COVID-19 Update

Updated: 8.9.2020

Covid19 Control the virus, stay alert, save livesWe are closely monitoring Government guidance around coronavirus (COVID-19), and continually reviewing our response as a landlord, care and support provider, and employer. This includes monitoring Government advice around local lockdowns and we will highlight any specific changes to services in certain areas should they arise.

We will continue to keep this web page updated with changes to our services. Please be assured that the health and safety of residents, their families and our staff remains our priority and we will not make any changes unless a full risk assessment has been carried out.

Residents and their friends/family should continue to follow the latest Government and Public Health England guidance on coronavirus (COVID-19).

Official Government guidance for landlords and tenants can be found in the Ministry of Housing, communities and Local Government document.

As an employer, Amber has a duty to reduce workplace risk to the lowest reasonably practicable level by taking preventative measures.  In the context of Covid-19 this means protecting the health and safety of our workers and visitors by working through these steps in order:

  1. Ensuring both workers and visitors who feel unwell stay at home and do not attend the premise.
  2. In every workplace, increase the frequency of handwashing and surface cleaning.
  3. Follow Covid-19 secure guidelines by making sure everyone makes every reasonable effort to comply with the social distancing rule set out ty the government (2m, or 1m with risk mitigation where 2m is not viable.
  4. Further mitigating action include:
  • Further increasing the frequency of handwashing and surface cleaning.
  • Keeping the activity time involved as short as possible
  • Using barriers or screens to separate people from each other
  • Using back-to-back or side-to-side working (rather than face-to-face)
  • Reducing the number of people each person has contact with by using ‘fixed teams

or partnering’ (so each person works with only a few others).

  1. Ensuring that steps are taken to avoid people needing to unduly raise their voices to each other. This includes, but is not limited to, refraining from playing music or broadcasts that may encourage shouting, including if played at a volume that makes normal conversation difficult.
  2. Finally, if people must work face-to-face for a sustained period with more than a small group of fixed partners, then you will need to assess whether the activity can safely go ahead. No one is obliged to work in an unsafe work environment.

Amber will already have carried out an assessment of the risks posed by COVID-19 in client’s homes.   You should use this document to identify any further improvements we should make. We will review the measures we have put in place to make sure they are working. You should also review them if they may no longer be effective or if there are changes in the workplace that could lead to new risks.

  1. No work should be carried out in a household which is isolating because one or more family members has symptoms or where an individual has been advised to shield – unless it is to remedy a direct risk to the safety of the household or to public safety.
  2. When working in a household where somebody is clinically vulnerable, but has not been asked to shield, for example, the home of someone over 70, prior arrangements should be made with vulnerable people to avoid any face-to-face contact, for example, when answering the door. You should be particularly strict about handwashing, coughing and sneezing hygiene, such as covering your nose and mouth and disposing of single-use tissues.
  3. Washing your hands more often than usual for 20 seconds using soap and water, particularly after coughing, sneezing and blowing your nose.
  4. Reducing the spread of germs when you cough or sneeze by covering your mouth and nose with a tissue, or your sleeve (not your hands) if you don’t have a tissue and throw the tissue in a bin immediately, then wash your hands.
  5. Cleaning regularly touched objects and surfaces using your regular cleaning products to reduce the risk of passing the infection on to other people.
  6. Communicating with households prior to any visit to discuss how the work will be carried out to minimise risk for all parties.
  7. Maintaining social distancing guidelines (2m, or 1m with risk mitigation where 2m is not viable, is acceptable) as far as possible.

The Public Health England report ‘Disparities in the risk and outcomes of COVID-19’ shows that some groups of people may be at more risk of being infected and/or an adverse outcome if infected. The higher-risk groups include those who:

▪ are older males
▪ have a high body mass index (BMI)
▪ have health conditions such as diabetes
▪ are from some Black, Asian or minority ethnicity (BAME) backgrounds

From 1st August, clinically extremely vulnerable individuals can return to their workplace providing COVID-secure guidelines are in place but should work from home wherever possible. If extremely clinically vulnerable individuals cannot work from home, they should be offered the option of the safest available on-site roles, enabling them to maintain social distancing guidelines (2m, or 1m with risk mitigation where 2m is not viable, is acceptable). It may be appropriate for clinically extremely vulnerable individuals to take up an alternative role or adjusted working patterns temporarily.

As for any workplace risk you must take into account specific duties to those with protected characteristics, including, for example, expectant mothers who are, as always, entitled to suspension on full pay if suitable roles cannot be found. Particular attention should also be paid to people who live with clinically extremely vulnerable individuals.

Objective: To maintain social distancing wherever possible, on arrival and departure and to ensure handwashing upon arrival.

  • Considering travelling to sites alone using your own transport, where insurance allows.
  • Arranging for journeys to be with the same individuals and limiting the number of people travelling per vehicle.
  • Maintaining good ventilation, for example, keeping windows open and passengers facing away from one another to reduce risk of transmission.
  • Cleaning vehicles regularly using gloves and standard cleaning products, with emphasis on handles and other areas where passengers may touch surfaces.
  • Employers or agencies matching workers to households local to them, where possible, to minimise transportation.
  • Washing hands on arrival and maintaining social distancing when entering the home.

