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Shielding

As of 7 January 2021, the Isle of Man Government has introduced new restrictions as a result of COVID-19 transmission in the community.

In light of these new restrictions, it is recommended that from 00:01 on Thursday 7 January 2021, those at significant clinical risk (clinically extremely vulnerable) – those who shielded before – should do so again for an initial period of 21 days. 

Shielding is a measure that can help protect you from coming into contact with the COVID-19 coronavirus, by minimising all face-to-face interaction between you and other people.

Those who have received a shielding letter previously, should carefully follow the steps set out below to shield from the COVID-19 coronavirus.  We are recommending initially a period of 21 days (as above) but this may be extended and we advise you to listen to Isle of Man Government announcements and shield for the length of time that the lockdown and stay at home advice is in place. We all need to follow the current guidance to reduce the risk of catching or spreading COVID-19. In addition, because of the additional risk to those who are clinically extremely vulnerable of serious illness if they were to catch it, we strongly advise that these individuals:

  • Stay at home at all times
  • Avoid any unnecessary face-to-face contact with people, including people who they live with
  • Avoid all face-to-face contact with anyone who is displaying symptoms of COVID-19 coronavirus – these symptoms include high temperature, shortness of breath and/or a new and continuous cough
  • Do not go out for shopping, for leisure or travel and, when arranging food or medication deliveries, these should be left at the door to minimise contact
  • Anyone who provides essential care and support to clinically extremely vulnerable individuals can continue to visit, but they must stay away if they have any of the symptoms of COVID-19 coronavirus
  • Anyone coming into the home of a clinically extremely vulnerable person should thoroughly wash their hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds on arrival and often whilst they are there. If possible, they should wear a face covering during their visit.
  • For anyone else living in the same house as a clinically extremely vulnerable person, it is important that they also do everything they can to support that person in shielding themselves from COVID-19 coronavirus. They should stringently follow guidance on social distancing, reducing their contact with people outside of their home to avoid bringing the virus into the household.

Visit Guidance on shielding and protecting extremely vulnerable persons from COVID-19 on gov.uk

The DHSC has begun offering the vaccination against COVID-19 to some clinically extremely vulnerable individuals and will continue in order of priority. For detailed information, visit the Isle of Man COVID-19 vaccination programme.

We understand that the recommendation to shield may cause some concern. It is important to provide those who are vulnerable with the best advice on how to protect themselves and stay well. 

If you have any concerns please contact your GP by telephone. 

If you believe you have symptoms of COVID-19 coronavirus, please call the new Isle of Man helpline by dialling 111.

If you have non-medical enquiries or would like information on Government services, other support available in our community during the period of the COVID-19 pandemic please call the new information line by dialling 686262.

In a life-threatening emergency, always dial 999.

Frequently asked questions

What should I do if I am shielding and I have someone else living with me? 

Whilst the rest of your household are not required to adopt the protective shielding measures for themselves, they should do everything they can to support you in shielding yourself and by stringently following guidance on social distancing.

  • Minimise as much as possible the time that you and other people you live with spend in shared spaces such as kitchens, bathrooms and sitting areas, and keep shared spaces well ventilated. When in shared spaces, wear a face covering/face mask if possible. During winter, indoor spaces are often warm and poorly ventilated – this encourages transmission of the virus and face coverings help reduce this.
  • Try and keep 2 metres (3 steps) away from people you live with and encourage them to sleep in a different bed where possible. If you can, you should use a separate bathroom from the rest of the household. Make sure you use separate towels from the other people in your house, both for drying after bathing or showering and for hand drying.
  • If you do share a toilet and bathroom with others, it is important that they are cleaned after use every time (for example, wiping surfaces you have come into contact with). Another tip is to consider drawing up a rota for bathing, with you using the facilities first.
  • If you share a kitchen with others, avoid using it while they are present. If you can, you should take your meals back to your room to eat. If you have one, use a dishwasher to clean and dry the household’s crockery and cutlery. If this is not possible, wash them using your usual washing up liquid and warm water and dry them thoroughly. If you are using your own utensils, remember to use a separate tea towel for drying these.
  • We understand that it will be difficult for some people to separate themselves from others at home. You should do your very best to follow this guidance and everyone in your household should regularly wash their hands, avoid touching their face, and clean frequently touched surfaces.

If the rest of your household stringently follow advice on social distancing and minimise the risk of spreading the virus within the home by following the advice above, there is no need for them to also shield alongside you.

What advice do you have on handwashing and respiratory hygiene for people who are shielding? 

There are general principles you, and everyone in your household, should follow to help prevent the spread of airway and chest infections caused by respiratory viruses including COVID-19 coronavirus:

  • Wash your hands more often - with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use a hand sanitiser. Do this after you blow your nose, sneeze or cough, and after you eat or handle food
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands
  • Avoid any contact with people who have symptoms of COVID-19 coronavirus
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in a bin
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces in the home such as phones, remote controls, door handles etc.
  • Wear a face covering/face mask when in shared areas

What should I do if I am shielding and I develop symptoms of COVID-19 coronavirus?

The symptoms of COVID-19 coronavirus can include any one or more of the symptoms below:

  • A high temperature – this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)
  • A new, persistent cough
  • Anosmia – this is the loss of or change in your normal sense of smell. (It can also affect your sense of taste as the two are closely linked)
  • A new shortness of breath

Seek clinical advice using the COVID-19 helpline by dialling 111 on your telephone as soon as you notice ANY of the above symptoms.  In an emergency, call 999 if you are seriously ill. Do not visit your GP, pharmacy or a hospital unless you are told to do so by a medical professional.

To help us to provide you with the best care if you need to go to hospital as a result of catching COVID-19 coronavirus, we ask that you prepare a single hospital bag. This should include your emergency contact, a list of the medications you take (including dose and frequency), any information on your planned care appointments and things you would need for an overnight stay (snacks, pyjamas, toothbrush, medication etc.). If you have an advanced care plan, please include that.

What should I do if I have hospital and GP appointments during my shielding period?

We advise everyone to access medical assistance remotely, wherever possible. However, if you have a scheduled hospital or other medical appointment during this period, contact your GP or the hospital to confirm your appointment.

What is the advice for visitors, including those who are providing care for me?

Contact regular visitors to your home, such as friends and family to let them know that you are shielding and that they should not visit you during this time unless they are providing essential care for you. Essential care includes things like help with washing, dressing, or feeding.

If you receive regular health or social care support, inform your care provider that you are shielding and agree a plan for continuing your care.

If you receive essential care from friends or family members, speak to your carers about extra precautions they can take to keep you safe.

Speak to your carers about backup plans for your care in case your main carer is unwell and needs to self-isolate.

What is the advice for people who help care for me in my home?

If you are caring for someone who is extremely vulnerable due to severe illness from COVID-19, there are some simple steps that you can take to protect them and to reduce their risk at the current time. Ensure you follow advice on good hygiene.

  • Only provide care that is essential
  • Wash your hands thoroughly on arrival and often, using soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitiser.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze
  • Put used tissues in the bin immediately and wash your hands afterwards
  • Do not visit or provide care if you are unwell and make alternative arrangements for care to be provided
  • Look after your own wellbeing and physical health during this time.
  • Wear a face covering/face mask if possible