This report is in response to the raising in risk to ‘high’ of COVID-19 (the coronavirus). It presents the practicalities of our business continuity as well as advice to staff, residents and partners. The landscape surrounding this virus is constantly evolving in line with new developments and escalating risk, and so our response to the issue will be just as malleable.
Our number one priority is the health, safety and well-being of our staff and clients.
We are closely monitoring developments around the world and from global organisations, including the World Health Organisation (WHO), the National Health Service (NHS) and relevant authorities for specific requirements, to ensure the actions we take are comprehensive and suitable.
It would not be practical or reasonable for us to fully shut down or place under quarantine any of our properties at this stage, but we will be supporting clients with how to best to limit exposure, prevent spread and keep each other safe.
External contact will be monitored, and non-essential visits and sessions may be rescheduled.
We have invested in UV hand dryers to kill contaminants and prevent infection through dirty towels. A dedicated sink is being placed at the entrance to Cosgarne Hall and everyone must wash their hands every time they enter the property.
Anyone who feels hot will have their temperature measured with an infrared thermometer, and if it is a client these details will be recorded on our internal data management system.
Core operations will be prioritised as well as client safety. Staff will be able to give one-to-one advice, and residents are encouraged to look after themselves and their neighbours.
A traffic light system will be implemented for residents to denote risk and need, ensuring that essential support is provided.
RED covers safeguarding concerns, illness, mental health crisis, overdose risk and social service meetings.
AMBER covers budgeting, regular key work sessions and activities.
GREEN covers move-on planning, day trips and support with general household tasks.
In terms of staffing we as an organisation will be as flexible as possible and expect all staff to do the same.
Remote working will be streamlined, and flexible hours can be initiated to accommodate self-isolation and the event of school closures, and this requires the co-operation of everybody.
All emails sent to individual staff members should copy in firstname.lastname@example.org.
At Harbour we are a family, and will all do what we can to support each other.
Advice for Individuals
It is easy to become overwhelmed with the onslaught of information coming from all sources. We have compiled the key advice from the NHS:
- Regularly wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds, long enough so sing the chorus to Bon Jovi’s ‘Livin’ On a Prayer’.
- Always wash your hands when you enter your property and try to use hand sanitiser if soap and water are not available.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze and put tissues in the bin immediately after using, then wash your hands.
- Avoid close contact with people who are unwell and avoid touching your face with unwashed hands.
- Self-isolate for seven days if you exhibit any symptoms.
- Do not present at the hospital, A & E or your local GP if you believe you may have the virus. If your symptoms do not improve after seven days, ring 111 and follow advice.
A lot of this advice is very common sense – no one is expected to take drastic measures. All we can do at this stage is try to keep ourselves and others healthy through practicing good hygiene and being considerate of the needs and vulnerabilities of others.
It is important to look after your mental health, especially if you feel yourself becoming distressed or overwhelmed. Think of what helps you improve low mood and be sure to speak to others about how you are feeling.
Call Samaritans anytime: 116 123
What is COVID-19?
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that are common across the world, found in both animals and humans. These viruses can cause mild symptoms ranging from a fever and cough, to more serious symptoms such as severe pneumonia, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties.
In December 2019, a new strain of coronavirus (since named COVID-19 by the World Health Organisation) was identified in Wuhan, the most populous city in central China.
Following cross-continental spread of COVID-19, on the 11th of March the World Health Organisation declared COVID-19 a pandemic, a term used for when a disease spreads across numerous continents, affecting huge numbers of the global population.
Symptoms of the new COVID-19 virus include shortness of breath, high temperature and a new and continuous cough.
Research indicates that the virus spreads quickly through close human contact (around six feet) and through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.
Countries around the world are taking drastic measures to prevent and delay the spread of the virus, to ensure the safety of their respective populations, and to safeguard those who are the most vulnerable.
As of the 6th of March, the mortality rate for COVID-19 Is around 3-4%, meaning that there is a high recovery rate.
By practising good personal hygiene and listening to NHS and PHE’s advice on COVID-19, we can all stay safe and prevent the spread of the virus.
Self-isolation means staying in your home for seven days and not leaving for any reason.
Self-isolation is recommended for all individuals who may have visited an infected area, come into contact with someone who is unwell, or developed any symptoms.
This is to try and prevent the spread of the virus, as although there is a good recovery rate at present, those who may not have functioning immune systems or are in high-risk categories may be put in danger.
This is the official NHS advice on how to self-isolate:
- Keep at least 2 metres (3 steps) from other people in your home
- Ask friends and delivery services to deliver things like food shopping and medicines
- Regularly wash your hands with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds
- Drink plenty of water and take everyday painkillers, such as paracetamol and ibuprofen, to help with your symptoms
- Do not have visitors and do not go out of your property
Complete isolation is not tenable for everyone as there are essential errands such as collecting daily medication, but it is important to limit exposure and only undertake necessary trips.
If you do need to self-isolate, ensure you have some long-life food such as rice, pasta, beans and noodles, as well as a good book!
We all need to come together to help each other and support individuals who are in self-isolation. This could be through collecting groceries for your neighbour or checking in to see how people are doing.
We aim to act in line with official recommendations as well as the best interests of our staff and beneficiaries. At present we ask that individuals practice good hygiene and look out for one another, with further advice to follow when more information is provided. Please continue to check our website and social media for updates.
WHO Information https://www.who.int/health-topics/coronavirus
NHS Information https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/
UK Government Information: https://www.gov.uk/government/topical-events/coronavirus-covid-19-uk-government-response
Hygiene Video https://youtu.be/DYcxWLgg9As
Map and Statistics: https://experience.arcgis.com/experience/685d0ace521648f8a5beeeee1b9125cd