Shielding Letters: Q&A

Here we answer some questions on shielding letters and how they work. We will add to this as, and when, new information becomes available.

[This piece is part of the COVID-19 Information Dissemination (COVID-19 ID) Project — a partnership between Community Development and Health Network (CDHN) and FactCheckNI. Its aim is to improve people’s health literacy about COVID-19 by providing accurate and up-to-date information, which will increase knowledge, understanding and confidence and enable people to make good health decisions. FactCheckNI have also produced a live an article explaining what shielding letters are; who should have received them; and who sends them – you can find it here.] Continue reading Shielding Letters: Q&A

What are shielding letters?

This article explains what the shielding letters are; who should have received them; and who sends them.

[This article is part of the COVID-19 Information Dissemination (COVID-19 ID) Project — a partnership between Community Development and Health Network (CDHN) and FactCheckNI. Its aim is to improve people’s health literacy about COVID-19 by providing accurate and up-to-date information which will increase knowledge, understanding and confidence and enable people to make good health decisions. FactCheckNI have also produced a live Q&A article on shielding letters. It will be updated as and when new information becomes available – you can find it here.]

Summary

    • A ‘shielding letter’ is to inform those that they should comply with stricter stay at home restrictions in order to protect themselves from COVID-19.
    • GP Practices were provided with a search tool by the Health and Social Care Board (HSCB) to aid them in identifying those patients who were the “clinically extremely vulnerable”. GPs were also asked to use their clinical judgement as to who should receive a shielding letter based on the criteria listed. The guidance issued is advisory for the patient’s health, but the UK government advises that if you choose not to follow these regulations, to speak with your GP before reaching the decision.
    • The Department of Health is working closely with Community Pharmacists and Community Health Development Network to ensure that those who are in need of medicines and are ‘shielding’ can avail of pharmacy deliveries.
    • Guidance on shielding for people at potentially higher risk from COVID-19 is being actively reviewed.

Continue reading What are shielding letters?

Did 62 more people contract COVID-19 in care homes, before dying in hospital?

CLAIM: Of the 353 COVID-19 deaths in hospitals in Northern Ireland, 62 people contracted the virus in a care home and were transferred to a hospital before dying.

CONCLUSION: UNSUBSTANTIATED. The death certificates of 62 people who died in hospital mention COVID-19 and give a normal residence address of a care home. However, there is no data to indicate where or when they contracted COVID-19.
Continue reading Did 62 more people contract COVID-19 in care homes, before dying in hospital?

Was Northern Ireland COVID-19 testing at a rate 10 times Scotland’s?

UPDATE: On 19 May 2020, the following claim was revised by Guido Fawkes. We have published an addendum to our article.

CLAIM: Northern Ireland was testing for COVID-19 at a rate 10 times that of Scotland, reported on 9 May 2020.

CONCLUSION: INACCURATE. Northern Ireland’s test rate for the day of 8 May 2020 was about three-quarters (80%) that of Scotland.

On 11 May 2020, the blog website Guido Fawkes published an article, “How the four nations compare on Covid”, in which it claimed: “Using data from the regional public health authorities published on May 9, it would seem that Northern Ireland is way ahead of the other regions, it was testing at 10 times the rate of Scotland, which is testing at the lowest rate.”

Continue reading Was Northern Ireland COVID-19 testing at a rate 10 times Scotland’s?

What is Northern Ireland’s COVID-19 recovery plan?

This article explains the Northern Ireland Executive’s COVID-19 recovery plan.

[It is part of the COVID-19 Information Dissemination (COVID-19 ID) Project — a partnership between Community Development and Health Network (CDHN) and FactCheckNI. Its aim is to improve people’s health literacy about COVID-19 by providing accurate and up-to-date information which will increase knowledge, understanding and confidence and enable people to make good health decisions.]

Northern Ireland’s COVID-19 recovery plan

On 12 May 2020, the Northern Ireland Executive launched their COVID-19 recovery plan, Coronavirus: Our Approach to Decision Making.

The document outlines a roadmap for relaxing COVID-19 related restrictions in Northern Ireland.

At the end of April, FactCheckNI published an explainer article about the existing ‘lockdown’ rules for Northern Ireland.

What are the new guidelines?

Many of the previous regulations remain in place. However, the new document outlines five steps in each sector for easing restrictions. Most, but not all of step 1 relaxations, across all sectors, have been announced on a case by case basis since the plan was published. The main phases in each sector are: Continue reading What is Northern Ireland’s COVID-19 recovery plan?

What are the rules of lockdown in Northern Ireland?

This article explains what the rules of “lockdown” during COVID-19 are in Northern Ireland.

[This article is part of the COVID-19 Information Dissemination (COVID-19 ID) Project — a partnership between Community Development and Health Network (CDHN) and FactCheckNI. Its aim is to improve people’s health literacy about COVID-19 by providing accurate and up-to-date information which will increase knowledge, understanding and confidence and enable people to make good health decisions.]

Summary

Northern Ireland is currently under ‘lockdown’ since 23 March with citizens practicing social distancing to contain the spread of COVID-19. All citizens must stay at home unless they have a reasonable excuse or necessity for leaving.

    • Legislation was enacted on 28 March which governs enforcement by the PSNI.
    • Legislation was amended on Friday 24 April to include the opening of cemeteries and to allow for short distances travelled to safe places or facilities for exercise.
    • As of 25 April 2020, since lockdown began the PSNI has issued 570 cautions and 358 penalty fines (00:45).
    • The Irish Government have introduced ‘stay at home’ measures until 5 May with travel for exercise restricted to a 2km radius from the residence.

Continue reading What are the rules of lockdown in Northern Ireland?