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We have a suspected case of COVID-19 - Panic?

infection control Sep 15, 2020

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Our workplace COVID conversation changed this week – we have had a suspected case and another colleague was in close contact with a suspected case.

It’s all been happening. 
 
The information in the  (free accredited) COVID qualification didn’t help me to manage that bombshell – I hope it doesn’t happen to you, if it does, this is what I learned.
 
  • Guidance for action on what to do when an employee suspects they have been infected is thin on the ground and not at all easy to find.
 
There are 3 symptoms of COVID -19 listed on the NHS website 
  • a high temperature – this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)
  • a new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual)
  • a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste – this means you've noticed you cannot smell or taste anything, or things smell or taste different to normal
 
If an employee exhibits symptoms they are required to
  • Get a test 
  • Stay at home and do not have visitors 
That’s easy – but as an employer – what do I have to do?  
I discovered that as long as we had our control measures in place, avoiding close contact, we could carry on as usual (and we did). 

Just in case you ever need to know…. these are the key considerations

Contacts of a person who has tested positive for COVID-19 need to self-isolate at home because they are at risk of developing symptoms themselves in the next 14 days and could spread the virus to others before the symptoms begin.
 
A ‘contact’ is a person who has been close to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 anytime from 2 days before the person was symptomatic up to 10 days from onset of symptoms (this is when they are infectious to others).

For example, a contact can be:

·       people who spend significant time in the same household as a person who has tested positive for COVID-19
·       sexual partners
·       a person who has had face-to-face contact (within one metre), with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, including:
·       being coughed on
·       having a face-to-face conversation within one metre
·       having skin-to-skin physical contact, or
·       contact within one metre for one minute or longer without face-to-face contact
·       a person who has been within 2 metres of someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 for more than 15 minutes
·       a person who has travelled in a small vehicle with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 or in a large vehicle or plane near someone who has tested positive for COVID-19
Where an interaction between 2 people has taken place through a Perspex (or equivalent) screen, this would not be considered sufficient contact, provided that there has been no other contact such as any of those indicated above.

Our workplace control measures are onerous and strictly enforced, as a result, we didn’t have to send anyone home. 

I will write again detailing our control measures – the theory is one thing, practice is quite another – the Sunday special will have lots of pics of our new JY HQ and our very beautiful control measures (not a mask in sight – don’t panic, we don’t offer treatments at HQ just yet).

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