COVID-19 (Coronavirus)

23/03/2020

The message from our respiratory team is clear. Stay at home to save lives. This is a crucial time in our fight back against Covid-19.

Stay at home.



Please visit the Public Health Agency (PHA) website for the latest advice, updates and guidance on coronavirus in Northern Ireland.


 

Advice for visitors

  1. Do not visit if you are unwell.
  2. Maintain good hand hygiene using soap and water or hand sanitiser where available.
  3. Ask yourself if your visit is essential.
  4. Please ensure only one visitor attends, unless there are exceptional circumstances and you have had a discussion with the nurse in charge.
  5. Please attend outpatient appointments alone or with one other person if necessary.

 

Latest update from the Department of Health

As of 2pm on Monday 16 March, testing has resulted in seven new positive cases of COVID-19, bringing the total number of confirmed cases in Northern Ireland to 52.

The total number of tests completed in Northern Ireland is 1,171.

People with mild symptoms - new persistent cough and/or fever - should stay at home and self-isolate. They will not require testing and will not therefore be included in testing totals.


 

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

What is coronavirus (COVID-19)?

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that are common across the world. These viruses can cause mild symptoms ranging from a fever and cough to more serious conditions such as severe pneumonia, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties.

In December 2019, a new strain of coronavirus (COVID-19) was first identified in Wuhan City, China. This virus has now spread to other countries. The UK Chief Medical Officers have declared the risk to the public to be moderate. However, the risk to individuals remains low.

How do I reduce the risk of getting coronavirus?

You can reduce the risk of catching coronavirus by doing the following:

  • Always carry tissues with you and use them to catch your cough or sneeze. Then bin the tissue and wash your hands or use a sanitiser gel.
  • Wash your hands more often than usual, for 20 seconds each time, with soap and water or hand sanitiser, especially when you get home, arrive into work, blow your nose, sneeze, cough or handle food.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are unwell.

What do I do if I think I may be at risk?

The latest government advice is available at: www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-information-for-the-public

If you have been informed that you may have been in contact with someone who has been diagnosed with coronavirus, please be advised that the Public Health Agency is currently contact tracing all those who might be affected.

Those who are considered at risk will be contacted directly.

Only those who have been in CLOSE contact with the individual will need to take additional action beyond practising the general advice to wash hands regularly and to ‘catch it, bin it, kill it’.

Close contacts are those who:

  • live or spend significant time with a case’s household
  • have had direct or face-to-face contact with a case (for example, talking or being coughed on) for any length of time
  • have been at a distance of two metres or less from a case for 15 minutes or longer 

If you are a close contact, please remain at home and ‘self-isolate’ even if you have no symptoms. Advice on how to self-isolate is available here.

If you are NOT a close contact and are currently well, you do not need to take any further action at this stage.

If you are NOT a close contact and develop symptoms of cough, fever or difficulty breathing, please stay at home and contact your GP by phone.

I am worried about coronavirus – who should I ring?

Please stay at home and phone your GP for advice if:

  • you think you might have symptoms and in the last 14 days, you have been to a country or area with a high risk of coronavirus
  • you have been in close contact with someone who has coronavirus

DO NOT GO TO YOUR GP SURGERY, PHARMACY OR HOSPITAL. 

  • If you don’t have any symptoms but you have recently travelled and are concerned you may be at risk, please call 111 for advice.
  • If you think you have been in contact with someone who has coronavirus, please call 111 for advice.

If you have not been in close contact with someone who has coronavirus, or you have not travelled from a high-risk area in the last 14 days, you are unlikely to have coronavirus.

How should I self-isolate at home?

You can get advice on how to self-isolate at: www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-stay-at-home-guidance

If you display symptoms of a respiratory virus, you should self-isolate for 7 days. You should also self-isolate if you are awaiting the results of a coronavirus swab or have been advised by your GP to do so.

What do I do if I have family members or friends in hospital?

We are advising those with family members and friends in hospital to think before your visit. Please only visit if it is absolutely necessary to do so.

While on the ward, please follow the guidance of our staff and ensure you practice good hand washing technique using the sanitiser available.