Winter Forest
Coronavirus, News

CQC outlines plans to monitor Infection Prevention and Control over winter

by CQC

Our infection prevention and control (IPC) inspections are already being rolled out across care locations in England and we will share the results of those inspections on our website in a simple and easy to access layout so that the public can be assured across a number of key criteria that a care location has an effective approach to infection prevention control. Over 400 IPC inspections reports have now been published on our website and from today the public will be able to have an accessible overview. In our IPC inspections we look to see that:

  • Adequate PPE is available for staff and residents to control infection safely
  • Staff are properly trained to deal with outbreaks and the proper procedures are in place
  • Shielding and social distancing are being complied with
  • The layout of premises, use of space and hygiene practice promote safety.


Red Blood Cells Flowing Through Vein
Coronavirus, News

Switching to lower carbon devices has the potential to reduce medicine costs

by Briain Kelly

Sepsis is a life-threatening condition and can occur when the body develops an infection which then affects the organs such as the heart, lungs, brain and kidneys.

It affects approximately 15,000 people in Ireland each year and can prove fatal if not treated quickly.

“Sepsis is a common time-dependent medical emergency which can affect a person of any age and can strike irrespective of underlying good health or medical conditions.,” said Helen Donovan, Sepsis Lead at Galway University Hospitals.


Coronavirus Vaccine
Coronavirus, News

North of England could face lockdown

Boris Johnson is considering putting the North on lockdown to deal with rising coronavirus infections, it’s claimed.

Reports say the Prime Minister is mulling his options as cases skyrocket in parts of England, with local lockdowns appearing to fail to stop it.

Mr Johnson is facing growing criticism on all sides for his handling of the pandemic, with many claiming rules are either ineffective or too complicated to keep track of.

It comes as the UK recorded another huge number of infections on Tuesday, with 12,594 more positive results bringing the nation’s total to around 530,000.

World Health Organisation hopes vaccine may be ready ‘by the end of this year’

A vaccine against COVID-19 may be ready by year-end, World Health Organisation Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Tuesday.

“We will need vaccines and there is hope that by the end of this year we may have a vaccine. There is hope,” Tedros said in final remarks to the WHO’s Executive Board, without elaborating.

Nine experimental vaccines are in the pipeline of the WHO’s COVAX global vaccine facility that aims to distribute 2 billion doses by the end of 2021.


Coronavirus, News

Manchester now has highest coronavirus infection rate in the country – with positive tests doubling in a week

Graph illustrating how much Coronavirus cases have rose in the last 7 days

Manchester is the country’s coronavirus hotspot as new data shows it has the highest infection rate of any area in England.

Figures released by Public Health England show the 7-day rate in Manchester, has reached 495.6 cases per 100,000 population for the week ending on October 1.

The new high came as infection rates in every Greater Manchester borough were revised upwards after a government computer glitch meant thousands of positive test results were missed.

Public Health England said nearly 16,000 cases – which had not been reported over the previous ten days – had been added to the official data over the weekend.

Although all those who had positive tests were notified, it has been reported that the computer error may have led to delays in the test and trace system.

The glitch also means that local authorities in Greater Manchester – and the public – have not been aware of the true level of infections over the past ten days.

Coronavirus, News

Long COVID: How to define it and how to manage it

Nick Peters added to this definition by highlighting a “distinction between very sick people who have recovered to an extent and [and have been] left with some impact of their severe sickness, versus those who had a relatively mild sickness from the start, in whom it is ongoing.”

Alwan described the fluctuations of her own illness: “It’s a constant cycle of disappointment, not just to you but people around you, who really want you to recover.”

Paul Garner, who also has long covid, described it as a “very bizarre disease” that had left him feeling “repeatedly battered the first two months” and then experiencing lesser episodes in the subsequent four months with continual fatigue. “Navigating help is really difficult,” he said.

Tim Spector said that his team at the Covid Symptom Study had identified six clusters of symptoms for covid-19,1 a couple of which were associated with longer term symptoms, indicating a possible way of predicting early on what might occur. “If you’ve got a persistent cough, hoarse voice, headache, diarrhoea, skipping meals, and shortness of breath in the first week, you are two to three times more likely to get longer term symptoms,” he said.

He said that patterns in the team’s data suggested that long COVID was about twice as common in women as in men and that the average age of someone presenting with it was about four years older than people who had what might be termed as “short COVID.”

Source: The BMJ

Coronavirus, News

UK’s Covid-19 infections ‘almost 10 times official level’, says former WHO director as curfews loom

Covid Test
Covid Test

Britain’s coronavirus infection rate could be almost 10 times worse than official figures show, a world health expert has warned.

There were 3,991 new cases confirmed on Wednesday, about 50 per cent more than a week ago. At the height of the pandemic in April the numbers peaked at between 6,000-7,000.

Antony Costello, a former director at the World Health Organisation, spoke out as new local lockdown measures are expected for England’s north east and new restrictions to close restaurants early are considered.

“I’m hearing from a well-connected person that government now thinks, in absence of testing, there are 38,000 infections per day,” he tweeted.

Initially, he tweeted that Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty is advising a new two-week national lockdown but he later stepped back that comment.

Publicly, government leaders are not speaking about a second lockdown but they are talking about ways to reduce the rising number of new cases.

But Prime Minister Boris Johnson said a rise in deaths would follow the infection spike. He also said tough action was needed now to avoid a second wave and to save Christmas from lockdowns.

If coronavirus is allowed to rip across the country it will kill “an awful lot of people”, he warned.

In the north-east, about two million people live in the area being considered for a local lockdown that could be in place as early as today.


