As coronavirus fears and concern take hold of businesses across the UK, it is imperative to keep communicating with your team.
If you are looking for a calming and practical email to share with your team on Coronavirus, please feel free to use the below as an outline template, which I shared with the Equality Group team yesterday:
As coronavirus (also known as COVID-19) continues to spread, we would like to explain how we are responding to the global health crisis.
We would also like to remind you of the steps that we can all take to reduce the spread of coronavirus, while continuing work and our operations as normally as possible.
The COVID-19 System group have identified the requirement for the provision of a clinically led home clinical assessment and screening service for patients presenting to 111 with symptoms suggestive for COVID-19 who DO NOT require support from secondary care.
All 111 cases of people requiring screening (swabbing) within London are now processed through a Dispatch and visited by London Ambulance Service Paramedics wearing specialist PPE. Samples taken currently have to go to a lab in Bristol, the results returning within 48 hours.
What you can do to reduce infections spreading
You should wash your hands often and thoroughly with soap and water. In particular, you should wash your hands after going to the toilet, before eating or handling food, and when you get to work/get home. There are also hand sanitiser dispensers throughout our work locations, for use when soap and water are not available.
In addition, please ensure that you:
- cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze;
- put any used tissues in the bin straight away and wash your hands immediately after handling used tissues;
- try to avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth if you have not washed your hands recently; and
- try to avoid close contact with people who are unwell.
What to do if you fall ill
Common symptoms of coronavirus include:
- a fever;
- a dry cough; and
- shortness of breath.
Exhibiting these symptoms does not necessarily mean that you have coronavirus. However, if you have symptoms, you must not attend work. You must notify your line manager by telephone before you are due to start work, or as soon as possible if that is not practical.
You should visit the 111.nhs.uk website, you can get further medical advice via telephone. There is a tool at 111.nhs.uk/service/covid-19 for you to carry out an initial check if you think you have symptoms.
If possible, you should avoid going to your doctor or a hospital to prevent infections from spreading.
You may be given medical advice to self-isolate if you have certain symptoms. You may be self-isolating in some circumstances in which you have no symptoms, including if you have:
- been in contact with a confirmed coronavirus carrier; or
- recently travelled to a restricted area (see national guidance)
If you are ill and in self-isolation, your absence will be treated as sickness absence and you should follow our normal reporting procedures.
If you are not ill, but you are required to self-isolate in line with the government guidelines, please contact your line manager to discuss what, if any, work you can do from home.
Work-related travel can continue as usual. However, you should: think about whether or not you really need to travel – it may be that meetings with colleagues/customers can be conducted over the telephone or via video conferencing, and ensure that you practice good hygiene if you do have to travel (see above).
If you have recently been, or are planning a trip, to a restricted area
It is essential that any member of staff who has recently travelled overseas follows the national guidance for healthcare providers. Countries and regions involved will change (most recently Italy), so please make sure you are referring to the latest update.
If you plan to travel to a restricted area outside work, for example on a holiday or for family reasons, you should inform your line manager immediately.
If you change your holiday plans
We understand that you may change your mind about travelling, or be unable to travel to your planned destination, and may wish to cancel or change annual leave that you have already booked.
If you would like to cancel or change planned leave, please speak to your line manager. We may allow you to change or cancel booked holiday, although this will be a decision for your line manager.
Given the current global health situation, you should be prepared to work at home at short notice if appropriate. Please ensure that, where possible, you take your laptop home with you after work each day.
This is a rapidly changing situation. You should look out for further updates from us, including any expansion of the list of restricted travel areas.
In the meantime, please do not hesitate to contact your line manager or HR if you have any queries or concerns.