HAMPSHIRE Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (HHFT) is calling on members of the local community to do what they can to help reduce the rate of transmission of COVID-19 in Hampshire.
Following the co-signing of the COVID ZERO open letter (see here) by Dr Lara Alloway, chief medical officer at HHFT in July, the trust has launched the COVID ZERO campaign across its hospitals, with the ambition of achieving zero transmission of COVID within its hospital and in the community.
By taking three simple actions – that cost nothing – every single one of us can help to stop the spread of Coronavirus and protect ourselves and our loved ones, said Lara.
HHFT are urging the local community and trust staff members to continue to WALK, WEAR & WASH:
WALK – follow guidance by walking apart and social distancing
WEAR – wear a mask or face covering when you’re not able to safely socially distance
WASH – wash your hands as often as possible
We will be advertising this campaign as widely we can inside our hospitals – but the public have an important part to play, too. These simple actions can make a big difference and we are sharing easy to share and/ or print materials online (see here) for everyone to use and very much hope they take up the offer!
Face masks have been made available at the entrances to all HHFT sites and hand sanitisers are located at regular intervals throughout – though washing your hands with soap and warm water remains the best thing to do.
Julie Dawes, chief nurse at HHFT, concluded:
This has been a challenging year; and its looks likely that a second wave is coming. Each and every one of us has been tested in ways we never thought possible but together we have met that challenge.
The NHS has made massive preparations for this winter – Hampshire is no different – and we are as ready as we can be. But we are not complacent and we need everyone’s help.
I will never forget the sound on a Thursday evening of a whole community standing together to clap for the NHS. If we show that same spirit now – walk, wear and wash – we really can make COVID Zero.
The following is the most recent COVID ZERO open letter, signed by many senior clinical leaders across Hampshire & Isle of Wight, including Dr Lara Alloway, chief medical officer at Hampshire Hospitals:
You are making a difference.
First of all, thank you. You are making a difference. Our local rates of infection are lower or at the national average and a fraction of the rate seen elsewhere. The virus is just as infectious and dangerous. Stopping rampant spread is only the result of you doing the right things.
However, we are now at a crossroads. The rate of infection is beginning to rise in our community just as the risks are increasing. Schools are back, students have returned and we are all tired of the impact of COVID on our lives.
If we relax our behaviours now it will only be a matter of weeks before we are struggling. There can be no doubt, we can see the effect of relaxing in Europe and other parts of the world as well as some UK cities.
This will bring us to a path of repeated lockdowns, hospitals and healthcare services only able to respond to emergencies and struggling to keep you safe. Loss of jobs, loss of returned freedoms, a huge effect on our mental health. We must do all we can now to avoid this route.
What are we asking?
Just that you do all you can to reduce the risk of catching or passing on COVID-19. This is about our choices, it is our collective and individual responsibility.
So please, walk apart when you can, wear a mask when you can’t, it works. Wash your hands regularly. Sanitise your hands on entering and exiting public buildings, the risk to you is greater when you leave. And, keep contacts down. Winter is coming and we will want to mix indoors. We can’t do this freely or we will be overwhelmed. Keep to less than six, it will keep you safer.
This will be over. A vaccine will likely come. Now is the moment of choice. There are only two options. One of complacency leading to repeated lockdowns, struggling hospitals and healthcare services, lost jobs and unhappiness. Or a better way, requiring some personal sacrifice for a few months more.
It is what you have done so far that gives us the opportunity to remain in control and shows it is possible. Keep doing these simple things and we can keep each other safe.
The Senior Clinical Leads for Hampshire & Isle of Wight