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PPE guidance for healthcare professionals and other essential workers

About this guidance

This page provides guidance on Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for health and care and other essential workers, both working for the Government of Jersey and within the local community.

The guidance is based on information provided to the NHS, published by Public Health England. It has been developed by the infection control team and the senior clinical lead within Health and Community Services and approved by the Medical Officer of Health.

Guidance updated: Thursday 21 May 2020

PPE guidance

Recommended PPE Tables – Table 1 – Health and Care Sector – Secondary Care and Inpatient Settings V1.7

Recommended PPE tables – Table 2 – Health and Care Sector – Primary, Outpatient and Community Care V1.8

Recommended PPE Tables – Table 3 – Emergency Services and Funeral Directors Mortuary Staff V1.3

Recommended PPE tables – Table 4 – All Clinical Settings (without suspected confirmed COVID-19 cases) V1.7

Recommended PPE Infographic – Health and Care Sector V1.3

List of Aerosol Generating Procedures V1.2

Who the guidance is for

The purpose of this guidance is to support and protect health and care and other essential workers who are working with confirmed and suspected COVID-19 cases. PPE, alongside other infection control measures, serves to reduce the risk of infection spreading in health and care environments.  

The guidance provides workers with information about the most effective and efficient use of PPE for the various actions they are required to deliver as part of their work.

Clear guidance on PPE, combined with monitoring of its use, will help us to be best placed to manage and supply PPE stock, and forecast future requirements.

Based on the available evidence, the COVID-19 virus is transmitted between people through close contact and droplets. The people most at risk of infection are those who are in close contact within a  1 metre distance for a time of 15 minutes or more, of a COVID-19 case.  

The evidence shows that using PPE in lower risk situations only has a minimal reduction on that risk. Therefore, the guidance directs PPE use to the known higher risk situations ensuring that workers are protected appropriately to the level of risk they face.   

The PPE guidance is provided primarily to those essential workers who are very likely or likely to need to come within a 2 metre distance for a time of 15 minutes or more of a COVID-19 case as part of their essential work.  

Workers who are not required to come within 2 metres of COVID-19 cases have not been included in this guidance for that reason.   

COVID-19 case definition

A COVID-19 case is either a person who has received a positive test result for the virus or someone suspected to have COVID-19 because of their symptoms.

A suspected case is defined as a person who has developed a new continuous cough and/or a fever with a temperature of 37.8℃ or above which may be accompanied by one or more of the following:

  • headaches
  • tiredness
  • muscle ache
  • respiratory symptoms besides cough such as a sore throat, blocked or runny nose
  • gastro-intestinal symptoms can also be a feature of COVID 19 and these are more common in children than adults
  • loss of smell and taste (in some cases this may be the only symptom present) 

Risk assessment prior to entering homes 

In some cases, essential workers, for example social workers and volunteers, such as community alarm responders, will be required to enter a person’s home to provide essential support. These workers must have in place measures to prepare for and manage the risk of a householder having COVID-19. This requires good communication with householders before any essential support is provided.  

If a person in the property has, or is suspected to have, COVID-19 and it is necessary to come within 2 metres of that person reference should be made to the PPE guidance documents. A risk assessment should be completed, and appropriate PPE used.

Health care charities

All health care charities are considered to be part of the wider clinical care workforce and the guidance applies equally to workers from these charities.

Residential settings (including prison)

Essential workers in residential settings, for example, children’s provision, the Shelter, the Women’s Refuge, and prison services should ensure they are able to work within the physical distancing guidelines as far as possible and are following hand and respiratory hygiene guidance.

If a resident becomes a suspected COVID-19 case and if workers are required to come within 2 metres of them for more than 15 minutes, then a risk assessment for PPE should be carried out and the PPE guidance tables followed. PPE supplies will be available within these settings. The prison setting follows the health care guidance in support of inmates’ health care needs and has additional internal guidance for workers to follow in the event of a COVID-19 infection.  

Educational settings (mainstream)

Essential workers providing support in mainstream educational settings do not require PPE. 

If a child develops symptoms and is suspected of having COVID-19 they should be removed to a separate room or area away from others and the parent / guardian should be called to urgently collect them.

Educational (special) and childcare (nursery) settings

Workers in nursery and special needs settings will be provided with PPE, as they are likely to need to be within 2 metres of the child for more than 15 minutes while waiting for a parent / guardian to collect.

Emergency repair and maintenance

It is considered unlikely that any emergency repair and maintenance work in people’s homes would require an essential worker to come within 2 metres for 15 minutes or more of any person who is a confirmed or suspected COVID-19 case. Therefore, PPE is not considered necessary. Instead, practicing good hand hygiene and physical distancing are key to minimising the risk of infection.

Any essential worker required to enter a person’s home for emergency repairs must prepare for and manage the risk of a householder having COVID-19, or for reducing the risk of passing on the infection to a vulnerable person within the property.

This requires good communication with householders before attending the site. If following any verbal telephone assessment any essential worker is concerned that the 2 metre distance to a confirmed or suspected COVID-19 case might need to be breached in order to carry out the work, they should contact the helpline on +44 (0) 1534 445566.

Any essential worker required to enter a health or care setting to complete emergency repairs will need to liaise with the relevant facility manager regarding use of PPE before carrying out the work.

All other workers and sectors

For all other workers and sectors, who do not need to come within a COVID-19 case for more than 15 minutes, there is very little scientific evidence of widespread benefit from PPE.

Workers that risk contact with sewage should have clear PPE guidance already in place to reduce the threat from all infectious disease.

Cloth masks and other mouth and nose coverings

Cloth mouth and nose coverings are not PPE.

The purpose of PPE is to protect the wearer from possible infection from others with, or suspected of having, COVID-19.

The evidence base for the use of PPE is well established and robust and its use is therefore an essential requirement to protect workers in the circumstances outlined above.

All PPE should be reserved for the use of healthcare workers in patient-facing roles and in limited circumstances for other essential workers coming within 2 metres for more than 15 minutes of a COVID-19 case. 

It is recommended that all essential workers practice physical distancing measures wherever possible, keeping a distance of at least 2 metres from others, including during any breaks.

Cloth masks, and other nose and mouth coverings, have been recommended as an addition to physical distancing. This is to reduce the likelihood of the wearer passing on the virus to others.  The cloth protection may help stop droplets generated when talking, coughing and sneezing reaching another person, protecting them from being infected.  This may be particularly important in reducing the likelihood of people who have no or very mild symptoms unknowingly spreading the virus to others.

For that reason, cloth masks are a useful addition for essential workers, particularly when they need to be in enclosed areas with others, such as in meetings or in offices. 

Cloth masks are also recommended for essential trips outside of the home, such as food shopping.  

Covering the mouth and nose in such a way remains a personal choice, but is strongly encouraged.

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