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L'înformâtion et les sèrvices publyis pouor I'Île dé Jèrri

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Isolation for individuals and households who have symptoms of coronavirus

Who needs to self-isolate

This guidance applies to anyone who has symptoms of coronavirus, but has not yet been confirmed to have the virus by a test.

If you are showing symptoms of coronavirus, you need to call the helpdesk to let them know on +44 (0) 1534 445566. Arrangements can be made for a PCR test.

There are different isolation criteria that might apply to you, depending on individual circumstances. If you have been tested, have been in contact with a confirmed case or have recently travelled to Jersey, you should follow the advice for those circumstances:

Household isolation

Anyone who is showing symptoms of coronavirus, which include most commonly a new persistent cough and /or fever should go into immediate isolation within their home, along with anyone else that they may live with, even if others are not currently showing symptoms themselves.

Household isolation is very important because it is vital that infectious households do not go to work, school, or public areas, and do not use public transport or taxis, even if you think this is essential.

Staying in isolation whilst your household may have the virus is essential to help control the spread of the virus to other friends, the wider community and the most vulnerable.

If you live alone

If you live alone and develop symptoms of coronavirus, you should isolate for a minimum of 7 days from the onset of symptoms and remain in isolation until 48 hours after symptoms have cleared or had substantially improved and you no longer have a fever.

If you live as part of a household

If you live as part of a household or someone you live with experiences symptoms of coronavirus, the entire household should isolate as follows:

  • the person who is first unwell must isolate for a minimum of 7 days from the onset of symptoms and remain in isolation until 48 hours after symptoms have cleared or had substantially improved and you no longer have a fever
  • all other members the household must isolate for a minimum of 14 days or, for a minimum of 7 days from the onset of symptoms and remain in isolation until 48 hours after symptoms have cleared or had substantially improved and you no longer have a fever. (if they too begin to show symptoms themselves).

If a household member develops coronavirus symptoms late in the 14-day household-isolation period (for example, on day 13 or day 14) the isolation period doesn't need to be extended, but the person with the new symptoms has to stay at home for a minimum of 7 days from the onset of their symptoms. People who remain well after 14 days are unlikely to be infectious.

PCR testing  

If a person becomes symptomatic, it is likely that they will be will be offered a diagnostic swab test (PCR test) as part of the COVID-19 testing programme. The person and all members of their household should continue to isolate whilst awaiting the test result. On average results are available within 1 to 2 days.

Positive test result (PCR only)

If the result comes back positive the household should follow the isolation guidance for a confirmed case of coronavirus (PCR only).

Negative test result (PCR only)

If the test result comes back negative the person who was tested no longer needs to isolate. All other members of that household can also end isolation, unless they have developed COVD-19 symptoms.

If any other householders do develop symptoms, the whole household (including the person who originally tested negative) should continue to isolate and all symptomatic householders should arrange a PCR test by contacting the helpline on +44 (0)1534 445566.

The household should only stop isolating if all members of household receive a negative test result, or in the case of a positive result, until they have followed isolation guidance for a confirmed case of coronavirus.

If you and your household need to isolate

It is likely that people living within a household will infect each other or may already be infected. Staying at home for a minimum of 14 days will greatly reduce the overall amount of infection the household could pass on to others in the community.

Whilst in isolation, do not go to work, school, or public areas, and do not use public transport or taxis or go outside to exercise (unless you can do this whilst still on your property and can remain a safe distance from anyone who is not from your household).  You should not leave home even to buy food or other essentials.

We understand this can be challenging. Help and support is available to you through the ConnectMe service or by calling the helpline: +44 (0)1534 445566.

Other important principles to follow:

  • as a priority, you need to protect and shield the most vulnerable from the risk of infection
  • if you can, move any severely vulnerable individuals out of your home, to stay with friends or family for the duration of the home isolation period
  • if you cannot move an extremely vulnerable person out of your home, stay away from them as much as possible – if you have enough room for the vulnerable person to self-isolate, then they should do so
  • you should also be extra vigilant to keep distance between you and any other vulnerable people who are aged over 65 and/or have other underlying health conditions
  • wash your hands regularly for 20 seconds, each time using soap and water.
  • regularly clean all touch points and surfaces in your home.
  • contact the helpline on +44 (0) 1534 445566 to let them know your household is isolating because of new symptoms
  • if you feel you cannot cope with your symptoms at home, or your condition gets worse, or your symptoms do not get better after 7 days, then contact your GP for advice – make sure you do not visit without calling ahead first. In the case of a medical emergency, dial 999

After your isolation period, you can leave your home so long as you continue to follow the latest advice for the island-wide 'stay home' instruction which includes continuing to practice social distancing when permitted to be outside the home.

