Steve Brown, our Director of Public Health Devon, was asked this week about working from home and whether a return to it, as outlined in the government’s Plan B, (Winter Plan), would help drive down the case rate in Devon.
The Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies, (Sage), said last week that there’s ‘potential for another large wave of hospitalisations‘.
Advisors to the group said that increasing cases of the virus remain the earliest warning sign that hospital admissions also likely to rise.
They also said that a high level of homeworking has been important in helping to contain cases, and that a significant decrease in homeworking in the next few months would result in a rapid increase in hospital admissions.
Since restrictions lifted in July, people are no longer asked to work from home, and businesses have been expected to manage risks to staff and customers.
But many organisations, Devon County Council included, have maintained that their staff whose job roles allow it can continue to work from home.
“Being airborne, coronavirus thrives on social contact,” explains Steve Brown. “And working from home instead of the office has done a lot to reduce social contact.
“As a measure, working from home has been discussed this week as part of the government’s Plan B, to be reintroduced should circumstances demand it.
“I would certainly encourage it, and for employees whose employers allow it now, I recommend doing it whenever you can and for the foreseeable future.
“But we should all now act cautiously. Case numbers in Devon have fallen, but we expect them to rise again.
“Vaccine take-up when it’s offered to you; regular lateral flow testing for those without symptoms, and PCR testing for those with symptoms; self-isolating if you test positive; wearing face covering in crowded locations; minimising close contact; good ventilation indoors; and hand hygiene – these should all be engrained in our minds.
“Please continue to do your bit.”