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Living with COVID-19

Now that we have left the first phase of elimination and moved on to our next phase of mitigation, we know that the virus will not go away. Instead of trying to avoid it, we must now learn to live with COVID-19. That means being prepared by taking precautionary measures to mitigate against the virus, ensuring that we and those around us are as safe as possible.

There are several precautions that will help us to reduce the risk of catching and spreading COVID-19 around our community. These, taken separately, can leave gaps in protection, but when practised together both personally and collectively, can be very powerful in mitigating the impact of the virus.

What you can do:

Avoid the 3 C’s:

  • Crowded places – avoid crowded places and limit time in enclosed spaces
  • Close-contact settings – avoid areas where people have close-range conversations, go outside if you can
  • Confined and enclosed spaces – avoid spaces with poor ventilation and where possible, open windows and doors for ventilation

There is also a fourth C – less talked about, that of Caring and being thoughtful to not spread disease to others.

  • Caring - be thoughtful to not spread disease to others

Hands, face, space and ventilate

 Wash your hands

Fact: Coronavirus can live for more than 24 hours in indoor environments.

What you can do:

Effective handwashing and drying is the single most important thing you can do to help to reduce the spread of infections. Washing your hands properly with soap and warm water or using alcohol based hand gel and drying your hands thoroughly can help protect you, your family, children and others.

See Handwashing

 Ventilate indoor spaces

Fact: If someone breathes in virus particles that are suspended in the air, they can become infected with COVID-19. This is known as airborne transmission.

What you can do:

Ventilation is the process of introducing fresh air into indoor spaces while removing stale air. Letting fresh air into indoor spaces can help remove air that contains virus particles and prevent the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).

See: Ventilation of indoor spaces to stop the spread of coronavirus

 Social distancing

In the Isle of Man there is currently no requirement to maintain a distance of 2 metres from those outside of your household

Fact: Transmission of the virus is most likely to happen within 2 metres, with risk increasing exponentially at shorter distances

What you can do:

Remaining mindful of your surroundings and continuing to make space has a powerful impact when it comes to containing the spread. You should also be respectful of others around you who continue to practise social distancing

For detailed guidance see: Guidance on social distancing

 Face coverings

In the Isle of Man, some service providers may still require face coverings as a condition of entry and people may wish to continue to wear a face covering as a personal choice.

Fact: Face coverings reduce the dispersion of smaller droplets of the virus, called aerosols that can stay in the air indoors for at least 5 minutes

What you can do:

Face coverings reduce the dispersion of these droplets, meaning if you’re carrying the virus you’re less likely to spread it to others when you exhale. Wearing a face covering helps you protect your friends and family.

For detailed guidance see Guidance on face coverings

 COVID-19 vaccination programme

As more of the population are vaccinated, we expect to see lower transmission of the virus and fewer people becoming ill or dying from the virus. In the Isle of Man, more than 50,000 people have now received their first dose of the vaccine.

Fact: While vaccines help to protect you against serious health complications associated with viruses, they are not 100% effective, meaning you can still get infected.

What you can do:

  1. Continue to protect yourself and others even if you have been vaccinated by keeping your distance, practising good hand hygiene, wearing a face covering and letting fresh air in.
  2. If you have symptoms, get tested even if you have been vaccinated. It is important to know if you have COVID-19 so that you stay at home, self-isolate and do not infect other people.

See COVID-19 vaccination programme

  Events and gatherings

What this means for businesses or those organising a gathering or event:

You should continue to carry out regular risk assessments and take precautionary measures to create a safe environment for your staff, customers/audience. This includes:

  • Undertake a risk assessment on the COVID-19 risks to your staff and customers/audience
  • Ensure you have facilities to support strong hygiene practices for your staff and customers/audience
  • Consider holding events or meetings virtually, where possible. If not, consider allowing people to sit with space between them and ensure there is good ventilation in the meeting room/venue
  • Think about maintaining a good cleaning regime in shared areas, such as bathrooms or kitchens
  • Promote positive messages to raise awareness of the risks and to help your staff and customers/audience make informed choices around these risks
  • Ensure your staff and customers/audience know that they must stay at home if unwell and remind them of the symptoms
  • Ensure you have up to date staff records and where possible attendance records for contact tracing
  • Consider how best to ensure good ventilation in your premises and fresh air as part of your risk assessments
  • We encourage individuals to think about whether they want to work from home to reduce their daily contact and risk. We encourage businesses to support staff in making this decision

Some useful links:

DO NOT ENTER’ COVID-19 symptoms poster – for businesses

Considerations for events and gatherings - CDC

Assessment of transmission of COVID-19 in singing and music events

Guidance COVID-19: suggested principles of safer singing

Working safely during coronavirus (COVID-19) - Performing arts

Some of the above facts have been adapted from Public Health England.