If workers have no option but to travel together, for example, delivery teams, the following should be encouraged:

Objective: To maintain social distancing wherever possible while performing work in the home

  • Discussing with households ahead of a visit to ask that social distancing guidelines (2m, or 1m with risk mitigation where 2m is not viable, is acceptable) are maintained between workers and householders, if possible.
  • Asking that households leave all internal doors open to minimise contact with door handles.
  • Identifying busy areas across the household where people travel to, from or through, for example, stairs and corridors, and minimising movement within these areas.
  • Bringing your own food and drink to households and having breaks outside where possible.
  • Limiting the number of workers within a confined space to maintain social distancing.
  • Using a fixed pairing system if workers have to be in close proximity. For example, during double-up.
  • Allocating the same workers to a household where jobs are repetitive.
  • introducing fixed pairing to have the same individuals allocated to a household where jobs are repetitive in nature.

Steps needed

Using remote working tools to avoid in-person appointments.

Only absolutely necessary participants should physically attend appointments and should maintain social distancing guidelines (2m, or 1m with risk mitigation where 2m is not viable, is acceptable).

Avoiding transmission during appointments, for example, from sharing pens, documents and other objects.

Holding meetings outdoors or in well-ventilated rooms whenever possible.

COVID-19: what you need to do:

Support for businesses and employers during coronavirus (COVID-19):

General guidance for employees during coronavirus (COVID-19):

COVID-19: guidance for tradespeople and working in people’s homes:

If you are experiencing any Covid-19 symptoms or are worried about how the virus might affect you, please speak to the support worker on duty or contact our support 24/7 support line on 02085638209 and ask for the Care Manager.

To keep everybody safe, we have put in place the following measures:

  • All communal lounges, kitchens, libraries and common rooms are now closed to external visitors.
  • All communal lunches and community activities are suspended.
  • communal laundry will only be use at allocated times to limit the number of residents coming into contact with each other at any one time.
  • Non-essential visits to our services should not take place.

We will continue to carry out the regular checks of our buildings to ensure safety and compliance.

We will continue keep the communal areas as clean and hygienic as possible.

Use of Face Mask when visiting shops and using public transport

Our residents are discouraged from using public transport till further notice.  Where possible, transport is arranged at no cost for medication and shopping.

Mask are issued weekly to resident and residents will be required to sign for them.

Wearing a face covering in shops and supermarkets in England is to become mandatory from 24 July.

Those who fail to comply with the new rules will face a fine of up to £100, the government has announced.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said it would “give people more confidence to shop safely and enhance protections for those who work in shops”.

Since mid-May, members of the public have been advised to wear coverings in enclosed public spaces, where they may encounter people they would not usually meet.

Mask-wearing has been compulsory on public transport in England and at NHS facilities across the UK since 15 June.

Children under 11 and those with certain disabilities will be exempt.

The list of exemptions has not yet been published, but the rules for face masks on public transport exempt anyone who cannot wear one “because of any physical or mental illness or impairment, or disability”, who would experience “severe distress” from doing so, or relies on lip reading, among other reasons.

Mr Hancock told the Commons: “Sadly, sales assistants, cashiers and security guards have suffered disproportionately in this crisis.

“The death rate of sales and retail assistants is 75% higher amongst men and 60% higher amongst women than in the general population.”

He added: “There is also evidence that face coverings increase confidence in people to shop.”

The new rule will not apply to retail staff.

It comes as the UK recorded the deaths of a further 138 people who had tested positive for coronavirus.

How to wear a face mask Corona Virus

Media captionCoronavirus: How to wear a face covering

The latest rules for shops will be enforced by the police, with anyone disregarding them at risk of a fine of up to £100. This will be reduced to £50 if the fine is paid within 14 days.

“A shop can refuse them entry and can call the police if they refuse to comply,” Mr Hancock said.

It’s understandable that not only our residents, but communities everywhere will be worried about how their lives are going to be affected over the coming months.

The Government has provided guidance on social distancing for everyone in the UK and how we can all work together to protect older people and vulnerable adults. This includes steps you can take to stay connected with family and friends during this time:

  • Draw on support you might have through your friends, family and other networks. Try to stay in touch with those around you over the phone, by post, or online. Let people know how you would like to stay in touch and build that into your routine. This is also important in looking after your mental wellbeing and you may find it helpful to talk to them about how you are feeling.
  • Remember it is okay to share your concerns with others you trust and in doing so you may end up providing support to them too.

The Mental Health Foundation has useful information on how to look after your mental health during the virus outbreak and it can be found on their dedicated website page.

If you are feeling overwhelmed, try talking to your family and friends and sharing how you feel. If you are worried that you may need more help, the following support is available:

Free 24-hour listening support

Samaritans is available to listen at any time of the day or night. You can talk to them about anything that’s troubling you, no matter how difficult.

Call free on 116 123 or visit the Samaritans website.

Shout offers confidential 24/7 crisis text support for times when you need immediate assistance.

Text “SHOUT” to 85258 or visit Shout Crisis Text Line