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COVID-19 - Frequently Asked Questions

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This page contains information and advice regarding COVID-19 in the form of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs). These will be updated on a regular basis.

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*The above image states: If you have any clinical questions regarding the coronavirus please call 01481 756938 or 01481 756969 between 8am and 10pm daily.  If the information provided on these pages does not answer any non-clinical questions, please email publichealth@gov.gg

  • General

    • What is a coronavirus?

      Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses with some causing less-severe disease, such as the common cold, and others causing more severe disease such as Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS), which caused an outbreak in 2012 and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) coronaviruses, which also caused an outbreak back in 2002.
      Sustained human-to-human transmission has been reported - occurring in close contacts of infected patients and healthcare worker.

      What are the symptoms of possible cases of COVID-19?

      In the 14 days before the onset of illness:
      travel to an affected country (see details above) OR contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19 AND presenting with:

      • severe acute respiratory infection requiring admission to hospital with clinical or radiological evidence of pneumonia or acute respiratory distress syndrome; or
      • acute respiratory infection of any degree of severity, including at least one of shortness of breath or cough (with or without fever); or
      • fever with no other symptoms

      Clinicians should be alert to the possibility of atypical presentations in patients who are immunocompromised.

      How are coronaviruses transmitted?The routes of transmission or incubation period of SARS-CoV-2 are not fully clear yet, however, other coronaviruses are mainly transmitted by large respiratory droplets and direct or indirect contact with infected secretions. In addition to respiratory secretions, other coronaviruses have been detected in blood, faeces and urine.
      Should I wear a mask to protect myself?Wearing a mask without the proper training on how to fit it to the face does not provide you with meaningful protection from a respiratory virus, and may increase the risk of transmission if not removed and disposed of correctly. There is no evidence to support wearing a mask in people who are not sick. Public Health recommends everyday prevention actions to reduce the spread of the virus, such as hand washing, avoiding touching your eyes or nose and covering your cough or sneeze with a tissue.
      What can I do to protect myself from COVID-19?

      Simple daily precautions to help prevent the spread of respiratory illness. These include:

      • Avoid close contact with people who are sick and have travelled to an area affected by the novel coronavirus.
      • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
      • Wash your hands frequently or use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser.
      • Follow good hygiene practices: cover your nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing, use tissues only once, disposing of them promptly and carefully, wash hands frequently.
      People at my place of work have been continuing to travel and I feel vulnerable. Can I demand to work from home? Only critical workers should be travelling to and from work. All other work should be done from home wherever possible. You should discuss your concerns with your line manager or your HR team.
      I've heard that drinking lots of hot liquids helps fight the virus. This is not true. However, as with any virus you should ensure that you keep well hydrated whilst you are feeling poorly.
      Why haven't you made churches close?All places of worship have now been ordered to close with immediate effect. However, we are aware that some have been recording services and making them available online.

       

  • Health

    • Should I wear a mask to protect myself?Wearing a mask without the proper training on how to fit it to the face does not provide you with meaningful protection from a respiratory virus, and may increase the risk of transmission if not removed and disposed of correctly. There is no evidence to support wearing a mask in people who are not sick. Public Health recommends everyday prevention actions to reduce the spread of the virus, such as hand washing, avoiding touching your eyes or nose and covering your cough or sneeze with a tissue.
      What can I do to protect myself from COVID-19?

      Strict new measures have been put in place for 14 days from Wednesday 25th March, and include:

      • Requiring people to stay at home, except for very limited purposes
      • Closing non-essential shops and community spaces
      • Stopping all gatherings of more than two people in public

       

      Steps you can also take to prevent you from catching the virus including:

      • Hand washing regularly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds (sing through Happy Birthday twice)
      • Avoid touching your mouth or face
      • If you smoke, consider stopping. Quitline can offer advice and guidance on 01481 233170.
      • Follow the Catch it, Kill it, Bin it plan. Keep tissues with you to catch a cough or sneeze, disposing of them in a waste bin and then killing any remaining germs by washing your hands.
      Can I do my daily exercise with friends and family?

