Novel Coronavirus - Covid19

This page was created by using information that was available for use on the 30th of March 2020; as of this date, this information is accurate to this day. HCA & Carers Ireland may update this page as new developments are found regarding COVID-19.

Ireland Now has Entered the Delay Phase - Delaying Infection Spread;

Risk of infection is STILL LOW (If You Carry Out Simple Precautions)

Education & Cultural Areas are closing for Prevention to stop cases being Spread to them and to others!

All non-essential workers have been asked to stay at home with punishment for those who go against guidelines. 

This is for the nations public health benefit! Less close contacts mean less spread.


The information explained below has been written in the easiest to understand manner which should assist HCAs and Carers regarding their health literacy and knowledge about said Virus.


A Contact: A person who may pick up the virus from an active case

CDC:  American Centres for Disease Control and Prevention

Contact Tracing: A method carried out to find people who were in close contact with an active case.

Covid 19: The New Virus subtype 

DoH: Irish Department of Health

ECDC: European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control

Epidemic: Widespread occurrence of an infectious disease in a community at a particular time frame.

Epidemiology: A part of Public Health Medicine; the Science of Epidemics usually in infectious disease and chronic disease.

HPSC: Health Protection Surveillance Centre (Ireland)

IMC: Irish Medical Council

Novel: Similar but different to another thing

Pandemic: Worldwide Infection (This term issued rather carefully, an outbreak in an entire country or the world

Public Health Medicine (PHM): A Speciality of Medicine which looks at population health

RCPI: Royal College of Physicians (Ireland)

Self-Isolation: To Isolate yourself at home; have no human contact with another human to stop the possible spread

WHO: World Health Organisation

What is Coronavirus?

Coronavirus a condition from the virus family; Coronavirus is a family within itself as there are many different kinds of strains some will be mild; giving the patient the signs and symptoms of a simple cold; while other more virulent strains are less mild and present with a variety of signs and symptoms. Usually involving the lungs. The name comes from its microscopic appearance Corona meaning crown

SARS Outbreak (2003) and MERS Outbreak (2012) were both Coronaviruses.

What is COVID-19?

COVID-19  is a NOVEL Coronavirus meaning its new, but belongs to the already known family of Coronaviruses. It is a new condition which can affect the lungs and airways.

Signs and Symptoms include: > A Cough > Shortness of Breath > Breathing Difficulties > Fever (High Temperature)

How does it spread?

COVID-19 is spread by droplet contact; the same process in which influenza is spread. When an infected patient who is infectious sneezes; coughs particles of the infectious virus is freed in droplet form which needs to land on a new host to live. Contact with bodily fluids are also infectious too which include Sputum, Phlem and other bodily fluids (depends on the severity of case)

WHO has confirmed that Covid-19 is a pandemic, But do not panic too much as this just explains that the world has had so many cases, calling something a pandemic does not relate to its mortality (how quickly it can kill a population. In Ireland, we only have localised epidemics, the country is not in pandemic mode.

COVID-19 is spread by droplet contact; if others come into direct contact with an infected patient's droplets for a specific time they may be at risk of developing the condition

Medical form with stethoscope

COVID-19 Case Definition has been updated: Symptoms of new onset fever of 38 degrees or more, or chills and/or symptoms of respiratory tract infections including cough will be considered when assessing the requirement for testing.

What can you (a HCA/Carer) do?
What is being done in Ireland?

The Republic of Ireland response:

January : Emergency Response Committee formed with experts in Infectious Disease, Public Health Medicine, Epidemiology, HSE, DoH & HPSC.

The Emergency response Committee used effective planning to carry out already specified guidelines as set out by the World Health Organisation and European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control.

Having bed space available in Specialist Infectious disease wards which involve single rooms set at negative pressure* for possible cases; informing healthcare workers like other doctors, nurses and other allied healthcare professionals on what to look out for how to treat and manage infected patients. Quarantine regulations and treatment strategies are planned. 