If you start to show symptoms after you have ended your isolation period, you must restart your isolation period again and call the Helpline: +44 (0)1534 445566

Health care workers exemption from 'symptomatic household' isolation

If you are a health care worker and you live with someone who has symptoms of coronavirus (and they have not been confirmed positive by a test) you are required to follow the guidance for symptomatic household isolation for 14 days. However, because of the nature of your work in health care settings, it would not be practical to prevent you from going to work when you are required to do so, so long as you are not showing any symptoms of the virus yourself.

If you are required to work whilst isolating due to living in a household where someone has symptoms consistent with the virus (but this has not been confirmed positive by a test and you do not have symptoms yourself), this decision should be made at the discretion of your employer. Your employer should make a judgement that takes into consideration the proportionality and acceptability of risk and whether or not the health care setting already has COVID-19 infection.

If you are asked to return to work whilst isolating due to living in a symptomatic household, you should first discuss this with your employer and confirm whether you are showing symptoms of the virus or not.

If you are not showing symptoms of the virus and it is agreed that you should return to work, you may do so subject to the following:

  • upon arrival to the care setting, you must wear a surgical mask when entering the building and wear one at all times whilst at work
  • breaks should be taken separately from others, but you should not leave the building
  • you will wear the appropriate additional PPE when specific work activities require you to do so
  • you should not lift share or use public transport to get to and from work. If you do not have access to transport and it is too far to walk, you should discuss this with your employer
  • you must strictly follow social distancing at all times whilst travelling to and from work and during your breaks
  • other than travelling to and from work, you must ensure that you continue to isolate in accordance with the direct contact guidance

You cannot return to work if you are living with someone who has a confirmed case of coronavirus or if you are showing any symptoms of the virus.

What to do whilst you are staying at home

Visitors in your home

Don't invite or allow social visitors, such as other friends and family, to enter your home. If you want to speak to someone who is not a member of your household, use the phone or social media.

If you or a family member receive essential care in your home, then carers should continue to visit. Carers will be provided with facemasks and gloves to reduce the risk of you passing on the infection.

Help with buying groceries or medication

If you require help with buying groceries, other shopping, walking a dog or picking up medication, you will need to ask friends or relatives. Some local retailers and businesses are also offering home delivery services. If you do not have this support available and urgently need food or medicine, call the helpline on +44 (0) 1534 445566.

Community support and volunteering: Connect Me

If you or your family need to seek medical advice

Seek prompt medical attention if your illness or the illness in any household members is worsening. If it’s not an emergency, contact your GP or the Government of Jersey helpline on +44 (0) 1534 445566.

If it is an emergency and you need to call an ambulance, dial 999 and inform the operator that you or your relative has coronavirus symptoms.

All routine medical and dental appointments should usually be cancelled whilst you and the family are staying at home. If you are concerned or have been asked to attend in person within the period you are home isolating, discuss this with your medical contact first, using the number they have provided. 

If you're living with children

Keep following this advice to the best of your ability, however, we are aware that not all these measures will be possible.

What we have seen so far is that children with coronavirus appear to be less severely affected. It is nevertheless important to do your best to follow this guidance.

If you have a vulnerable person living with you

Vulnerable and severely vulnerable people should already be following the published public health advice that relates to their condition and the risks associated with coronavirus.

You should minimise as much as possible the time any vulnerable family members spend in shared spaces such as kitchens, bathrooms and sitting areas, and keep shared spaces well ventilated.

Aim to keep 1 metre away from vulnerable people you live with and encourage them to sleep in a different bed where possible. If they can, they should use a separate bathroom from the rest of the household. Make sure they use separate towels from the other people in your house, both for drying themselves after bathing or showering and for hand-hygiene purposes.

If you do share a toilet and bathroom with a vulnerable person, it is important that you clean them every time you use them (for example, wiping surfaces you have come into contact with). Another tip is to consider drawing up a rota for bathing, with the vulnerable person using the facilities first.

If you share a kitchen with a vulnerable person, avoid using it while they are present. If they can, they should take their meals back to their room to eat. If you have one, use a dishwasher to clean and dry the family’s used crockery and cutlery. If this is not possible, wash them using your usual washing up liquid and warm water and dry them thoroughly. If the vulnerable person is using their own utensils, remember to use a separate tea towel for drying these.

We understand that it will be difficult for some people to separate themselves from others at home. You should do your very best to follow this guidance and everyone in your household should regularly wash their hands, avoid touching their face, and clean frequently touched surfaces.

If you are breastfeeding while infected

There is currently no evidence to suggest that the virus can be transmitted through breast milk. Infection can be spread to the baby in the same way as to anyone in close contact with you. The current evidence is that children with coronavirus get much less severe symptoms than adults. The benefits of breastfeeding outweigh any potential risks of transmission of the virus through breast milk or by being in close contact; however, this will be an individual decision and can be discussed with your midwife, health visitor or GP by telephone.

If you or a family member are feeding with formula or expressed milk, you should sterilise the equipment carefully before each use. You should not share bottles or a breast pump with someone else.

Cleaning and disposal of waste

When cleaning you should use your usual household products, like detergents and bleach, as these will be very effective at getting rid of the virus on surfaces. Clean frequently touched surfaces such as door handles, handrails, remote controls and table tops. This is particularly important if you have an older or vulnerable person in the house.

For the duration of the time that someone in the household is in isolation all waste, but particularly personal waste (such as used tissues) and disposable cleaning cloths, should be stored securely within disposable rubbish bags. These bags should be placed into another bag, tied securely and kept securely. This should, ideally, be put aside for at least 72 hours before being put in your usual external household waste bin.

Laundry

To minimise the possibility of dispersing virus through the air, do not shake dirty laundry.
Wash items as appropriate in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. All dirty laundry can be washed in the same load.

If you do not have a washing machine, wait a further 72 hours after your 7-day (for individual isolation) or 14-day isolation period (for households) has ended when you can then take the laundry to a public launderette.

If you have pets in the household

At present, there is no evidence that companion animals/pets such as dogs and cats can be infected with coronavirus.

What you can do to help yourself get better

Drink water to keep yourself hydrated. You should drink enough during the day so your urine (pee) is a pale clear colour. You can use over-the-counter medications, such as paracetamol, to help with some of your symptoms. Use these according to the instructions on the packet or label and do not exceed the recommended dose.

Wash your hands often

Clean your hands frequently each day by washing with soap and water for 20 seconds or using hand sanitiser (with 60-70% alcohol content). This will help protect you and the people you live with. This step is one of the most effective ways of reducing the risk of passing infection to others.

Cover your coughs and sneezes

Cover your mouth and nose with disposable tissues when you cough or sneeze. If you do not have one to hand, sneeze into the crook of your elbow, not into your hand.

If you have a carer, they should use disposable tissues to wipe away any mucus or phlegm after you have sneezed or coughed. Then they should wash their hands with soap and water.

Dispose of tissues into a disposable rubbish bag and immediately wash your hands with soap and water or use a hand sanitiser (with 60-70% alcohol content).

Looking after your wellbeing while staying at home

We know that staying at home for a prolonged period can be difficult, frustrating and lonely for some people and that you or other household members may feel low. It can be particularly challenging if you don’t have much space or access to a garden.

It’s important to remember to take care of your mind as well as your body and to get support if you need it. Stay in touch with family and friends over the phone or on social media. There are also sources of support and information that can help.

Many people find it helpful to remind themselves why what they are doing is so important. Hopefully, none of your family will suffer more than flu-like symptoms. But some people are badly affected by coronavirus, and particularly the elderly and those with certain medical conditions. By staying home, you are protecting the lives of others, as well as making sure our health services do not get overwhelmed.

Claiming sickness benefit if you're self-isolating due to coronavirus

You can claim sickness benefit if you need to self-isolate and can't work in relation to the latest Government advice on coronavirus.

Sickness benefit if you're self-isolating due to coronavirus (COVID-19)
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