      You can go walking, cycling, running, sea swimming or take part in other open sea activities for your own health and welfare for up to two hours every day together with members of your household, provided social distancing is maintained with any members of the public you may meet.

      If you choose to take part in open sea activities, this is at your own risk and it may be advisable to have one other person with you for safety reasons, provided that social distancing is maintained.

      You may also exercise by yourself or with one other person who is not a member of your household provided that social distancing measures are maintained.

      My child has flu like symptoms and has been sent home from school. The rest of the family are symptomless - do they also have to self-isolate until my child's symptoms have gone?

      Strict new measures have been put in place from Wednesday 25th March, and so everyone should be staying at home, except for very limited purposes. Anyone with flu like symptoms (cough, sore throat, blocked or runny nose, muscle pain or fever) should remain at home - this is good infection prevention control at any time but particularly now.

      There is no need for symptomless members of the family to self-isolate and they should continue to attend school/work etc as normal. However, if they do develop symptoms then they should self-isolate until 48 hours after the symptoms have ceased.

      My child has recently contracted a runny nose/ blocked nose, mild cough, sneezes - can I still take them to school?

      No, the advice from the Director of Public Health is anyone who has recently developed flu-like symptoms (cough, sore throat, running or blocked nose, muscle pains, fatigue) or a fever needs to self-isolate for the duration of these symptoms AND for 48 hours after the resolution of these symptoms. By asking them to self-isolate it will help reduce the risk of the coronavirus spreading. For clarity, it is not necessary for these people to be tested for COVID-19 in the way that travellers returning from Group A (or Group B countries and exhibiting symptoms) are tested.
      While in many of these cases Islanders will have only a normal cold or flu, it is good infection prevention control whilst the Island is working to ensure it can contain the spread of COVID-19. Evidence proves that this advice could reduce the potential spread of respiratory illness by 60%.

      I work at a nursery and am unsure whether to turn children away who have recently contracted mild symptoms - I.e runny/ blocked nose, cough, sneezes.

      The advice from the Director of Public Health is anyone who has recently developed flu-like symptoms (cough, sore throat, running or blocked nose, muscle pains, fatigue) or a fever needs to self-isolate for the duration of these symptoms AND for 48 hours after the resolution of these symptoms. By asking them to self-isolate it will help reduce the risk of the coronavirus spreading. For clarity, it is not necessary for these people to be tested for COVID-19 in the way that travellers returning from Group A (or Group B countries and exhibiting symptoms) are tested.

      While in many of these cases Islanders will have only a normal cold or flu, it is good infection prevention control whilst the Island is working to ensure it can contain the spread of COVID-19. Evidence proves that this advice could reduce the potential spread of respiratory illness by 60%.

      My child has had mild symptoms for some time now, is it still safe to take them to school? If your child has had symptoms for a prolonged period of time you may wish to discuss your situation with a health care professional to ensure that you make the best decision for you and the rest of our community. However, education provision is currently only available for critical workers.
      I've heard that drinking lots of hot liquids helps fight the virus. This is not true. However, as with any virus you should ensure that you keep well hydrated whilst you are feeling poorly.
      Who are the people who have been tested positive?We are not able to comment on individual cases.

       

  • Education

    • My child has flu like symptoms and has been sent home from school. The rest of the family are symptomless - do they also have to self-isolate until my child's symptoms have gone?

      Anyone who has developed flu like symptoms (cough, sore throat, blocked or runny nose, muscle pain or fever) should stay at home for the duration of these symptoms AND for 48 hours after the resolution of these symptoms. This is good infection prevention control at any time but particularly now.
      There is no need for symptomless members of the family to self-isolate and they should continue to attend school/work etc as normal. However, if they do develop symptoms then they should self-isolate until 48 hours after the symptoms have ceased.

      My child has recently contracted a runny nose/ blocked nose, mild cough, sneezes - can I still take them to school? 

      No, the advice from the Director of Public Health is anyone who has recently developed flu-like symptoms (cough, sore throat, running or blocked nose, muscle pains, fatigue) or a fever needs to self-isolate for the duration of these symptoms AND for 48 hours after the resolution of these symptoms. By asking them to self-isolate it will help reduce the risk of the coronavirus spreading. For clarity, it is not necessary for these people to be tested for COVID-19 in the way that travellers returning from Group A (or Group B countries and exhibiting symptoms) are tested.

