The requirement for people to wear face masks in health and social care settings operated by Manx Care – unless they are medically exempt – will continue for the time being. This includes all visitors and patients attending outpatient appointments, community clinics and GP surgeries. Manx Care has worked with Isle of Man Government on their proposed change from pandemic to endemic but, at this time, is choosing a cautious and proportionate approach.
The Isle of Man Government has set out its plan to treat COVID-19 as an endemic disease similar to other illnesses such as flu and norovirus, with a target date of 31 March 2022. A disease is considered endemic where there are persistent, low or moderate levels in the community.
This position will continue to be reviewed regularly, with the ultimate objective that face masks will not be required in health and social care settings unless this is required for clinical reasons, or for personal choice.
Fresh masks are provided free at the entrance to all of Manx Care’s health and social care settings, and are the best protection for patients, visitors, and those around them when worn correctly. They should be worn to fully cover both the nose and mouth. Disposal of masks should be into bins situated at all sites.
Manx Care has updated its visiting policies so there is no longer a need pre-book their visit or complete a visitor registration form. To minimise congestion across patient areas, it is encouraging one person at a time to visit a friend or relative, although additional visitors may be accommodated at the discretion of the Nurse in Charge (in a hospital setting) or a Registered Manager (in an Adult Social Care facility). Please view the updated visiting guidelines.
All members of the public are being encouraged to voluntarily take a Lateral Flow Test (LFT) around 45 minutes to one hour before visiting any health and social care setting in order to detect individuals who may be infected with the Covid-19 virus, but who may be asymptomatic – this is in order to protect our staff, service users and other visitors from contracting Covid-19. The Lateral Flow Devices (LFDs) in use on the Island are able to detect the Omicron variant.
Signalling a return to the ‘new normal’ some services based at Noble’s Hospital will return to their original locations over the next few weeks, for example the Blood Clinic. A number of services were re-located as part of the Covid-19 response. Further details will be shared on these changes in due course.
Chief Executive Teresa Cope said:
‘We will continue to work with Isle of Man Government and relevant parties to monitor the situation with the aim of returning our health services to normal when possible but at this time we are working to protect all of the vulnerable people in our care and so face masks and the use of LFDs before visiting any of our sites will continue for now. The virus has not gone away and the pandemic is not over yet hence the need for us to continue operating with caution at the moment, albeit we welcome the transition towards an endemic approach.'