GUIDANCE ON COVID: NOVEMBER 1ST 2021
Q: THINGS ARE BACK TO NORMAL AREN’T THEY?
Well, not quite, not yet. Depends what you mean by “normal”. The official health message is “It is still possible to catch and spread COVID-19, even if you are fully vaccinated…. we need to learn to live with (Covid) and manage the risks to ourselves and others. We can all play our part by understanding the situations where the risk of infection and transmission is higher, and take action to reduce these risks”. (Govt. website Oct. 15th 2021)
Q: SO WHAT CAN WE DO TO STAY SAFE THEN…?
Keep windows and doors open to allow fresh air in when we meet indoors.
Wear face masks in crowded enclosed spaces when we meet people we don’t usually meet very often.
Do a home test regularly even if we don’t have any Covid symptoms.
Wash our hands often with soap and water or use hand sanitiser.
Make sure the venues we use are safe and Covid secure.
Q: WHY SHOULD WE BOTHER…?
Taking steps to stay safe protects ourselves and also helps to protect others. Nothing is risk free but we can protect ourselves and those around us. These are personal choices that help to minimise catching or spreading COVID. Other people may be more cautious, and we need to accept they may want to avoid contact with others.
When someone with COVID coughs, talks or breathes they release droplets and aerosols which can be breathed in by other people. So if we meet indoors we should allow fresh air into the room we use. The more fresh air we let in the less likely it is that someone will inhale infectious particles. Opening windows for 10 minutes makes a big difference. This is particularly important before, during and after meeting people we don’t live with.
Wearing a face covering
COVID spreads through the air by droplets and aerosols exhaled by an infected person. That’s why we should wear face coverings in crowded and enclosed areas where we come into contact with people we do not meet very often.
Take a home test even if we don’t have any symptoms
Around 1 in 3 people with COVID don’t have any symptoms. This means we can spread the virus without knowing it. Regular testing increases the chances of detecting the virus even if we don’t have any symptoms, and helps to stop the spread of COVID. Lateral flow tests – home test kits - are free of charge.
Washing hands with soap and water or hand sanitiser regularly throughout the day is an effective way to reduce our risk of catching illnesses, including COVID-19. It is particularly important to wash our hands after coughing, sneezing and blowing our nose, before we eat or handle food, and after touching surfaces such as handles, handrails, light switches, kitchens and bathrooms.
The venues we use such as community centres and village halls are able to open and capacity limits have been lifted. To minimise the risk of COVID the people responsible for venues should:
a) identify poorly ventilated areas and improve air flow in these areas
b) ensure staff who are unwell don’t attend the venue
c) provide hand sanitiser to enable staff and customers to clean their hands frequently
d) clean surfaces that people touch regularly.