We’ve all been experiencing unprecedented and challenging times. As a Bailiwick, we have done a great job – but this is a marathon, not a sprint.
We are enjoying freedoms that other countries can only dream of. If we want to keep it that way, we all need to play our part, especially with these longer nights as we reach for our thermals.
As cases dwindled we started venturing out of our homes, back to work and school.
In our Bailiwick Bubble, we soon stopped being thankful and started moaning about all the things we moaned about before. Things that those outside of Guernsey would be grateful to have to moan about.
We have shown the world what small communities are all about - team work. But now is not the time to be complacent, especially with these cold months upon us and the continuous challenges we face.
That’s where #GuernseyTogether Winter 2021 comes in with lots of advice on how we can work together to stay well. Winter wellness is key, and this page has information about the different things we can do to tackle the spread of viruses and how we can protect ourselves and those around us. Our ‘Everyday Do’s and Don’ts’ section is a particularly useful summary.
Just some of the things we’d like to remind you of are:
If you are ill, please don’t go to work – and to managers and bosses, please support those who are poorly by, where possible, allowing employees to work from home. We know and understand that this isn’t always possible, but if you can, then please do.
If you are a business, please keep hand sanitiser at your doors and on your counters. Please regularly wipe down counters and tables.
It’s good practice to respect personal space, where possible, to wash our hands or use hand sanitiser and to stay home if we are ill.
Look after yourself and each other. Be kind.
We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again. Let’s make sure that love and support is the only thing we are spreading. Not germs. Not misinformation. Not negativity.
Let’s not forget who we are, and what we are capable of when we work together. When we are Guernsey Together.
Can you and your business help the Bailiwick in its fight against winter illnesses and COVID-19?
Especially during this cold winter, we need to work together, as a team, to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 and other respiratory illnesses on the community.
A ‘normal’ winter sees increased pressure on our health and social care services. The hospital fills up and sometimes services have to be postponed to make sure we have sufficient resources to care for those who need it most.
With COVID-19 all around us, this winter it is more important than ever to look after each other and prevent the unnecessary spread of illness.
We know that simple measures can prevent the spread of viruses. Could you be the champion for your organisation to do your bit to keep people well and reduce the impact on our health and social care services?
#GuernseyTogether Winter 2021 Champions will need to agree to the following mission statement:
As a #GuernseyTogether Winter 2021 Champion I will:
remind people that they should not attend the workplace if they are ill and I will work with management to support employees to work from home where possible;
promote good hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette in the workplace;
ensure adequate supplies of hand sanitiser for customers/visitors to my workplace;
ask people scheduled to attend meetings to consider alternatives ways of meeting if they are unwell;
promote the take up of the flu vaccine for my colleagues – particularly those identified in the vulnerable groups (while acknowledging that not everyone can have the flu vaccine);
help and support colleagues who wish to cease smoking;
feed back to the States of Guernsey communications team if I believe issues or guidance needs further clarification;
work with other #GuernseyTogether Winter 2021 champions to spread support – not misinformation or germs.
If you’d like to find out more about becoming a #GuernseyTogether Winter 2021 Champion, please email email@example.com
Whilst the global COVID-19 pandemic continues, stopping smoking is even more important as we know that smokers are more likely to become unwell and their recovery will be longer if they contract the virus.
We also know that smokers are twice as likely to get pneumonia and five times more likely to get flu than non-smokers.
To contact Guernsey Quitline for support or further information please telephone 01481 233170, visit the website www.gsyquitline.com Facebook page, Guernsey Quitline Stop Smoking Service, or email firstname.lastname@example.org
It is important to ensure that islanders take up the offer of the vaccination against seasonal influenza (flu).
The planned flu programme for 2021/22 will enable the Bailiwick to continue to protect those most at risk, whilst the global COVID-19 pandemic continues, and support the continuing drive to effectively manage the winter pressures that can place additional stress across the health and social care system.
