The pandemic and I. (2)

Partial lockdown

Just now, the French Prime Minister Édouard Philippe has announced live on TV ‘Stage three of the epidemic’, meaning a complete shutdown of non-essential public establishments such as bars, restaurants, shops, discotheques, gyms, and cinemas in the whole of France.

This is now a situation knocking on the same door as measures implemented recently by Italy and Spain – but not a complete lockdown yet, as public transport here in France is yet to be stopped, and churches are still open – though not to services or weddings.

Report – Saturday 14 March

Following on from my last post here health care professionals with children of school age will now no longer be allowed to stay at home to care for their children… the government is ready to implement a ‘skeleton’ service for creche, school, and college pupils so that health care professional parents can continue to work.

A good decision I think. This will ease the burden of losing staff needed to keep the care system going. I am fortunate to live and work in such a sensible country.

However, what baffles me is that the country has decided to still go ahead with its municipal elections tomorrow. What? Why? When the government just announces an almost complete lockdown of the Republic in the attempt to avoid spreading the virus, what logic dictates millions of people standing in lines and entering enclosed spaces to cast a vote?

Surely better to delay the vote?

I imagine many French citizens will be angry about this: “Sure, we can’t go the bar or restaurant because of spreading the virus, but we are still expected to vote, and risk spreading the virus?!?

Some overall positives

  • Good containment measures.
  • Measures implemented to ensure health care professionals have child care so they can continue to work.
  • Supermarkets, pharmacies, newsagents, and public transport still open to the public.
  • Possible decrease in air pollution due to less traffic and industry.

Negatives

  • I feel sorry for those now plunged into worry because their businesses are no longer able to operate. I hope the French government offers many financial packages to support people like this during the pandemic.
  • I hope measures are put into place to limit the panic-buying of goods.

I’m off shopping tomorrow morning – but only for a baguette and a couple of croissants. Should be okay for those at least 🙂

Wash, rinse, repeat:

Remember, the best way to stay germ-free is to wash your hands frequently and correctly…

Post paused briefly as I go and wash my hands…

This is an excellent way to wash your hands correctly. I currently work in the French health care system and have spent years working for the NHS in the UK. The above method is also approved by WHO, and is the one I’ve always used.

Dear readers…

Thank you for your messages of support from my last post. I haven’t got round to acknowledging them fully yet, but reading them cheered me up. You are already fine ambassadors of the above infographic!

I’m not too worried tbh, even now, while France has just gone into almost full lockdown. I believe with everyone playing their part, with patience and understanding, support, coordination, and empathy to those affected, everyone can get through this the world over 🙂

#Belief #BeKind

Again, please be beware of fake news, and any email scams offering advice and info about Coronavirus.

For the most accurate and up to date information regarding all aspects of Coronavirus, go to the World Health Organization website 

Thanks for reading. Until next time, everyone stay safe.


Disclaimer. This report is meant to offer an overview of the fluid impact upon a care worker in the French medical system. No names of any persons or institutions are given, and the reportage here concerns decisions made at a French national level which is available to the public at any time. No breach of confidentiality or professional workplace standards is made or implied. Any health advice stated here is exactly the same as that given by the World Health Oraganization public advice pages 

The pandemic and I

This is a detour post from my usual blogging remit to commentate on the Coronavirus pandemic. As a health care worker in France whose client group is at biggest risk – the elderly – my colleagues and I find ourselves suddenly pushed into unique and worrying challenges in a job which already had significant challenges to begin with.

I work in a multi-disciplinary team at a private French medical retirement home for 70+ elderly people. The residents have a range of pathologies which require around-the-clock care and specialist medical attention. For them, facing the risk of catching Coronavirus is a matter of life and death.

Report – Friday 13 March

Coronavirus. Extraordinary times. As I wrote this last night, the global death toll as caused by Covid-19 has just passed 5,000; President Donald Trump has declared a US state of emergency (after initially branding the epidemic a ‘hoax’; and the World Health Organization says Europe is now the centre of the pandemic.

At work. The situation is so fluid it might be fair to say we need diving equipment as well as PPE (Personal Protective Equipment).

Ten days back, when events (Italy aside) were relatively calm in Europe, our units were given the direction that all personnel and visitors had to wear surgical masks while on the premises. This lasted for only three days. Quite simply, due to the high number of traffic coming in and out of our units, our stock of masks ran out. The problem partially solved itself by the recent decision at French national level to ban all visits to retirement homes by non-professional staff. Still, good luck trying to find a mask right now.

Fortunately, to date, our units remain Coronavirus free. Aside from worrying that anyone might be currently incubating the virus, there is ‘officially’ no need to wear a mask unless you choose to (and if you can find one 😐).

Honestly though, the best way to avoid catching any germs at all is to wash your hands frequently and correctly…

I now pause this post briefly as I go and wash my hands…

This is an excellent way to wash your hands correctly. I currently work in the French health care system and have spent years working for the NHS in the UK. The above method is also approved by WHO, and is the one I’ve always used.

Situation fluidity

In the past week, at a French national level, certain rules have been put into effect: 1) No visitors are allowed into retirement homes except health care professionals (a good decision). 2) School and university closures begin on Monday 16 March (a good decision). 3) Social gatherings are since limited from 1000 to 100 persons (a good decision).

Yesterday, we were given notice that all staff leave is cancelled until further notice, and that all staff (with exception to those who have to care for young children stopping at home due to school closures) needed to make themselves available for cover.

I have one child of school age. My wife is a teacher and has to abide by the same school closure rules, meaning she is available to give care at home to our son, while at the same time now having to perform her job remotely during a period when exams are coming up. The virus is affecting so many people on so many different levels.

For me, I will likely have to adapt my regular shifts and make myself available to cover some of the staff losses. We were given forms to complete stating the age of our children and if we were unable to work due to giving care at home. Worryingly, a good quarter of our staff have young children.

Question: Is it better to keep schools open and work with a full staff, or try and contain the virus by operating school closures and suffer inevitable staff shortages?

I think the school closures is sensible. Even if it means work for many of us is about to become harder.

Happy weekend! 🙂 

I’ve just finished a routine stretch of three 10 hour shifts, and am now enjoying my weekend off. How much longer I will able to enjoy two days off in a row as from next week is going to be subject to an ever-fluid situation; to staff shortages, to planning, to how fast the virus continues to spread, and if it reaches our (so far) safe, little haven.

Dear readers…

Beware of fake news, and any email scams offering advice and info about Coronavirus.

For the most accurate and up to date information regarding all aspects of Coronavirus, go to the World Health Organization website 

Thanks for reading. Until next time, everyone stay safe.


Disclaimer. This report is meant to offer an overview of the fluid impact upon a care worker in the French medical system. No names of any persons or institutions are given, and the reportage here concerns decisions made at a French national level which is available to the public at any time. No breach of confidentiality or professional workplace standards is made or implied. Any health advice stated here is exactly the same as that given by the World Health Oraganization public advice pages