You will probably have heard about Covid-19. It is a new form of coronavirus that is making its way around the UK and the world.
The Government are anticipating that large numbers of people across the country will get the coronavirus. Most people will only experience mild to moderate symptoms but for some people the symptoms may be more severe. People particularly at risk are the elderly and people with certain underlying health conditions.
Whether we catch coronavirus or not, it is likely that it will affect all of our lives over the coming weeks and months. Elim are doing as much planning as possible to try and ensure the impact on our services is minimised as far as possible. Below are some answers to questions that we think our residents might be asking.
There is no guarantee that anyone can avoid catching Coronavirus, but everybody is being urged to take the following actions to control its rapid spread:
• wash your hands with soap and water often – do this for at least 20 seconds
• always wash your hands when you get home or into work
• use hand sanitiser gel 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
• put used tissues in the bin immediately and wash your hands afterwards
• try to avoid close contact with people who are unwell
• do not touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean
Do not try and make a GP appointment, call an ambulance or go to A&E unless you think your life is at risk. Please go to the NHS 111 Coronavirus website. Just type in ‘111 coronavirus’ into google and you will be given a link. There is a tool on the website that will ask you some simple questions and give you further instructions based on your answer. Please follow these instructions.
For those of you that have Elim support workers, please remember that they are not health professionals and so can not offer medical advice or make a diagnosis.
If you are diagnosed with the Coronavirus, it would be helpful if you could let a member of Elim staff know. This will help us to respond appropriately if we need to deliver a service to you.
People displaying symptoms of Coronavirus will be asked to self-isolate. Self-isolation is a way of managing the spread of the virus between people. Government advice on self-isolation is below.
If you have symptoms of coronavirus infection (COVID-19), however mild, stay at home and do not leave your house for 7 days from when your symptoms started. This action will help protect others in your community whilst you are infectious.
• Ask your employer, friends and family to help you to get the things you need to stay at home.
• Stay at least 2 metres (about 3 steps) away from other people in your home whenever possible.
• Sleep alone, if that is possible.
• Wash your hands regularly for 20 seconds, each time using soap and water.
• Stay away from vulnerable individuals such as the elderly and those with underlying health conditions as much as possible.
• You do not need to call NHS111 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.
If you have been asked to self-isolate, please let a member of Elim staff know. This will help us to respond appropriately if we need to deliver a service to you.
What do I do if I have been asked to self-isolate but do not have anyone to bring me food, toilet paper or drinking water?
For some people who are living away from friends and family, self-isolation might be difficult. If you live in a supported housing service with staff present, you can contact the staff (please try and do this either by phone or email). They will try to assist you but please be aware that in the event of a shortage of supplies or a large number of staff being off work, this may be difficult.If you have to go out, then please try and make your trip as brief as possible and follow the advice above about hand-washing and keeping your distance from other people.
I share a bathroom/toilet/kitchen with other people. What should I do?
Continue to follow the advice above about self-isolation as much as you possibly can without harming your health. We are trying to purchase cleaning materials for communal areas and these should be available shortly. Please also try to stock up on essential cleaning equipment yourself, like soap, surface cleaner, cloths etc. When using communal spaces please do it as quickly as possible, using the facilities when no one else is present. Please clean them as thoroughly as possible afterwards and please return directly to your room.
Where possible, staff will try and provide you with guidance about which specific areas of the building to use.
We will try and keep our services running as normal but we do anticipate that there will be some disruption over the coming weeks and months.
You can continue to contact our Housing Officers and Maintenance Teams on our Head Office number: 01454 411172. The number for issues outside of office hours also remains in operation: 0808 1692910.
Any changes to these arrangements will be displayed on our website and via our social media.
We are preparing for the likelihood that some of our contractors may not be able to respond in the way they normally would. In this situation we will be prioritising jobs that would qualify as a 24-hour or urgent repair. This means that some routine jobs may not be picked up within our normal timescales.
Support services will continue as normal for the time being. Any changes to how we deliver support will be as a result of Government advice or industry guidance.
If Government advice does change then you may see some changes in service delivery:
• Reduced staff numbers or reduced working hours. If a number of staff have been advised to self-isolate then we will have to reduce staffing levels in our services.
• Different or new members of staff. Staff may work across different sites in order to ensure that we are able to perform essential tasks. All members of Elim staff should have an ID badge. In some cases we may be required to use staff from employment agencies. In this case, we will try to notify residents in advance.
• Support by telephone. If necessary we may conduct support meetings by telephone.
Thank you for taking the time to read this notice. This is a new challenge for everybody to deal with and we appreciate that you might have questions or concerns.
Please feel free to get in touch with you Housing Officer to discuss these, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or via social media.