The COVID-19 booster programme will offer an additional dose of COVID-19 vaccine and the annual influenza (flu) vaccine for the following groups:
All adults living in care homes - residential or nursing care.
Front line health and social care workers.
All adults over the age of 16 who are immunosuppressed.
All adults over the age of 16 who are considered clinically extremely vulnerable.
All adults aged 50 years or over.
Working in partnership with Primary Care Services, the States of Guernsey is encouraging anyone aged 18 to 64 who is 'at risk' of being seriously unwell if they contract flu to make arrangements to receive their flu vaccine as soon as possible. Anyone who falls into the 'at risk' group can receive this vaccine this year, at no cost from their primary care practice.
Flu can affect anyone, but if you have a long-term health condition, the effects of flu can make it worse even if the condition is well managed and you normally feel well. For some, the disease can lead to hospitalisation, permanent disability or even death.
You should have the free flu vaccine if you are:
pregnant (if you are pregnant you can ask your midwife for an influenza vaccine)
or have a long-term condition such as:
a heart problem
a chest complaint or serious breathing difficulties, including bronchitis, emphysema or some people with asthma
a kidney disease
lowered immunity due to disease or treatment (such as steroid medication or cancer treatment)
had a stroke or a transient ischaemic attack (TIA)
a neurological condition, such as multiple sclerosis (MS) or cerebral palsy
a problem with your spleen, such as sickle cell disease, or you have had your spleen removed
you are seriously overweight (BMI of 40 and above)
This list of conditions isn't definitive. It's always an issue of clinical judgement. Your GP can assess you to take into account the risk of flu making any underlying illness you may have worse, as well as your risk of serious illness from flu itself. If you are unsure then please contact your primary care practice for more information and advice.
If you feel very unwell and require emergency assistance, phone 999 and tell the operator of your symptoms. Please do not visit your GP or the Emergency Department at the hospital unannounced.
You must self-isolate for the duration of these symptoms. If your COVID-19 test result is negative, then you no longer need to self-isolate as long as your symptoms have resolved. Contact a health practitioner if any flu like symptoms persist e.g. a lingering cough. This advice also applies to children.
Symptoms to be aware of in children and over 80s and 90s include loose stool, mild fever and not acting themselves with a cough presenting later. In the instance of an individual having diarrhoea and/or vomiting, a person must be symptom free for 48 hours before returning to school or work.
This is good for infection prevention control at any time, but is particularly important whilst the Bailiwick continues to manage the COVID-19 pandemic. Evidence proves that this advice could reduce the potential spread of respiratory illness by 60%.
Islanders need to understand that self-isolation means that you MUST stay at home. Just staying away from work/school/day-care is not sufficient to stop the spread. Popping to the shop, going to church or having people round for a cup of tea will undermine the effectiveness of self-isolation and will not prevent the spread of respiratory illnesses.
If, following advice from the Clinical Helpline, you have been referred for a COVID-19 test you will be contacted by the Scheduling Team. Where possible, tests for symptomatic patients (those showing symptoms of COVID-19) are scheduled within 24 hours of calling the helpline.
If you are unable to drive yourself to the testing centre at the Princess Elizabeth Hospital, a member of your family may drive you there. You will need to sit in the back of the car, with a mask on if you have one available. You will also need to ensure that you sanitise the car after you have been for your test.
Children who have flu-like or cold symptoms should stay at home. They may be sent home from school if they develop them during the school day. This is because these symptoms could be linked with COVID-19.
If your child has any of the following symptoms, please phone the Helpline on 01481 756938 or 01481 756969 to get further advice. If necessary, your child may be tested for COVID-19.
Your child should not return to school until a minimum of 48 hours after all symptoms have cleared, or as otherwise advised by Public Health Services or a health practitioner. More information about advice for those in education can be found at: Education guidance | States of Guernsey - COVID-19 (gov.gg)
Please don’t hesitate to contact your GP for further advice, if your child’s health is concerning you or if they develop other symptoms, or call 999 in case of an emergency.
