Coronavirus (Covid-19) is the illness caused by a particular strain of coronavirus. Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses which may cause illness in animals or humans. In humans, several coronaviruses are known to cause respiratory infections ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). Covid-19 is a coronavirus first identified in late 2019 in China. The outbreak was declared a Public Health Emergency of International Concern by the World Health Organisation (WHO) on 30 January 2020 as the virus rapidly spread. Across Scotland, the UK, and globally, Covid-19 related restrictions were introduced with countries legislating and enforcing rules aimed at preventing the spread of infection, including in the UK and Scotland extended periods of ‘Lockdown’ where people are only allowed to leave their homes for certain defined ‘essential purposes’. From March 2020 until July 2021 the pattern of infection rates and direct impact of Covid-19 illness could be mapped across three ‘Waves’ of the Pandemic, with the national restrictions on day-to-day life reflecting the severity of each ‘wave’.
Scotland introduced a Coronavirus (COVID-19): Scotland's Strategic Framework in 2020 based on a ‘tiered’ system of different levels of restrictions. On 9 August Scotland moved ‘beyond Level Zero’ which is great news as the success of the national Vaccination Programme helps us to return to day to day life which looks much more like it did before the Pandemic.
The legal requirement for physical distancing and limits on gatherings was removed as of 9 August 2021 when all venues across Scotland were legally able to re-open.
However, some protective measures stay in place:
- The use of face coverings
- The collection of contact details as part of the Test and Protect | NHS inform system.
- Capacity limits of 2000 people indoors and 5000 people outdoors although some exceptions may be possible on an application basis.
- School mitigation measures remain in place for 6 weeks from the start of the 2021-2022 school year, and this is the case for the GSC
- Adults identified as close contacts of someone who has tested positive for Covid-19 are no longer automatically required to self-isolate for 10 days from 9 August. Anyone who is double vaccinated with at least two weeks passed since their second dose and who has no symptoms will be able to end self-isolation if they return a negative PCR test.
- As of 27/8 Health & Social Care Workers are required to self-isolate if they are a close contact of a household positive but not of a random person.
- The same conditions will also apply to anyone aged between five and 17 years old, even if they have not been vaccinated. The requirement to take a PCR test will not apply to children under the age of five.
- Test and Protect will implement revised guidance for under 18s. This means that the blanket isolation of whole classes in schools will no longer happen and a targeted approach, that only identifies children and young people who are higher risk close contacts, will be adopted.
- Fewer young people will have to self-isolate, and most will be asked to self-isolate for a much shorter period of time.
- At GSC we will respond on a situation-by-situation basis in relation to situations where staff are living in the same household as someone who has tested positive – the safety and wellbeing of all concerned will be the driving factor behind any decisions which we make in relation to self-isolation and work/home bubbles.
It is really important that young people, staff and guests of GSC feel informed, safe and confident at this stage of the ongoing Pandemic, so it will be vital that we all continue to follow FACTS and for the GSC this means we will continue to follow strict guidance in relation to FACTS and physical distancing as we move through these next few weeks beyond Level Zero. As a Team, everyone at the Good Shepherd Centre is proud that we have kept young people and colleagues safe and well throughout the Pandemic. We are delighted that we have been able to welcome increasing numbers of family and professional visitors back to the centre and will continue to do so.
We are also delighted that we have been able to hold events, albeit within the safe environment of our bubbles.
Everyone is encouraged to take regular Lateral Flow Tests at least twice per week and daily wherever possible, as 1 in 3 people with COVID-19 do not have symptoms. (LFD) home test kits are available to anyone in the wider population who does not have COVID-19 symptoms. They can be picked up from local walk/drive-through test sites or ordered online and delivered to your house https://www.nhs.uk/ Anyone in Scotland who develops COVID-19 symptoms should self-isolate and book a PCR test.
At GSC we already have many of our staff and some of the young people staying here taking part in regular LFD self-testing, and we will be carrying on as long as the Public Health advice encourages this.
Please contact us before visiting the centre or if you have any questions or worries and we can explain what we are doing to keep everyone safe and well and what to expect in terms of Covid-19 safety measures.