[Latest update: 15th May]
- Basic important information (updated)
- Our training courses (updated)
- General and useful information about coronavirus
- Expert opinion
- And finally…
Basic Important Information:
- Coronavirus (also known as SARS-CoV-2 which leads to the disease COVID-19) is a new (novel) form of virus whose appearance resembles a crown. Hence the term “corona”, meaning crown.
- The vast majority of people infected with the virus (click here for latest figures) only exhibit mild symptoms.
- Research papers show that:
- the virus can remain suspended in the air for up to 3 hours.
- the virus can survive for up to 72 hours on surfaces such as glass, fabric, metal, plastic & paper.
- the virus can survive in human faeces for 5 days.
- the virus is spread by both droplet (e.g. sneezing) and by aerosol transmission (i.e. through the air).
- infected people can spread the disease in as little as 12 hours after your initial exposure to it. However you’re most likely to spread it between 3 & 7 days after initial exposure.
- you will typically start to exhibit symptoms of the disease from 2-14 days after exposure, with the mean time being 6 days after exposure. This means that people affected by the virus can be spreading it (community spread) for up to 2 weeks before they become aware that they are ill.
- Symptoms include;
- a new dry cough (i.e. not a “chesty cough” that produces sputum),
- a fever (37.8 DegC or above),
- Other symptoms include: muscle aches & a feeling of being generally unwell (general malaise), a shortness of breath, gastrointestinal infection symptoms (such as diarrhoea).
- If you have these, DO NOT dial 111 (NHS24) unless the symptoms are life threatening. Simply remain at home in isolation (see below). Calling 111 will simply add to the number of people trying to get through, in the same way that there are many irrelevant 999 calls.
The video below (released 31st Jan 2020) from the World Health Organisation explains more about the virus and its disease.
Our training courses (updated).
- Face to face courses:
- All face to face courses have ceased for the time being. I’m looking at ways to recommence face to face training courses in June.
- Our most popular courses can be undertaken online as part of a blended learning course. The face to face element of this course can be undertaken several weeks afterwards, the exact time depends on the specific course.
- We will continue to facilitate additional personal hygiene during our courses. This includes physical distancing of candidates as well as running courses with reduced numbers of candidates.
- Should your instructor be diagnosed with coronavirus, we will make every effort to inform you immediately.
- Online courses:
- We have a portfolio of around 50 online courses that you can take, so you may not even need to attend a face to face course.
- We are already running courses via Zoom webinar. You can view our webinar courses here.
- If you have any of the symptoms (listed above), please;
- do not attend your course.
- contact us to advise us that you are self-isolating.
- follow Government advice with regards to self isolation.
- We will look to rearrange your course for you. Please also refer to our Terms and Conditions regarding late notice of cancellation.
- If you have any of the symptoms (listed above), please;
Update – May 15th 2020:
Well, have these been an interesting few week’s! We have probably all been touched by this virus now; whether personally or because we know someone who has been affected by the virus. However there is light at the end of the tunnel.
The UK government have now allowed some businesses to start going back to work, so I’m looking at ways in which we can start running face to face courses again in the near future; ideally from June. Obviously to do this we will need to put in place various measures to ensure your safety and the safety of our instructors.
I am currently in the process of reviewing the official government guidance with regards to businesses becoming “COVID-Secure”. I am also awaiting official guidance and recommendations from the First Aid Quality Partnership; which is a group formed to support regulatory requirements for Awarding Organisations and Bodies. My understanding is that guidance will be issued during the week beginning 18th of May. As soon as I’ve had a chance to review both sets of safety recommendations, I will be able to update you on if & how we will be running face-to-face courses in the future.
Naturally, I fully expect that there will be some significant changes to the way that we run courses. These may include running the course entirely online (e.g. as a webinar) or asking you to undertake an online e-learning course as part of your learning. Where we ask you to undertake an online e-learning course as part of the course, it will reduce your face-to-face course time by around 30%. This shouldn’t diminish your learning, but it will help reduce any risk of contracting the virus.
Another change that will come into effect is that our main training centre is relocating within Knutsford. Traditionally we run our courses from the Community Centre, located centrally in Knutsford. However, the managers of the centre don’t believe the rooms will be available again until September at the earliest.
We regularly use a second local venue, and we are investigating using this as our main training centre moving forward. Using this venue will allow us to provide more than two metres of separation between each candidate thanks to the size of the room.
I’ll keep you updated on how we are moving forwards with all of these soon.
Update – Mar 15th 2020:
The UK has now entered the delay phase of the plan to deal with the coronavirus pandemic. While scientific debate continues as to which is the optimum way to deal with the virus, we will simply be providing links to good, relevant & reliable sources of information. The first of these is, “How do you self-isolate & what should I do or not do while at home?“
Here is the practical advice from a highly respected, retired NHS medical trainer. While the video was released on 27th Feb, the contents remain relevant today and moving forwards.
The official NHS website guidance for staying at home can be found here > https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/self-isolation-advice/
The World Health Organisation have an entire page dedicated to providing information to the public. This can be found here > https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/advice-for-public
Web based courses
We currently offer a small range of blended learning courses, including paediatric first aid, emergency first aid at work (the 1 day course) & first aid at work (the 3 day course). These are undertaken online and then your practical skills are assessed by us face to face. This range of courses will be supplemented shortly with additional blended learning courses and courses that are undertaken 100% online, including family first aid.