We have also produced a handy leaflet that can be downloaded below.
If you know someone who can’t access the internet you could print a copy out for them. Or drop round some homemade soup to a neighbour if you have made a batch yourself. Or offer to shop for healthy nutritious food if you know someone who is self-isolating or shielding.
Keeping active and exercising regularly whether you are self-isolating or not is important for both your mental and physical health, especially as the cold and flu season challenges our immune systems.
If you’re not self-isolating and want to make the best of the great outdoors this winter then walking, running, cycling or - if you’re brave - sea swimming (advisable to be done safely and with a friend) are all good options to boost your mood during those shorter days and improve your physical wellbeing.
Understandably, you may prefer to spend more time indoors during these colder months, but that doesn’t mean that being active should stop. If you have to stay indoors due to self-isolation or you just want to stay out of the cold, then check out these tips and resources from The Health Improvement Commission on keeping active and moving at home, for all ages.
Vaccines teach your immune system how to protect you from diseases. It's much safer for your immune system to learn this through vaccination than by catching the diseases and attempting to treat them. Vaccines can reduce or even eradicate some diseases, if enough people are vaccinated.
Hand washing might sound simple, but it’s an incredibly important addition to the things we can do to prevent the spread of respiratory illnesses on a daily basis. During a time when we’re constantly overloaded with information, it’s also important to separate fact from fiction.
Here are 8 things you might not know about hand washing:
Hand washing is more effective than wearing gloves – gloves can carry bacteria on them, existing bacteria on your hands can multiply once you’ve put your gloves on and these bacteria can continue to spread once you’ve taken the gloves off, or if they get damaged. Hand washing is still the most proven way of limiting bacteria spread and contamination. If you do wear gloves, be sure to change them often and wash your hands in between changes.
There is no research that shows that using hotter water is more effective – it takes more than hot water to kill bacteria and viruses, so before you think about turning up the heat, remember that comfortably warm water with soap is sufficient.
Hand dryers are not the most hygienic drying method – they are home to moist environments which bacteria can thrive in and the air dispensed can be unhygienic. Hand towels can also store bacteria so the safest thing to use is a disposable paper towel.
Drying your hands after washing them is important – did you know that germs can transfer more easily between wet hands? The key is to wash, then dry!
Hand washing is more effective than using alcohol hand sanitiser – we know that hand washing facilities aren’t always available if you’re out and about, so if you do use hand sanitiser then make sure it has at least 70% alcohol. If you have the option to either wash your hands or use sanitiser, then please choose option 1. It’s more effective, especially for hands that are already dirty and greasy.
Antibacterial soaps are only slightly more effective than regular soap – studies have shown that both antibacterial and regular soap break up fat on the skin which is key for good handwashing.
The length of time you wash your hands for is important – Washing your hands for 20 seconds is enough time for bacteria and viruses to be destroyed and ensures a much more thorough wash to maximise effectiveness.
Hand washing isn’t just for bathroom visits and food prepping – hand hygiene goes beyond the toilet and the chopping board. Germs can be picked up from everything you touch so washing your hands frequently is important especially when being in a public place, after touching something that is touched by others (e.g. door handles, cashpoint machines), before touching your face and in between glove wearing.
Improving the airflow in indoor spaces plays an important part in preventing the spread of viruses, in addition to all-important hand washing, keeping surrounding areas clean and staying at home if you are unwell.
Natural ventilation can include basic steps such as opening doors and windows (if it is safe to do so) and will help to remove stale air to keep the air around you as fresh as possible.
We know that the last thing you might want to do on a cold day is crack open a window, but you don’t have to do it for too long – just enough to get some air moving in and out, especially before and after busier times.