Coronavirus, News

Information about molecular shape of viruses that cause COVID-19, SARS, and MERS reveals structural similarities

Molecular structure of the papain-like enzyme known as PLPro. This enzyme allows the viruses that cause SARS, MERS, and COVID-19 to infect cells and replicate and suppress the host’s immune function. Now that the enzyme structure is known in detail, new antiviral drugs can be designed. Credit: Jack Henderson, University of Maryland School of Pharmacy

COVID-19 is known to be caused by a virus called SARS-CoV-2, which is similar in structure to two other viruses that have caused recent outbreaks. SARS-CoV, which caused an outbreak of SARS in 2003, and MERS-CoV, the cause of a 2012 outbreak of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome.

In the Journal of Chemical Physics, scientists from the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy report molecular-level investigations of these three viruses, providing a possible pathway to new antiviral drugs to fight all three diseases. At the present time, no effective treatment or drugs exist for any of these coronavirus diseases.

The investigators looked at a viral protein that plays a key role in the ability of the virus to replicate itself once inside the body. This protein also plays a role in defeating the host’s immune system, so it provides a particularly attractive target for potential drug treatments.

The protein, an enzyme known as the papainlike protease, PLPro, is nearly identical in SARS-CoV-2 and SARS-CoV but is slightly different in MERS-CoV. Very recently, the first structural X-ray of this enzyme revealed a shape in the catalytic domain somewhat like a hand with a “thumb,” “palm,” and “fingers.”


Coronavirus, News

Coronavirus Has Made Touchless Restrooms a Must

As more commercial and institutional spaces begin to reopen around the country, health experts have repeatedly warned of the potential dangers of sharing close quarters with others, which has encouraged renewed questions regarding the safety of public restrooms. Commercial restrooms have often been approached from a strictly utilitarian perspective, starkly designed and commonly lacking the space required to develop the programming necessary for privacy, cleanliness, and comfort –– not to mention, the complexities associated with gendered restrooms, which have long been the subject of debate. Facility managers now face the daunting task of keeping these restrooms clean and safe through short-term and long-term changes to their design and maintenance.  

touchfree restroom
Automated technologies are easy to retrofit into a current space, offering quick and easy hands-free alternatives to improve hygiene and minimize the number of surfaces people come into contact with.

Convenience and durability were once the two most important considerations in restroom design, according to Patrick Ventker, team principal, and Rachel Robinson, design director, of Ted Moudis Associates, an architectural interiors firm headquartered in New York City.

“Now, user health and wellbeing have become equally important, touching as few surfaces as possible and ensuring the ability to deep clean those surfaces,” Robinson says.


Coronavirus, News

Greater Manchester hospitals ‘first in the country’ to employ dedicated Covid-19 safety officers

Hospitals in Greater Manchester have employed dedicated Covid-19 safety officers.

They are believed to be the first such NHS staff in the country.

The 24 new recruits will work to ensure Northern Care Alliance hospitals inlcuding Fairfield in Bury, Salford Royal, Rochdale Infirmary and Oldham Royal meet stringent infection prevention measures.

Their jobs will include helping doctors, nurses and other clinical teams put on and take off their PPE correctly and ensuring public, patients, visitors and staff adhere to the hospitals’ coronavirus prevention measures.

They’ll also advise staff on hand washing, support social distancing and advise on the correct use of face masks.

Mark O’Leary, a furloughed cabin crew member at Virgin Atlantic, has been recruited as the infection prevention and control safety officer at The Royal Oldham Hospital.

The 36-year-old said: “It’s a great honour to be one of the first of a new breed of hospital infection prevention and control safety officers.

“I am excited to be using my background in safety, all be it in a different sector, to help fight covid and keep hospitals safe for patients, staff and the public.”

Coronavirus, News

What to Know about Germicidal Lighting and Coronavirus

Being able to eradicate the SARS-CoV-2 virus at the flip of a switch is about as attractive a concept as they come. UVGI (ultraviolet germicidal irradiation) technology, chiefly UV-C, has a proven record at killing or deactivating a variety of pathogens. And the technologies which can emit these wavelengths have been used in facilities for decades. However, facility managers must still be judicious in selecting and applying the UVGI technology in their facility for a variety of factors, including achieving maximum efficacy while reducing harm to facility occupants, and the facility itself.

There is a range of wavelengths which can kill or deactivate pathogens. The more potent effect is found in the UV-C range, but all UV and even some blue light has a degree of germicidal effect. Understanding that is one of the first steps of being an educated consumer of germicidal technologies. To begin with “germicidal” just means it kills microscopic pathogens. Whether it kills the tiny thing you’re interested in killing depends. For example, radiation in the 405 nm range creates a creepy blue glow and also deactivates bacteria, spores, and microbes. It’s used primarily in unoccupied healthcare settings, to combat hospital acquired infections. But it has no impact on viruses.

The Earth’s ozone layer blocks the UV-C radiation coming from the sun, but it can be emitted by four lamp technologies. Pulsed xenon lamps put out a boatload of UV-C as well as visible light, but they are expensive and not commonly used, says Robert Karlicek, director of the Center for Lighting Enabled Systems & Applications at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Mercury vapor lamps are commonly used in commercial facilities, in everything from HVAC coil defouling, to sanitizing air in ducts or through upper room disinfection fixtures, to disinfecting surfaces in rooms via robots. UV-C LEDs have a longer wavelength (265 to 280 nm versus the 254 nm of mercury vapor), and they are not as effective or powerful, says Karlicek, but they’re really good at disinfecting in enclosed spaces, like a cabinet for cleaning tools or devices. Lastly, there are lamps being developed that emit in the 222 nm range, colloquially called “far UV,” though UV purists are not fans of the term, Karlicek says.–18994