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Here is an extract from the daily email (received at 1440hrs on Tuesday 17 March 2020) to keep schools updated on the government’s response to COVID-19 (coronavirus).

New guidance for households with symptoms

Yesterday, the Government introduced new guidance on whole household isolation in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak:

  • if you live alone and you have symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19), however mild, stay at home for 7 days from when your symptoms started
  • if you live with others and you or another member of the household have symptoms of coronavirus, then all household members must stay at home and not leave the house for 14 days. The 14-day period starts from the day when the first person in the house became ill. It is likely that people living within a household will infect each other or be infected already. Staying at home for 14 days will greatly reduce the overall amount of infection the household could pass on to others in the community
  • for anyone in the household who starts displaying symptoms, they need to stay at home for 7 days from when the symptoms appeared, regardless of what day they are on in the original 14-day isolation period.

The symptoms are:

  • A high temperature (37.8 degrees and above)
  • A new, continuous cough

The full stay at home guidance for households with these symptoms can be found here:

The Prime Minister’s statement from Monday 16 March can be found here:

Temporary suspension of Ofsted inspections

Ofsted is to temporarily suspend routine inspections of schools, colleges, early years settings, children’s social care providers and local authorities to reduce the burden on staff who are providing vital services to the nation in response to coronavirus.

The current medical and scientific advice is for schools and other educational establishments to stay open. If this changes and the Chief Medical Officer and the Chief Scientific Adviser say closing schools, colleges, and early years settings is in the best interests of children and teachers the Department will take that step.

The full announcement made by Gavin Williamson can be viewed here:

Message from Director of Public Health – 15th March 2020

 

As a result of increasing number of cases, the government have announced the move from containment to delay phase of our response to COVID-19. 

 

This leads to significant change in the way we identify and manage potential cases of COVID-19. 

 

The updated advice for people who suspect they have coronavirus is as follows:

 

  1. You must stay at home (self-isolate), regardless of the travel history or contact with confirmed cases, if you  have:  
    1. A new continuous cough. OR
    2. High temperature (of 37.8c or higher)
  2. The geographic element of the case definition has now been removed. Travel and contact history are no longer important for diagnosis, which is on the basis of symptoms alone. If people who have travelled do not have symptoms they do not need to stay at home, regardless of their travel history.

 

Symptomatic Individuals should stay at home (self-isolate) for 7 days from the onset of symptoms following the current advice.

 

People who have the above symptoms and suspect they have Covid-19 will no longer be tested.

 

If someone has serious symptoms they cannot manage at home they should use NHS 111 online (people should only call NHS111 if they cannot get online).   

 

After 7 days of self-isolation, people who feel better and no longer have a high temperature can return to their normal routine.   If they have not had any signs of improvement after 7 days and have not already sought medical advice, they should use NHS111 before they leave their home or let visitors in. Cough may persist for several weeks in some people, despite the coronavirus infection having cleared.   A persistent cough alone does not mean someone must continue to stay at home for more than 7 days. 

 

If you are a  suspect case and self-isolate, the public and the organisations concerned do not have to take extra measures beyond this, for now.  The above measures have been put in place to protect vast majority of the public while causing minimum impact on the day to day business.

 

As we move further into Delay phase, the government may consider other measures like social distancing in the future.  It is very important that we don’t deviate from the current government position, which is based on best scientific evidence available to us. It is also important that we take a longer term view on this.  We need to make sure the right measures are put in place at the right time, to ensure maximum positive impact.  Otherwise it can be extremely counterproductive. 

 

The evidence still indicates that most cases experience mild flu like symptoms.  If you do have any concern please do visit the public health website www.gov.uk/coronavirus which provides up to date reliable information.  As the situation evolves further new information will be added to this website.

 

You can continue to take sensible precautions to help slow the spread of almost any germs, including Coronavirus:

 

  • Always carry tissues to catch your cough or sneeze
  • Bin used tissues as quickly as possible
  • Wash your hands often with warm water and soap

 

Kind Regards

Ansaf

Ansaf Azhar

Corporate Director of Public Health and Wellbeing

Oxfordshire County Council & Cherwell District Council

Message from Director of Public Health – Wednesday 11th March 2020

As you know the number of confirmed Coronavirus cases across the country and in Oxfordshire are continuing to rise.  This is expected and we will continue to see more cases in the coming days and weeks.  The NHS and public organisations are fully prepared to deals with this.  We know all of you are working incredibly hard to help us plan for the coming weeks ahead. 

Although preparations are been considered for the “delay” phase, we still remain in the “containment” phase.  Therefore as we see more cases, Public Health England will continue to work with the individuals concerned to identify close contacts and take necessary actions.  As a result we will see more people being asked to self isolate and test for coronavirus.  Almost 30,000 people in the country have been asked to self isolate and test and in the coming days you will see this to be common practice.  It is perfectly normal if someone at your work place, businesses or schools are asked to self isolate.  The advice remains the same.  It is business as usual now.  You or your organisation do not need to do anything unless you have been contacted by Public Health England.     

We understand this can be concerning to the public but still stress there is no need for alarm. The situation is constantly evolving and it is important that people continue to go about their daily business and keep our services to the public running as normal. 

The evidence still indicates that most cases continue to experience mild flu like symptoms.  If you do have any concern please do visit the public health website www.gov.uk/coronavirus which provides up to date reliable information.  As the situation evolves further new information will be added to this website.    

In addition to this I would also like to direct you towards the following PHE blogs which may help address some of the common questions you may have. 

Last but not least, I want to thank for all you continued effort, patience and hard work in dealing with this.  All of you can also help yourself by taking the usual precautionary measures that would help slow the spread of almost any germs, including Coronavirus:

  • Always carry tissues to catch your cough or sneeze
  • Bin used tissues as quickly as possible
  • Wash your hands often with warm water and soap

Kind regards

Ansaf

 

Ansaf Azhar

Corporate Director of Public Health and Wellbeing

Oxfordshire County Council & Cherwell District Council

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