Additionally, we are a few days away from releasing an online learning portal where we can deliver training courses to you, real-time, from our training centre directly to your internet equipped device (laptop, tablet, etc). We have the cameras, microphones, lighting and software. All you need is internet access, headphones/speakers, a microphone (not essential) & a keyboard/on-screen keyboard. Your phones, tablets, laptops, etc all have these built in already.
The first courses that we’ll be teaching this way will be those that require either no physical equipment, or those that require the use of equipment that you’re already likely to have at home. Watch this space!
Update – Mar 11th 2020:
Worldwide we’re seeing a massive increase in the numbers of people catching the virus. The good news is that 89% of people who get the virus only have mild symptoms and recover well from the disease (COVID-19). Sadly we’re seeing CFR (casualty fatality rate) figures of 6.2% in Italy currently (https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/). The experts aren’t sure why this figure is so high, when the rest of the world is seeing CFR figures of around 1%. (South Korea is currently 0.78% for example). For comparison, seasonal flu has a typically CFR of 0.1%. The suspicion is that it relates to co-morbidity (ie, those who die already had pre-existing conditions).
For the latest research, facts & figures, I strongly recommend that you watch this video.
If you believe that you may have the virus, please self-isolate at home, away from your family members. Keep to one room, ideally a bedroom with an en-suite bathroom. Ensure that the room is well ventilated & that if you do leave the room, you are wearing a mask to prevent you spreading the virus around your house. Remember, the virus can live for up to 3 days on surfaces and linger in the air for up to 30 minutes (see video above).
With regards to our courses, we will continue to train people for as long as we can. At some point the UK will no-doubt enter lock down in a similar way to China, Italy, etc. When this happens, we will liaise with you over your course booking to agree a way forward, whether that be to defer the course date, to run it online (as several of our courses can be), to run it by video link (the technology exists, so why not use it!), or to cancel the course altogether.
In the meantime, we are implementing the measures as recommended by the Resuscitation Council UK (link) who state:
Guidance for all Training settingshttps://www.resus.org.uk/media/statements/resuscitation-council-uk-statements-on-covid-19-coronavirus-cpr-and-resuscitation/covid-training/
2.1 The main infection risk in a classroom full of learners is contact with other people and/or surfaces rather than the manikin itself. Learners always need to observe a high standard of handwashing, with alcohol gel (or wipes if gel unavailable) provided in addition to handwashing facilities.
2.2 Learners should be reminded to cough/sneeze into a tissue and dispose of this into a bin immediately, washing hands afterwards. Alternatively, coughing/sneezing into the bent elbow if no tissue available.
2.3 Where individuals are exhibiting symptoms typical of flu, a cold or have been in close contact with someone who has the COVID-19 infection then they should exclude themselves from the course. Likewise if an individual has travelled to/from the countries/regions as listed in https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-specified-countries-and-areas/covid-19-specified-countries-and-areas-with-implications-for-returning-travellers-or-visitors-arriving-in-the-uk they should act on the advice dependent on whether they were a category 1 or 2 traveller.
We will be providing tissues & hand cleaning gel alongside our existing manikin wipes. During formal first aid training courses (EFAW/FAW, etc) you will still be required to demonstrate effective rescue breaths. We are reassured that the wipes that we normally use can “kill” the virus (deactivate the RNA (Ribonucleic acid) within the virus) should this be present on the manikins.
Update – Feb 28th 2020:
Currently there are an increasing number of cases worldwide of this virus. The daily increase in numbers of cases in China appears to be reducing according to official figures. As the virus spreads out from China it’s reasonable to assume that the daily increase in worldwide cases will increase. In the UK as in the USA, authorities are saying it’s a matter of when, not if.
The population containment (i.e. stopping people from congregating) that’s being undertaken in China is viewed by the experts as being fundamental in the slowing down of case increases of the disease (COVID-19). There are reports that cities such as Beijing (16.33m population) are basically closed & have been since mid-January. To put this in perspective, the population of London is around half that of Beijing.
On the 10th of February 2020, the UK Government stepped up their response to the disease and have enacted the The Health Protection (Coronavirus) Regulations 2020. This includes provision for the detention and isolation of persons & certainly makes for interesting reading.
The main concern about the virus is not the potential death rate (currently around 1% overall (the 2003 outbreak of Sudden Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) was around 10%)), but that should there be a widespread outbreak of COVID-19 within the UK, the NHS simply wouldn’t have sufficient supplies of medical oxygen, ventilator equipment, bed spaces or medical professionals to be able to cope with those who are “serious” or “critically” ill. This is why the Government is looking to containment of the virus (and by logical extrapolation, the population) so as to spread the infection over a longer time, resulting in a shallower but longer “spike” in infection rates. This could then allow the available resources to be better used to treat a greater number of patients, rather than being overwhelmed by a tsunami of serious and critical patients.
As such, containment makes perfect logical sense, although it will have a dramatic effect on day to day life within the UK. No doubt business and day to day life will find a way to carry on. How this will affect the assessment of need for HS2 is anyone’s guess!
General & Useful Information about Coronavirus.
For current and up to date information please visit the World Health Organisation website & the UK’s Government website. Remember that these are manually updated and you may find newer information via official press releases.
Also, please remember that the number of people who have died as a result of contracting this virus is a very small proportion of those who die as a result of catching flu each year.
So don’t panic. Just take sensible precautions.
You can find a wealth of rational & knowledgable information here.
- CPR during the Covid-19 pandemic.
- Face to Face courses in a post Covid-19 world
- Is your first aid certificate about to expire?
We’ll be updating this blog post as the situation develops in the coming weeks. In the meantime, feel free to leave a comment below.