      While in many of these cases Islanders will have only a normal cold or flu, it is good infection prevention control whilst the Island is working to ensure it can contain the spread of COVID-19. Evidence proves that this advice could reduce the potential spread of respiratory illness by 60%.

      I work at a nursery and am unsure whether to turn children away who have recently contracted mild symptoms - I.e runny/ blocked nose, cough, sneezes.

      The advice from the Director of Public Health is anyone who has recently developed flu-like symptoms (cough, sore throat, running or blocked nose, muscle pains, fatigue) or a fever needs to self-isolate for the duration of these symptoms AND for 48 hours after the resolution of these symptoms. By asking them to self-isolate it will help reduce the risk of the coronavirus spreading. For clarity, it is not necessary for these people to be tested for COVID-19 in the way that travellers returning from Group A (or Group B countries and exhibiting symptoms) are tested.
      While in many of these cases Islanders will have only a normal cold or flu, it is good infection prevention control whilst the Island is working to ensure it can contain the spread of COVID-19. Evidence proves that this advice could reduce the potential spread of respiratory illness by 60%.

      My child has had mild symptoms for some time now, is it still safe to take them to school? If your child has had symptoms for a prolonged period of time you may wish to discuss your situation with a health care professional to ensure that you make the best decision for you and the rest of our community.
      pdf icon Frequently asked questions regarding temporary school closure [471kb]For clarity - key workers in education includes everyone needed to run the school. This is not limited to teachers. Schools cannot run without essential Learning Support Assistants, caretakers, library staff, lab technicians, administrative and office staff etc.

       

