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Covid-19 Lockdown Update

A message from Paxton Green former GP

Hi Timebankers,

I hope you are staying safe and well.

Once again, things may change now we are going into the next phase (Alert level 3)

Test and Trace starts today.

As the government tries to slowly release the lockdown we have to remember that the Coronavirus is still present in the community and so the basic messages of ‘wash your hands’ and ‘social distancing’ are very much still needed.

The government hopes that the level of contamination in the community is now such that people can start to go back to work in shops, hairdressers, and some hospitality areas and also that some children can go back to school. Employers will have to ensure that the workplaces are suitable and safe for this to happen.

However, this move increases the potential of the virus to spread again as more people comeinto contact with one another once more.

In order to try to minimise the amount the virus can spread there will be a Contact tracing system put into place from today. Contact tracing is by no means new and has been used for many years by Public Health doctors to contact people who have been in contact with sufferers of Sexually transmitted diseases or other infectious diseases like TB or meningitis. The difference is just the scale of the problem with coronavirus, as this new virus has the potential to spread very quickly. Now we think the virus is only being spread from any one person to only one or fewer people. This is the R rate you may have heard about.

The R rate (reproduction)

So, at the moment if ten people in a community have coronavirus, they are likely to pass it on to another nine between them. (R rate at 0.9) If those ten people can pass it on to 11 people the infection rate will grow again ( R rate 1.1) and we know that at the peak the R rate was 3 i.e. ten people could pass the virus to another 30 people, thus speeding up the spread. If we can keep, the R rate to below one the virus can be contained and will eventually fizzle out.

So, how will Test and Trace work?

The government has recruited 20,000 clinicians (e.g.retired GPs) to do the tracing. If someone has symptoms, they can now request a test (online or by phone). If that person tests positive for coronavirus, they will be contacted by phone, text or email by one of these tracers. They will askabout their movements in the previous few days up until they became aware they had the virus. (Usuallythe previous 48hours) This information is confidential.

The tracer will note down the names (and contact details if possible), of anyone who may have been at risk of exposure to the virus from the initial person. They will not reveal where they got that information.

Exposure is defined as contact with someone with the virus:

*being within two metres of another person for 15 minutesor more,

*having face-to-face contact with someone (less than 1 metre away)

*travelling in a car or other small vehicle with someone (even on a short journey) or close to them on a plane

The tracer will then phone each of these contacts and ask them to self-isolate for 14 days immediately. If any of the contacts develop symptoms then they will be asked to get a test (online or request by phone). If that test is positive, they will be phoned and their contacts asked for. Their contacts will be asked to self isolate immediately but hopefully, if they have been self-isolating properly then the number will be minimal. In this way, we hope that the virus will not be able to spread again, as those who are infected will be out of circulation long enough for them not to pass the virus on.

This did in fact start to happen at the beginning of the pandemic and other countries have been doing it for a while.

So, the key messages are:

Stay at home unless:

1. You are able to go to work in a safe environment

2. You are taking your children to school (abideby their drop off instructions)

3. You are shopping in a safe environment

4. You are exercising and keeping to social distancing rules

Wash your hands:

*At least 6-10 times a day and after going out or handling shopping or goods:

If you develop symptoms that you think, maybe coronavirus then ask for a test, online or by phone. If you think,you have developed coronavirus immediately self isolate for 7 days and get any other member of your household to self isolate for 14 days. If you can, let the NHS test and trace team know.

If a tracer contacts you,please adhere to their advice. They will ask you about any contact you have had with other people,please be honest and remember that the information is confidential and no onewill know who has told the tracer.

Adhere to Social Distancing:

*If you go to work try not to use public transport

*Stay 2 metres apart from people when you are out ( this may change to 1.5m but not yet)

*Work from home if you can

Get a test:

If you develop a temperature over 37.8 degrees

If you develop a new persistent dry cough (itis hay fever season so that could confuse matters)

If you feel excessively tired for no good reason and lose your sense of smell or taste

As we enter the next phase of this pandemic it is vital that we don’t get complacent (in spite of the furoreover the last few days) and stick to the ‘rules’ and guidelines which are there to help us all as long as we are sensible

Hope that helps

The government website is:

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/nhs-test-and-trace-how-it-works

Louise(Paxton Green Time Bank Trustee & Former GP)

Download a copy of our Coronavirus information leaflet below.

Paxton Green Time Bank Information Leaflet