Things you need to know

Latest information updated 1.6.2020

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Government advice

The government’s Coronavirus page is here. It is updated regularly with important information and guidance.

Information about COVID-19 (Coronavirus)

Signs and Symptoms of Coronavirus

The following symptoms may develop within 14 days after contact with someone who has the virus:

  • Cough
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • High temperature

The symptoms are like those of the common cold or flu. If you have the above symptoms, it does not necessarily mean you have Coronavirus

How Coronavirus is spread

  • Droplets come from coughing and sneezing
  • Droplets landing on surfaces
  • Good hand hygiene is vital and is the easiest and most effective way of preventing the spread of the virus

Do’s and don’ts

There are other things you can do to help stop the spread of the virus:


  • cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze (Catch It, Bin It, Kill It campaign)
  • put used tissues in the bin immediately
  • wash your hands with soap and water often – use hand sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available, making sure that the hand sanitizer has a least 60% alcohol content
  • try to avoid close contact with people who are unwell (close contact being nearer than 2 metres away)
  • clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces (kitchen surfaces, door handles, stair rails, light switches etc…)


  • touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean

Medical Help

NHS 111 has an online service that can tell you if you need medical help and advise you what to do. Starting in February 2020, this NHS 111 service will be used in Northern Ireland only for coronavirus

Use this service if:

  • you think you might have Coronavirus
  • you’ve recently been to a country or area where there is high risk of coronavirus
  • you’ve been in close contact with someone with Coronavirus

If you suspect that you may be infected DO NOT GO TO A GP SURGERY and DO NOT GO TO A HOSPITAL. Self-isolate in your room and follow the advice of NHS 111.

If someone becomes unwell and believes they have been exposed to coronavirus

  • If the person has travelled to an affected area within the last 14 days, then they should self-isolate and remove themselves to an area at least 2 metres away from other persons. Find a room or area where they can isolate behind a closed door. If possible open a window for ventilation.
  • Call NHS 111 and explain the country they have returned from and outline symptoms.
  • Whilst waiting for advice, the person should remain at least 2 metres away from other people. They should avoid touching surfaces and objects and be advised to cover their mouth and nose with a tissue when they cough and sneeze and put the tissue in their pocket and throw it in the bin as soon as they can. If they don’t have a tissue, then sneeze into the crook of their elbow.

Returning overseas from an affected area

  • Anyone who has returned from an overseas affected area within the last 14 days should avoid work, self-isolate and ring NHS 111 for advice.

If someone with confirmed coronavirus has recently been in the premise

  • Support Staff will make contact with your local Health Protection Team
  • PHE local Health Protection Team will be in contact to discuss the case and advise on any actions required
  • The Health Protection Team will complete a risk assessment of the premise. Advice will be based on this assessment.
  • Advice on cleaning of areas will be given by the Health Protection Team.
  • Find your local Health Protection Team

Individuals in the premise have had contact with a confirmed coronavirus case


What are the staffing arrangements if staff become quarantined or infected and how will service continue?

  • If your Support Worker is unable to attend the premise due to being quarantined or contracting the virus, support will continue in either 2 ways. Another member of staff will cover the house until further notice OR support will continue via phone or email.

What are the arrangements for staff if a client becomes quarantined or infected? What plans are in place for staff and the reduction of risk if residents need to self-isolate?

  • A separate guidance document has been provided for staff in terms of having to self-isolate or have time away from work. This covers time off for dependants and pay policies.

If clients are isolated due to suspected or actual infection, what are the arrangements to continue provision of support?

  • Your Support Worker would continue support outside of the premise either by phone or email. Staff would stay in continuous contact with those affected and would ensure that advice and guidance is sought from the coordinator from the coronavirus continuity planning team. (Emma Turner, Central Services Manager)

What services would Life be providing in an infection/quarantine situation?

  • Where possible, all services would continue using phone and email. Face to face support would be minimal depending on the advice and risk assessment given by the local Health Protection Team.

What are the cleaning arrangements at a Life premise?

  • Clients would need to continue to clean the premise in the usual way.
  • Guidance will be provided in terms or hand washing techniques, Catch it, Bin It Kill It campaign.
  • Staff would be required to ensure that cleaning materials are available on site for both staff and clients to use. Staff would advise clients to ensure that through cleaning of the premise is completed.
  • In the event that a deep clean of the premise is required, Life would liaise with the local Health Protection Team.

What are the arrangements for social distancing to prevent exposure?

  • Where clients live in self-contained units, in the event of a suspected or actual case, Life would advise clients to self-isolate. Staff would continue to offer support.
  • Where clients live in shared communal premises, all clients need to take the responsibility to ensure that the premise is kept clean and guidelines followed. If in the event of a suspected actual outbreak, the client would need to self-isolate in their room and contact NHS 111 for advice.
  • Where possible, normal service and support would continue until such point a suspected or actual outbreak within a premise is confirmed.

What is the plan for closure in an outbreak?

  • It is highly unlikely that the closure of a Life premise will happen.
  • If there is a need to close a site temporarily, your Support Worker will work closely with you and associated agencies to ensure continuity of support.
  • Life would work closely with the PHE local Health Protection Team and adhere to their advice, guidance and risk assessment.

Life will continue to support everyone throughout this process. If you need any further guidance or support, then please contact Emma Turner, Central Services Manager.

If there are any incidents or suspected or actual cases of Coronavirus, then please report direct to Emma Turner, Central Services Manager.