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How to protect your residents, staff and yourself from Coronavirus

CORONAVIRUS

I was chatting to a dear friend and very loyal customer recently, and we were discussing what would happen if they had an outbreak of Coronavirus in their care home and putting a contingency plan in place. I asked if it would be useful if I put some information together designed to help care homes and she agreed it would.

 So I would like to share the following information in support of the breakout of Coronavirus 2019-nCoV which, I hope, will help you as this is an extremely serious breakout and taking action now will hopefully prevent you, your residents and staff from getting ill.

A BIT OF BACKGROUND

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses. Some can cause illness in people including mild symptoms, such as the common cold. Other strains can lead to pneumonia and cause more severe disease e.g. SARS and MERS.

There are currently no vaccines or a cure for Coronavirus, and antibiotics will not work. Recovery depends on initial health – how strong the sufferer’s immune system is to begin with.

Coronavirus can be spread by close contact through droplet transmission from coughing and sneezing, direct human to human contact, touching contaminated surfaces or breathing aerosols generated by medical procedures.

People living in care homes are especially vulnerable to infections and severe disease because:

  • Residents are often elderly and frail with other underlying diseases
  • Infections can spread rapidly in care homes due to the close contact between residents and without adequate infection control, carers can unintentionally facilitate the spread of infection between residents

An outbreak in a care home can therefore rapidly cause significant illness and potentially death and requires prompt investigation and management

SO WHAT IS THE DEFINITION OF AN OUTBREAK?

Two or more cases (as defined below) arising within the same 48-hour period OR three or more cases arising within the same 72-hour period, which meet the same clinical case definition and where a link can be established.

Common signs of infection include:

  • Respiratory symptoms
  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath and breathing difficulties

OR in older people an acute deterioration in physical or mental ability without other known cause

In more severe cases infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death.

What can you do to protect your staff and residents?

Hand Hygiene

Washing hands

Effective hand cleansing is the best first line of defence against coronavirus.

  • Wash physically dirty hands frequently using a mild soap and running water for at least 20-30 seconds using absorbent disposable hand towels for hand drying or
  • Use a minimum 60% alcohol-based hand sanitiser compliant with BS EN 1500:2013 for hand sanitising if hands are visibly clean.

Why? Washing your hands with soap and water or using alcohol-based hand rub eliminates the virus if it is on your hands. 

To understand hand hygiene fully please read this Get Wise to Hand Hygiene Leaflet written by BHTA Experts including our MD Jo Bonser

Practice respiratory hygiene

When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with flexed elbow or use tissues – discard tissue immediately into a closed bin and clean your hands with a 60% alcohol-based hand sanitiser or soap and water.

Why? Covering your mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing prevent the spread of germs and viruses. If you sneeze or cough into your hands, you may contaminate objects or people that you touch.

Maintain social distancing

Maintain at least 1 metre (3 feet) distance between yourself and other people, particularly those who are coughing, sneezing and have a fever.

Why? When someone who is infected with a respiratory disease, like 2019-nCoV, coughs or sneezes they project small droplets containing the virus. If you are too close, you can breathe in the virus.

Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth

Why? Hands touch many surfaces which can be contaminated with the virus. If you touch your eyes, nose or mouth with your contaminated hands, you can transfer the virus from the surface to yourself. 

Use of disposable face masks and disposable gloves can help to protect against this transferring of the virus.

Effective surface decontamination

  • The Coronavirus is not currently available for commercial laboratories to test against so although we cannot give a definitive contact time and dilution rate, our surface disinfection products Selgiene Ultra Virucidal Cleaner and Selgiene Extreme Sanitiser have been assessed for virucidal activity following test methods such as BS EN 14476 and BS EN 14675. Results show they are effective against a range of viruses such as the H1N1 influenza virus, Norovirus, Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, HIV and the Ebola virus.

We would therefore recommend using the below products for general disinfection in the infection prevention and control for the 2019-nCoV on frequently touched surfaces including hand rails, door handles, light switches etc.

Product                                              Concentration                        Contact time

Selgiene Ultra (5 litres)                      1:10                                         5 minutes

 

Selgiene Ultra/Extreme RTU             Neat                                       5 minutes

Where specific cases are suspected or identified we would recommend an additional step of applying 1000ppm bleach (after precleaning with Selgiene). We advise the use of Selgiene for precleaning to minimise the risk that the cleaning cloths become a source of cross contamination.

To achieve 1000ppm bleach see below.

Product                                   Preparation               Concentration            Contact time

Chlorine Tablets                     1 tablet in 1L water     1000ppm                     15 minutes

Please note, all of the products listed are subject to availability, we advise you take precautions and order any additional stock you may need now to avoid disappointment.

If you would like any more help or information regarding how to protect your home from Coronavirus please contact Hcsuk on 01773 713713 or email us at [email protected]

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