All Staff COVID-19 Guidance – December 2021
The statement given by the First Minister Nicola Sturgeon on 10th December 2021 stated that “we do face a renewed and a very severe challenge in the shape of the Omicron variant”. The full statement can be viewed at Coronavirus (COVID-19) update: First Minister's speech – 10 December 2021 - gov.scot (www.gov.scot)
In Scotland, household contacts of any confirmed coronovirus cases now need to isolate for a period of 10 days - regardless of their vaccine status.
Key workers without symptoms may be eligible for exemption from self-isolation.
Coronavirus (COVID-19): Self-isolation exemption for health and social care workers | NHS inform
There are several criteria that must be met:
- You’ve been identified as a close contact.
- You’re fully vaccinated – this means you’ve received 2 doses and you had your second dose more than 14 days ago. This needs to be verified with your line manager.
- You do not have symptoms of coronavirus.
- You are not currently self-isolating as a case.
- You do not develop symptoms in the 10 days since you last saw the person who tested positive.
- You’ve had an initial negative PCR test result. If you’ve tested positive for coronavirus in the last 90 days, you’ll need an initial negative LFD test rather than an initial PCR test before returning to work.
- You take a daily lateral flow device (LFD) test before starting work for the 10 days since you last saw the person who tested positive. If you live with the person who tested positive, the daily LFD tests start from the date of their first symptoms, or their positive test if they do not have symptoms.
- You must report the result of every daily LFD test to your line manager. You must also report your result through the NHS Scotland portal. If you have a positive LFD test, you must self-isolate and arrange a PCR test (even if you have had a positive PCR result in the previous 90 days) to help with further risk assessment before returning to work.
- You do not work with immunosuppressed patients – for example in oncology settings. If you do, you may be asked by your line manager to work within other areas.
- You continue to follow infection prevention and control guidance.
It remains the responsibility of each of us to do the right thing with the most current advice available. The most recent guidelines from the Scottish Government can be accessed at Coronavirus in Scotland - gov.scot (www.gov.scot) and includes:
To help protect yourself and others:
- get the vaccine or the vaccine booster
- if you don’t have symptoms take regular lateral flow tests – especially before mixing with other people - order LFD tests
- think carefully about unnecessary contact with other people, especially in crowded places – it would be sensible to postpone work Christmas parties
- wear a face covering where required
- if you have symptoms - self isolate and book a PCR test
- wash your hands regularly, and cover your nose and mouth if coughing or sneezing
open windows when meeting indoors
- if you can, keep your distance from people not in your group
work from home if possible
- use the apps: COVID status, Protect Scotland and Check-in Scotland
Staff are responsible for remaining aware of changing guidance, minimising risk to themselves, their families, and the people we support.
It is important everyone knows what to do and does it. Individually and collectively, we need to take care of each other and those we support. If people don’t follow guidelines, they could put their families, colleagues and supported individuals at risk. We provide support to a lot of frail, vulnerable people who are at higher risk of becoming very unwell or dying. We need to do everything we can to avoid that.
Stay aware of how the virus is spread to protect yourself and others. Coronavirus is spread via secretions from infected people.
It can be inhaled into the lungs from infected people coughing and sneezing into the air and also can be picked up by touching contaminated surfaces or the hands of an infected person and then touching your own mouth, nose, or eyes (e.g. touching doorknob or shaking hands then touching own face).
We all must continue to adhere to all previous infection control guidelines which have been issued.
To prevent becoming infected, frequently wash your hands with soap and warm water for 20 seconds. Use alcohol sanitisers with at least 60% alcohol only if handwashing facilities are not available. Dry your hands completely with a disposable towel. Use the disposable towel to turn off the tap.
Wash your hands frequently and after:
- taking public transport
- before leaving home and arriving home
- on arrival and on leaving each work environment
- after using the toilet
- before food preparation
- before eating any food, including snacks
- after using supermarket trolleys etc. (clean trolleys before use if possible)
- after breaks and personal activities
We must all remain vigilant in ensuring that no action or omission on our part gives the virus a chance to spread.
- Wear face coverings inside shops, restaurants, public transport etc.
- Avoid touching your face, eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in a bin and wash your hands. Catch It, Bin It, Kill It.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces at least x2 daily with domestic/anti-bacterial cleaning products in work or domestic settings.
Staff must use personal protective equipment (PPE) for activities that bring them into close personal contact, such as washing and bathing, personal hygiene and contact with bodily fluids. Aprons, gloves and fluid repellent surgical masks must be used in these situations. If there is a risk of splashing, then eye protection will minimise risk.
New personal protective equipment must be used for each episode of care.
It is very important that all staff who use PPE understand what PPE to use and how it should be used safely; the resources provided below will assist you in doing this.
The symptoms of the previous Covid Delta variant were a loss of taste or smell, sore throat, runny nose, a high temperature and continuous cough.
People who have been diagnosed with the new Covid Omicron variant are presenting with symptoms including fatigue, muscle aches, "scratchy throat", dry cough and high pulse. A few infected people also had a high temperature.
If you feel unwell, contact your line manager or on-call manager, stay at home, arrange a COVID-19 test and follow NHS advice on Coronavirus (COVID-19) - NHS (www.nhs.uk)
Please contact the HR department if you have concerns re income and sickness support. As employee owners, this is your company. We all need to do the right thing by the company to ensure it remains financially viable and support genuine staff need. We do not intend to support anyone who may see an opportunity to take advantage this current situation. Some decisions will be determined at the manager’s discretion. Any such situations will be equally considered with all relevant information to ensure fairness for all staff.
Social Care Workers have been encouraged to make arrangements to receive the Flu vaccine. More information on eligibility and how to make an appointment in your area is available at https://www.nhsinform.scot/flu-vaccine - or call 0800 224488 where an NHS24 call handler will be able to direct you.
Please download and utilise the Health Assured App which has lots of helpful information and programs for you to follow to assist in your physical, mental health and wellbeing: https://healthassuredeap.co.uk/home
Password: xxxxx [please obtain from HR]
Please keep yourself and others safe and well
Governance and Business Manager