Planning put in place to utilise Public Health Medical Doctors; Specialists in Public health medicine who have attained higher specialist training via RCPI to be the best in knowledge, skill and practice to deal with this special area of human health - population health.

*Negative pressure is used as it generally reduces/stops spread of droplets by safely removing/sucking out infected air (containing microscopic droplets) safely without infecting others. 


What is Contact Tracing?

Many will / have been involved in contact tracing which is the skill of finding out who came into direct contact with an active case of the COVID19, who may have been contagious for a time. PHM Doctors track and trace possibly infected people to find cases early, prevent future exposure and ensure that the person is getting the care they need. Patient Identities should be kept secret the same as any other patient in any other situation. Contact Tracing relies on infected people telling professionals there is something wrong we cannot cause victimisation of cases, which results in fewer patients reporting which can increase the spread of the disease; this happens in countries with poor public health infrastructure. In such a small country where everyone has a link to the next person keeping identities safe is very important no one wants their personal information released in public. EU laws protect this and if found to have broken said laws one may be liable.

Contacts of Contacts are not at risk

How do we test it ?

COVID-19 is tested by taking an oral and nasal swab (the same swab as they are both the same system). Which is tested in what's called a PCR test - which means an assay are tested. Essentially it tests for the presence of a viral load ie. how many viruses (Covid-19s) is in a sample. Some tests, when taken early, will be false negative as some people can be symptomatic but have a weak viral load while some will have a high viral load but no symptoms. We test for the presence of the virus and use the treatment below. If a patient is in a hospital the person is said to be over the infection when 2 consecutive tests on different days come back negative.


Healthcare Workers get priority in the testing if they are Symptomatic or have been a close contact with an active case.

Treat these coming weeks as you usually would;

IF you are caring for an infected patient or a contact of a case

  • Practice Droplet Spread Precautions AS you Already do for Influenza

  • Wear your Personal Protection Equipment PPE

  1. surgical face mask

  2. face shield or goggles

  3. clean, non-sterile, disposable long-sleeved gown - if this is not available, wear a plastic apron and roll up sleeves

  4. gloves

  • Wash your Hands .... Properly 

  • Use Alcohol Gel (at least 70%  strength to kill viruses)

What can you (a HCA/Carer) in the community/homecare do?

Treat these coming weeks as you usually would;

IF you suspect your client may be presenting signs and symptoms as shown above; Contact your Manager, explain the situation then contact the patients' GP (RING them DO NOT BRING THEM TO THE GP)

  • Practice Droplet Spread Precautions AS you Already do for Influenza

  • Wear your Personal Protection Equipment PPE

  1. surgical face mask

  2. face shield or goggles

  3. clean, non-sterile, disposable long-sleeved gown - if this is not available, wear a plastic apron and roll up sleeves

  4. gloves

  • Wash your Hands .... Properly 

  • Use Alcohol Gel (at least 70%  strength to kill viruses)

UPDATE 08/03/2020
As things are evolving with regards to #Coronavirus the advice now is that
Please DO NOT attend your Doctor
with Respiratory symptoms
Your GP will advise you over the phone
(IMC, Dr. Rita Doyle)
Obviously do what public health nurses tell you same applies to GP, PHM Doctors, Line Managers and State Authorities.
We Work as a Team for a Reason
What is the treatment?

COVID-19 is treated with supportive care ie. controlling symptoms and constant hydration due to the fluid loss caused by Fever. This allows your immune system to fight the virus.

Antibiotics CANNOT be used! as this is a Virus not Bacteria


Antivirals are being Trialled currently with some promising results; antivirals being tested are drugs already in use for other viruses linked into the same family of viruses (other coronaviruses like MERS and SARS)


Vaccine for Covid-19 is also in development but will take one year to a year and a half before it would be safe for the general population. Vaccines have to be rigorously tested in trials check HPRA for more information on how vaccines are checked.

Furthur Information
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