In light of the recent outbreak of the coronavirus in China and the diagnosis of cases in the UK, we wish to reassure our residents, their families, our staff and suppliers that we will deal with any suspected outbreak in accordance with published NHS Guidelines. These cover the potential identification and diagnosis of the virus in someone connected to one of our homes or support offices, as well as the process to be followed thereafter – isolation of the patient, their transfer to a specialist unit and the environmental deep cleaning of the home.
Although the virus is commonly seen across the world, the type that has been identified in Wuhan City, China, is a new version – Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCov) – and the full extent of its symptoms and behaviour are still coming to light.
Coronavirus is a mild, upper respiratory tract infection, with or without fever, and a cough that can potentially develop into pneumonia, causing breathing difficulties. As with influenza, coronavirus can be more dangerous for vulnerable people such as the elderly and those with cancer, diabetes, chronic lung disease and other conditions that result in a weakened immune system. The virus is most often spread via close (up to six feet) person-to-person contact. Just like influenza and other respiratory illnesses, respiratory droplets from infected coughs or sneezes can land in the mouths or noses of those nearby or be inhaled into their lungs. However, it’s currently unclear if a person can get 2019-nCoV by handling a virus-contaminated surface or object and then touching their own mouth, nose or eyes. Typically, with most respiratory viruses, people are thought to be at their most contagious when they appear ill with symptoms.
What you should do
According to the latest information, the virus is most likely to occur in people who have recently returned from China, Hong Kong, Japan, Macau, Malaysia, Republic of Korea, Singapore, Taiwan or Thailand. For everyone’s safety and wellbeing, we strongly urge that family members or friends who have recently travelled to these places, or have been in contact with people who have travelled to/from such countries, do not visit their loved one in the homes until the incubation period has passed. This is currently 14 days, but this advice may change.
If you have either travelled to the countries listed, or been in contact with anyone who has, please call NHS 111 immediately for advice. The NHS/Gov.UK publishes the following guidelines for those who feel that they may be at risk: