With the National Lockdown now back in force we would like to take this opportunity to update you on the latest Government Guidance. Of particular note is the change to what is defined as a close contact. The update now reads if you have “been within 2 metres of someone for more than 15 minutes (either as a one-off contact, or added up together over one day)”
Please ensure your COVID risk assessments are regularly reviewed, particularly in light of the new, more contagious strain.
Also please refer to our last newsletter with details on controlling areas such as rest areas and toilets where close contact is much more likely.
GOING TO WORK:
You may only leave your home for work if you cannot reasonably work from home.
Where people cannot work from home they should continue to travel to their workplace. This includes, but is not limited to, people who work in:
- critical national infrastructure
- childcare or education
- essential public services
This is essential to keeping the country operating and supporting sectors and employers.
Where it is necessary for you to work in other people’s homes – for example, for nannies, cleaners or tradespeople – you can do so. Otherwise, you should avoid meeting for work in a private home or garden, where COVID-19 Secure measures may not be in place.
Employers and employees should discuss their working arrangements, and employers should take every possible step to facilitate their employees working from home, including providing suitable IT and equipment to enable remote working. Where people cannot work from home, employers should take steps to help employees avoid busy times and routes on public transport.
The risk of transmission can be substantially reduced if COVID-19 secure guidelines are followed closely. Extra consideration should be given to those people at higher risk.
CLOSE CONTACT DEFINITION:
A contact is a person who has been close to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 with a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test. You can be a contact anytime from 2 days before the person who tested positive developed their symptoms, and up to 10 days after, as this is when they can pass the infection on to others.
A contact can be:
- anyone who lives in the same household as someone with COVID-19 symptoms or who has tested positive for COVID-19
- anyone who has had any of the following types of contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 with aPCR test:
- face-to-face contact including being coughed on or having a face-to-face conversation within one metre
- been within one metre for one minute or longer without face-to-face contact
- sexual contacts
- been within 2 metres of someone for more than 15 minutes (either as a one-off contact, or added up together over one day)
- travelled in the same vehicle or a plane
An interaction through a Perspex (or equivalent) screen with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 is not usually considered to be a contact, as long as there has been no other contact such as those in the list above.
If you are a contact of someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 you will be notified by the NHS Test and Trace service via text message, email or phone and should follow this guidance closely.