If you have ventilation/air conditioning systems in your home, office, school etc., you can also ask your heating/ventilation/air conditioning supplier about the following suggestions for various systems to find out if there is anything you can change or improve:
Increasing the percentage of outdoor air for mechanical systems;
Increasing total airflow supply to occupied spaces, if possible;
Disabling ‘demand control ventilation’ controls that automatically adjust ventilation;
Increasing air filtration as much as possible;
Having filter housing and racks inspected to ensure appropriate filter fit and minimising filter bypass;
Considering running heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems at maximum outside airflow for 2 hours before and after spaces are occupied;
Ensuring that exhaust fans located in toilet facilities are functional and operating at full capacity;
Generating ‘clean-to-less-clean’ air movements by looking at air diffusers and/or dampers and adjusting where possible.
Preferably air is not recirculated but, where it can’t be avoided, filters should be cleaned on a regular basis. Workplaces, schools and other public places should have a source of fresh, clean air whether that be through natural ventilation or simply carrying out some checks and making enquiries regarding the mechanical systems in place.
We know there is a lot of information out there, not just on this website, but on various platforms, so it’s important that we separate fact from fiction and ensure that you’re fully informed on how to stay well this winter. We’ve put together the following list to summarise the various sections on this page:
Wash your hands regularly for at least 20 seconds with soap or use hand sanitiser if you can’t easily access running water;
Maintain good respiratory etiquette – cough/sneeze into tissues or use your elbow;
Avoid touching your face;
Stay at home if you are unwell and seek medical advice – the same applies for children;
Regularly take care to thoroughly clean surfaces that are touched often;
Respect personal space when out and about – for example, keep one trolley distance between people when food shopping;
Take up the opportunity to have a flu vaccination if you are eligible;
Be aware that masks are recommended in some situations but consider using one if you are clinically vulnerable or in an enclosed space;
Avoid handshakes and casual hugs;
Keep active and eat well (with fibre and protein) to keep your immune system fighting fit;
Consider taking vitamin D3 supplements and don’t forget your vitamin C;
Keep a diary of where you have been, this could be extremely useful for Public Health;
Try and limit your time in crowded places if you can;
Ensure that enclosed areas are well-ventilated and that air conditioning systems have the appropriate filtration – more advice is available on this page under ‘advice on ventilation’;
Think about ways to stop smoking, or support someone else who is trying to quit;
Follow the States of Guernsey on social media (we’re on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram) as we will have all of the latest information for you. We will always keep you informed;
Be a winter champion so that you and your business can be part of the fight against winter illnesses and COVID-19;
Have a COVID-19 vaccine if you are eligible when these become available.
Try and ‘push through’ what might feel like a mild cold and go to work if you are feeling unwell. Look out for COVID-19 symptoms - please stay at home and seek advice;
Be afraid to call the helpline or your GP if you have any of the symptoms of COVID-19. It is your responsibility to recognise the symptoms and take the advised action - please don’t take risks;
Avoid seeking advice for fear of having a COVID-19 test – it takes seconds and your results will be given to you as quickly as possible;
Only focus on doing one or two preventative measures – no single intervention is perfect at preventing the spread of infections and a combined approach is needed - have a look at the ‘Swiss Cheese Model’ below which illustrates this concept;
Ignore the basic advice to wash your hands regularly. It might seem tedious but it’s so important for your health and the health of those around you;
Ignore the opportunity to have a flu vaccination;
Disregard the importance of self-isolation if you are travelling back to the island. It is absolutely critical and you must follow the regulations in place;
Suffer in silence. The COVID-19 helplines exist to answers your questions and advise on any concerns you might have about feeling symptomatic, self-isolating and more;
Listen to rumours. The States of Guernsey will provide you with the facts. Find us on social media or tune into our briefings;
Panic if we are holding a briefing – this is an important way to keep you informed and it doesn’t always mean that we have bad news to share;
Spread negativity, hate and rumours on social media. Many teams are working extremely hard behind the scenes to keep you and your loved ones safe – you are their priority. Let’s spread the #GuernseyTogether spirit because it’s going to be more important than ever this winter.
Image based on an original idea by Ian M Mackay PhD