  • Business

    • I operate a commercial garage servicing vehicles and/or motorcycles, what should I do?                    Garages undertaking the repair of vehicles and motorcycles should pause from business as usual trading with immediate effect. You may provide repair services for those meeting the definition of essential workers or those otherwise authorised by the Committee for Health & Social Care through carrying out emergency repairs and maintenance by arrangement only. If you do then you must ensure that you put in place measures to ensure that social distancing and adherence to hygiene guidelines is in place when you provide emergency services.
      I operate a delivery company, moving goods around the Island. What should I do?All of the Bailiwick's couriers, shipping agents and postal workers are classified as 'Essential Workers' and therefore the delivery of goods around the Island should continue unaffected. It is advisable that all essential workers have up to date identification with them when at work and travelling to and from work should this be requested by the relevant authorities. If you do open your business then you must ensure that you put in place measures to ensure that social distancing of both your workforce and customers is maintained as practicably as possible. You must also ensure adherence to hygiene guidelines. You should only travel to and from your place of work to provide those services.
      I operate a building and plumbing supplies company. What should I do?Hardware stores, builders' merchants and stores must cease from business as usual trading with immediate effect. You may provide products to essential workers and to repair and maintenance personnel providing emergency repairs and maintenance by arrangement only. If you do then you must ensure that you put in place measures to ensure that social distancing is in place when you provide emergency products. You must also ensure adherence to hygiene guidelines.
      I am an electrician/plumber/builder/carpenter/roofer/scaffolder. What should I do?Further to an authorisation issued by the Committee for Health & Social Care, in the event of a home emergency and building repair and maintenance - plumbers, electricians, roofers, scaffolders and all others (repair and maintenance personnel), who reasonably and necessarily need to enter homes to provide essential emergency home and building repair and maintenance services are authorised to do so. If you do provide emergency building repair and maintenance services then you must ensure that you put in place measures, wherever possible and practical bearing in mind the nature and severity of the emergency, to ensure that social distancing of both your workforce and customers is maintained. You must also ensure adherence to hygiene guidelines. You should only travel to and from your place of work to provide those services.
      I run a roofing company and I have jobs still to finish, what should I do?Further to an Authorisation issued by the Committee for Health & Social Care in the event of a home emergency and building repair and maintenance - plumbers, electricians, roofers, scaffolders and all others (repair and maintenance personnel), who reasonably and necessarily need to enter homes to provide essential emergency home and building repair and maintenance services are authorised to do so. If you do provide emergency building repair and maintenance services then you must ensure that you put in place measures, wherever possible and practical bearing in mind the nature and severity of the emergency, to ensure that social distancing of both your workforce and customers is maintained. You must also ensure adherence to hygiene guidelines. You should only travel to and from your place of work to provide those services.
      I run a pet store/veterinary business - can I continue to operate? All pet stores/veterinary businesses providing items for health and welfare of animals, including animal feed and medicines, animal food, pet food, animal supplies including bedding can remain open. If you do open your business then you must ensure that you put in place measures to ensure that social distancing of both your workforce and customers is maintained. You must also ensure adherence to hygiene guidelines. Telephone and internet sales would be preferable where possible.
      I run an off-licence selling alcohol - can I continue to operate? The retail and wholesale sale of food, beverages and newspapers is an essential business and, where it involves the sale of intoxicating liquor, must be in accordance with the relevant applicable alcohol licensing regulations. If you do open your business then you must ensure that you put in place measures to ensure that social distancing of both your workforce and customers is maintained. If this is not possible then you will not be able to open. You must also ensure adherence to hygiene guidelines. It would be preferable that where goods can be delivered that companies offers a home delivery service. You should only travel to and from your place of work to provide those services.
      I run a garden plant centre - can I continue to operate? Stores (which may include garden plant centres) that provide hardware products necessary for home and business maintenance, sanitation and farm equipment, supplies for gardening/farming/agriculture must cease trading with immediate effect.
      I am a taxi driver - can I continue to operate? All of the Island's taxi drivers are 'Essential Workers' and therefore the provision of public transport around the Island should continue unaffected. It is advisable that all Essential Workers have up to date identification with them when at work and travelling to and from work should this be requested by the relevant authorities. If you do open your business then you must ensure that you put in place measures to ensure that social distancing of both your workforce and customers is maintained as practicably as possible. You must also ensure adherence to hygiene guidelines.
      I operate a business providing goods or services which are not essential - can I continue to operate? If your business is not operated from an essential retail outlet and does not use essential workers as defined in the guidance, then you must now cease trading with immediate effect. Outdoor businesses such as window cleaning, gardening, decorating and outdoor building trades must cease trading with immediate effect while these measures are in place.
      I am a marine engineer/boat repairer - can I continue to operate?You must cease from business as usual trading with immediate effect. You may provide services to essential businesses carrying out emergency repairs and maintenance by arrangement only. If you do then you must ensure that you put in place measures to ensure that social distancing is in place when you provide emergency repairs and maintenance. You must also ensure adherence to hygiene guidelines.
      I run a small holding/I am a small home producer - can I continue to operate?You must ensure that you put in place measures to ensure that social distancing of both your workforce and customers is maintained. You must also ensure adherence to hygiene guidelines. Goods should be delivered and not collected by customers in person. If this is not possible then you will not be able to open. You should only travel to and from your place of work to provide those services.
      I operate a domestic cleaning service - can I continue to operate?Your business must cease from trading with immediate effect.
      I operate a dry cleaners and laundry providing critical supplies for the health service - can I continue to operate?Laundry businesses can continue to operate. Dry cleaning business must cease to operate with immediate effect. If you do open your laundry business then you must ensure that you put in place measures to ensure that social distancing of both your workforce and customers is maintained. You must also ensure adherence to hygiene guidelines. If this is not possible then you will not be able to open. You should only travel to and from your place of work to provide those services.
      I operate a cleaning service for offices and other working environments - can I continue to operate?Those workers providing cleaning services for offices and other working environments for 'Essential Workers' are also classed as 'Essential Workers', and so may continue to provide a service. However, when providing services you should ensure that you put in place measures to ensure that social distancing of both your workforce and customers is maintained. If this is not possible then you must not provide the service. You must also ensure adherence to hygiene guidelines. You should only travel to and from your place of work to provide those services.
      I operate a large superstore selling a wide range of goods - Can I still operate?Large superstores which operate businesses of types that are described in the list of essential retail outlets may continue to operate those businesses but only selling essential goods and services. If you do open your business then you must ensure that you put in place measures to ensure that social distancing of both your workforce and customers is maintained. If this is not possible then you will not be able to open. You must also ensure adherence to hygiene guidelines. You should only travel to and from your place of work to provide those services.
      I operate a domestic heating/boiler engineer service - can I continue to operate?Further to an Authorisation issued by the Committee for Health & Social Care In the event of a Home Emergency - Plumbers, electricians, roofers, scaffolders and all others (repair and maintenance personnel), who reasonably and necessarily need to enter homes to provide essential emergency home and building repair and maintenance services are authorised to do so. If you do provide emergency building repair and maintenance services then you must ensure that you put in place measures, wherever possible and practical bearing in mind the nature and severity of the emergency, to ensure that social distancing of both your workforce and customers is maintained. You must also ensure adherence to hygiene guidelines. You should only travel to and from your place of work to provide those services.

