covid-19-list-of-guidance.
This information is intended to help you decide what steps you and your organisation may need to take in light of the spread of the covid-19 virus.
What is the coronavirus?
A coronavirus is a type of virus common across the world. This strain, covid-19, is a new strain of coronavirus first identified in Wuhan City, China three months ago. It is highly contagious and, though mostly mild, can be fatal.
What are the symptoms?
The following symptoms may develop in the 14 days after exposure to someone who has covid-19 infection:
- A cough
- A high temperature
- Shortness of breath
There is significant dispute about the best way to deal with the virus, with advice varying from country to country to varied extremes. We include the UK government’s most current advice.
What’s the best way to prevent the spread of covid-19?
- The most common symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) are recent onset of a new continuous cough and/or high temperature. If you have these symptoms, however mild, stay at home and do not leave your house for 7 days from when your symptoms started. You do not need to call NHS 111 to go into self-isolation. If your symptoms worsen during home isolation or are no better after 7 days, contact NHS 111 online. If you have no internet access, you should call NHS 111. For a medical emergency dial 999.
- Wash your hands more often than usual, for 20 seconds using soap and hot water, particularly after coughing, sneezing and blowing your nose, or after being in public areas where other people are doing so. Use hand sanitiser if that’s all you have access to.
- To reduce the spread of germs when you cough or sneeze, cover your mouth and nose with a tissue, or your sleeve (not your hands) if you don’t have a tissue, and throw the tissue away immediately. Then wash your hands or use a hand sanitising gel.
- Clean and disinfect regularly touched objects and surfaces using normal alcohol or bleach-based cleaning products to reduce the risk of passing the infection on to other people.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
What do we need to do to protect staff, volunteers and visitors?
- Information: Provide clear information using communication channels including posters and email.
- Handwashing facilities: Handwashing facilities should be available and well supplied. More regular handwashing may require more supplies. Provide hand sanitiser, tissues and cleaning products around your buildings for staff and visitors. Cleaning regimes: Viruses can live on hard surfaces for up to eight hours. Frequently clean key areas including keyboards and door handles.
- There is government advice on social care and educational settings you may want to review if they apply to your organisation.
- You may have to support staff working from home, particularly if impacted by school closures.
- Ensure emergency contact details are up to date
If you are worried about symptoms, please call NHS 111 or go to https://111.nhs.uk/covid-19. Do not go directly to your GP or other healthcare environment.
Questions you will encounter include:
- Should our employees take sick leave?
- Should we switch to working remotely?
- Should we cancel our events?
- How do we support our beneficiaries/service users?
- How will we develop a contingency plan and how will our insurance be impacted?
- Will there be financial implications?
The answers to these questions and more are available from https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/coronavirus-covid-19-list-of-guidance and are subject to change. Please check when you find your organisation facing the relevant issue.
It is probable that we are entering a challenging period, and that charities will be called upon to provide greater and different support than they normally provide. It is essential that we make plans to maintain normal function in order to continue supporting our community.