COVID-19 Update 3 – Social Isolation
On Monday 16th March the UK government announced a package of measures, advising those who are at the highest risk of mortality and severe illness to undergo strict Social Isolation with no contact from the outside world beyond that absolutely necessary, for a period of at least 12 weeks.
Patients who are within this category should have received a letter from the Government.
Highest risk of mortality and severe illness
This group has been identified to the public as those who are:
- Solid organ transplant recipients
- People with specific cancers
- People with cancer who are undergoing active chemotherapy or radical radiotherapy for lung cancer
- People with cancers of the blood or bone marrow such as leukaemia, lymphoma or myeloma who are at any stage of treatment
- People having immunotherapy or other continuing antibody treatments for cancer
- People having other targeted cancer treatments which can affect the immune system, such as protein kinase inhibitors or PARP inhibitors.
- People who have had bone marrow or stem cell transplants in the last 6 months, or who are still taking immunosuppression drugs.
- People with severe respiratory conditions including all cystic fibrosis, severe asthma and severe COPD
- People with rare diseases and inborn errors of metabolism that significantly increase the risk of infections (such as SCID, homozygous sickle cell disease)
- People on immunosuppression therapies sufficient to significantly increase risk of infection
- People who are pregnant with significant heart disease, congenital or acquired
What is Social Isolation?
- Strictly avoid contact with someone who is displaying symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19). These symptoms include high temperature and/or new and continuous cough.
- Do not leave your house.
- Do not attend any gatherings. This includes gatherings of friends and families in private spaces, for example, family homes, weddings and religious services.
- Do not go out for shopping, leisure or travel. When arranging food or medication deliveries, these should be left at the door to minimize contact.
- Keep in touch using remote technology such as telephone, internet and social media.
- Do use telephone or online services to contact your GP or other essential services.
We know that stopping these activities will be difficult. You should try to identify ways of staying in touch with others and participating in your normal activities remotely from your home. However, you must not participate in alternative activities if they involve any contact with other people.
This advice will be in place for at least 12 weeks from the day you receive your letter.
The rest of your household should support you to stay safe and stringently follow guidance on social distancing, reducing their contact outside the home. In your home, you should:
- minimize the time you spend with others in shared spaces (kitchen, bathroom and sitting areas) and keep shared spaces well ventilated
- aim to keep 2 metres (3 steps) away from others and encourage them to sleep in a different bed where possible
- use separate towels and, if possible, use a separate bathroom from the rest of the household, or clean the bathroom after every use
- avoid using the kitchen when others are present, take your meals back to your room to eat where possible, and ensure all kitchenware is cleaned thoroughly.
Published: Mar 30, 2020