       

  • Employment

    • Can I claim Sickness Benefit if I have to Self-Isolate?

      Steps have been taken to support those who need to make claims under the existing sickness benefit provision, in line with guidance from Public Health Services.
      Individuals who are self-isolating following Public Health advice DO NOT need to see their GP or provide a medical certificate (sick note) to make a claim for sickness benefit.
      As long as an individual is following Public Health advice, they can make a claim by contacting Incapacity Benefits on tel 01481 732507 or at benefits@gov.gg Social Security will be taking claims digitally wherever possible so that claims can be made while self-isolating.
      These kind of claims will generally only be valid for 14 days or until the individual receives a negative test result for COVID-19.
      If an individual does not have any symptoms that would prevent them from working and is supported to work while self-isolating by their employer, for instance at home on a laptop, they will not be eligible for sickness benefit.

      People at my place of work have been continuing to travel and I feel vulnerable. Can I demand to work from home? You should discuss your concerns with your line manager or your HR team. They may be able to make alternative arrangements for you at work, or facilitate home working.

       

  • Social Distancing

    • How can kids social distance at school?All schools, colleges and pre-schools closed from Monday 23rd March. However, provision is available for the childcare of children of key workers and children with special educational needs. Education providers should be following all guidance issued from the States of Guernsey, including social distancing.
      Can I still go to gym/ Swimming/ go on a bus?

      You can go walking, cycling, running, sea swimming or take part in other open sea activities for your own health and welfare for up to two hours every day together with members of your household, provided social distancing is maintained with any members of the public you may meet.

      If you choose to take part in open sea activities, this is at your own risk and it may be advisable to have one other person with you for safety reasons, provided that social distancing is maintained.

      You may also exercise by yourself or with one other person who is not a member of your household provided that social distancing measures are maintained.

       

  • Self-Isolation

    • What does Self-Isolation mean?

      Self-Isolation is the act of separating yourself from physical contact with the rest of the community for a specified period of time.
      This is for the good of the community, so that we can stop the possible spread of SARS-CoV-2 . We appreciate your help and support in trying to stop the spread of any infection in the Bailiwick.
      The latest information on self-isolation can be found here.
      The BBC has produced a film explaining self-isolation which can be found here.

       

  • Testing

    • Why have you stopped testing? Why are you keeping the testing results from us and not updating the website?

      We continue to test anyone returning from travel who has symptoms of a cough, fever or shortness of breath. We are also testing patients who have been admitted to the hospital with respiratory or flu like illnesses. These test numbers are collated from the various testing sites and updated as soon as we have them. Over the weekend this takes slightly longer than normal due to fewer administrative staff being on duty. This does not mean that we have stopped testing.
      The website figures are updated as soon as they are available. At times, results are received late in the evening. However, we endeavour to update the figures the same day.

       

  • Travel

    • What is essential travel? (Does a funeral count?)Yes, essential travel is considered to be for off-island medical appointments, visits to care for sick or dying relatives, funerals, students returning over university holidays etc.
      People at my place of work have been continuing to travel and I feel vulnerable. Can I demand to work from home? You should discuss your concerns with your line manager or your HR team. They may be able to make alternative arrangements for you at work, or facilitate home working.

       

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