Living on virus time….

Posted: 24 April 2020

So what is it now? Week five of the lockdown? It’s been intriguing to see what people have been doing to get through this strange time in our lives, from rediscovering an old talent, such as art or sculpture, to workouts and exercise that (for some) border on the obsessive. But we’re not all locked down…

Key workers at St Katherine’s Care, all on the front line of delivering care in people’s homes,  have been hard at it, and I’m delighted to say that we’ve had very few problems. People seem to pull together in a crisis and it’s great to see everyone going that extra mile. Of course, it’s not just us, it goes without saying that the NHS has born the brunt of Covid and all the support staff there, as well as first responders, all the emergency services and their support staff… It’s a long list, but there’s more.

Let’s not forget the posties, the bin men and women, the cleaners, delivery drivers, the teachers, teaching assistants, the more we look into it the more we realise just how many people are ‘essential’ to our everyday existence. If you’re one of those who, like me, clap every Thursday night, remember it’s for them too.

Each and every one of those groups (and more) are increasing their risk of catching the virus so that we can lockdown, isolate and be safer, so hats off to you all! (While leaving masks and gloves on, of course, along with aprons etc…)

We stay safe by making sure we have the right PPE and where someone is suspected of having the virus that they are tested and all their contacts traced. PPE, Test & Trace; until we get a vaccine, there is nothing else. In our own small way at St Kath’s, we’re pushing that agenda.

Some interesting research I saw this week now estimates that the risk of infection is VERY much higher from the water drops your body expels through the mouth when you speak than it is through touch transmission. Don’t stop washing your hands (please!) or keeping 2m apart, but wear a mask if you’re in an at-risk group.

Another piece of research showed that in a young and fit population, up to 60% can be infected and show no symptoms at all. This was the US aircraft carrier in the news recently but could also be a school or college, for instance, and there is more research coming online daily to firm up our views about what this virus is, how it works, and what we can do about it.

But from those two (admittedly anecdotal) examples, there is a clear indication that PPE (to stop those virus-laden aerosols escaping from the mouths of the infected) is essential. Equally, testing to find out who has the virus (and who they might have passed it on to) must go hand-in-hand with masks.

We at St Kath’s welcome the government announcing yesterday that testing would be available to ALL key workers and their families if they show symptoms. Bravo! But this should have happened weeks ago, and that story will continue to unfold.

We may be only a small care company, but we have our eyes on the bigger picture, because that’s the only way we can hope to get through this and keep our customers safe, because alongside the virus life still goes on.