Guidance on how the NHS’ army of volunteers can assist vulnerable people without spreading the virus has been developed by EH consultant Penny Dawson.
EHPs have been urged to assist their local communities and consultants have told EHN Extra that they are getting involved in local campaigns. An area of concern previously highlighted is lack of training in food safety and hygiene, and infectious disease control.
Following the Government’s call for volunteers to assist the NHS in delivering food and medicine to vulnerable people self-isolating, Dawson published guidance she has been developing for key workers since the start of the outbreak, on how to do this safely.
The government wishes to recruit 250,000 people to help, and 170,000 people signed up in the first 15 hours. Dawson's guidance is also applicable for nurses, delivery drivers, nursery staff and other key workers.
The guidance has already been circulating in the Derby area through the Covid19 Derby Group, and the Covid Chellaston Group (the latter was set up by Dawson herself and is now part of the national register of COVID-19 support groups) and is freely available for the public on the Facebook group and here.
Dawson said: “I drew up the guidance to support those on the front line in the community with essential advice that is practical and easy to follow. On my LinkedIn posts nurses are saying that their staff are leaving their front line work and are then having to go shopping for essential supplies.
“The virus is transmitted on clothing and hair, so on outer clothing and managing cross infection contamination is essential. This is referenced in my document.
“Hypochlorites (bleach) are cheap effective knock out agents, and found in all supermarkets, and most shops, and are effective in this situation. The guidance goes on to give all health and safety measures.
“Hypochlorites are very safe if used correctly. They also have an efficacy of 24 hours, whereas alcohol gels which are single use and flash off once wiped over a surface, are expensive to produce, and are much less effective in terms of practicality of use.”
*Let us know how you’ve been helping during the outbreak and your concerns. Email K.Coyne@cieh.org