You may be aware, the prevalence of COVID-19 has risen rapidly over the past 2 week. This is due to the emergence of new Omicron subvariants BA.4 and 5.
We therefore plea with patients attending the Practice to wear a Fluid Resistant Surgical Face mask (FRSM) in all clinical and non-clinical areas, with immediate effect, for the foreseeable future.
Clinicians can refuse to consult with patients face to face if they do not engage with the ask and have no medical exemption why they can not wear one.
UKHSA’s latest analysis suggests that Omicron BA.5 is growing 35.1% faster than Omicron BA.2, while Omicron BA.4 is growing approximately 19.1% faster. This suggests that BA.5 is likely to become or already has become the dominant COVID-19 variant in the UK.
In clinical practice, we are seeing more symptomatic patients being admitted to hospitals and clusters of cases across social, community and acute care. Clinical presentation has changed and whilst we are not seeing the severe pneumonitis associated with COVID-19 in earlier waves, we are seeing more significant disease with Omicron BA.4&5, particularly affecting the lower respiratory tract with new oxygen requirement.
Whilst we recognise that the majority of transmission will be occurring within the community rather than healthcare premises, the re-introduction of masks will reduce the risk of acquisition whilst at work and may protect the resilience of the workforce at a critical time.