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New COVID-19 advice for the Island's most vulnerable

News | Published:

ALL Islanders aged 65 and over and people with underlying medical conditions are being told to self-isolate from midnight tonight to protect hem from the spread of COVID-19.

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Government say the step up follows medical evidence the virus is spreading within the community now and the measures are designed to protect those at greatest risk of harm or death.

Latest figures show there have been 16 confirmed cases in Jersey and 172 tests are pending. There has been no update since Tuesday.

Meanwhile Islanders deemed at 'severe risk' of COVID-19 are being told to stay at home completely and not even leave the house for shopping, work or exercise. They should have supplies dropped at their door to avoid human-to-human contact.

The government advice is;

Islanders aged 65 and over, and people with ‘less severe’ underlying medical conditions, should only leave their homes for a total of two hours per day and in the following limited circumstances:

– to shop for necessities, such as food and medicine, which must be as infrequently as possible

– for daily exercise. This can include walking, cycling, running, sea swimming or other open sea activities, provided you maintain social distancing from everyone else

– for medical reasons, if you are advised to do so by a healthcare worker or required to do so having called 999.

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Those at 'severe risk' should 'home isolate'. They are advised to;

– Strictly avoid contact with someone who is displaying symptoms of coronavirus. 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.

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– Do not go out for shopping, work, leisure or travel

– When arranging food or medication deliveries, these should be left at the door to minimise contact.

– People in home isolation should keep in touch using remote technology such as phone, internet, and social media.

Health Minister Richard Renouf said: 'We are introducing this measure to protect our most vulnerable groups of Islanders from the spread of coronavirus, because the medical advice is that they are more like to suffer from more severe symptoms, be hospitalised and require intensive care. They are also at greatest risk of death.

'By self-isolating, with the support of family, friends and the help of volunteers, we hope to shield over 65s, and those with underlying medical conditions, from the virus. This will help save lives, by significantly reducing hospital demand throughout the infection curve.

'The Government Community Taskforce will mobilise to support this group to stay in their homes and we will keep them informed about when it is likely to be safe enough to ease these restrictions. I should be clear that this will be a matter of weeks, not days.

'I must stress to those affected that this is for your own safety, and it requires all of us to ensure that we keep our distance and practice good hygiene, so we don’t take the infection into your homes.'

‘Less severe’ medical conditions are:

– Less severe respiratory conditions

– chronic heart disease, such as heart failure

– chronic kidney disease, such as kidney failure

– chronic liver disease, such as hepatitis

– chronic neurological conditions, such as Parkinson’s disease, motor neuron disease, stroke, multiple sclerosis (MS), a learning disability or cerebral palsy

– diabetes type 1 or type 2 requiring insulin or oral hypoglycaemic drugs or diet-controlled

– problems with your spleen, for example, sickle cell disease or if you have had your spleen removed

– being seriously overweight (a body mass index (BMI) of 40 or above)

– those who are pregnant

‘Severe risk’ medical conditions 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).

– People on immunosuppression therapies sufficient to significantly increase risk of infection.

– Women who are pregnant with significant heart disease, congenital or acquired.

Jack Maguire

By Jack Maguire
author

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