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The University is closed until further notice.

Health

Guidance for staff and students if you receive or suspect a positive diagnosis of COVID-19

1. If you have received a positive diagnosis of COVID-19 from the HSE:

  • Please follow the advice given to you by the HSE.

2. If you develop COVID-19 symptoms:

3. If you have been in close contact* in the last 14 days with someone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19, but don’t have COVID-19 symptoms:

  • Follow HSE guidelines on restricting your movements.
  • If you develop COVID-19 symptoms follow Step 2 above.
  • *Close contact means you have been within 2 metres of a diagnosed person for more than 15 minutes of face-to-face contact

Symptoms of COVID-19

It can take up to 14 days for the symptoms of Covid-19/Coronavirus to appear. They can be similar to those of a regular cold/flu. The most common symptoms are:

  • Fever (High temperature, of 38C or above)
  • Cough (this can be any kind of cough, not just dry)
  • Shortness of Breath/Breathing difficulties
  • Loss or change in your sense of Smell or Taste (i.e. that you’ve noticed you cannot smell/taste anything, or things smell/taste different to normal)

The National Public Health Emergency Team has advised anyone who has symptoms to self-isolate for 14 days.

If you develop symptoms you will need to self-isolate and phone your GP. Do not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital. The GP will assess you over the phone. If they think you need to be tested for coronavirus, they will arrange a test.

Compare symptoms of coronavirus, flu and cold on the HSE website.

Treatment of coronavirus COVID-19

There is no specific treatment for coronavirus. But many of the symptoms of the virus can be treated. 

See medical advice on the HSE website.

Drink plenty of water. Paracetamol or ibuprofen may help with symptoms such as pain or fever. Paracetamol is usually recommended as the first-line treatment for most people. Before taking any medication you should read the full package leaflet that comes with your medicine. You should also follow any advice a healthcare professional gives you.

If you get the virus, your healthcare professional will advise treatment based on your symptoms.

Antibiotics do not work against coronavirus or any viruses. They only work against bacterial infections.

Supportive treatments, like oxygen therapy, can be given while your own body fights the virus. Life support can be used in extreme cases.

Concerned about coronavirus COVID-19?

If you are concerned about your health, follow the three steps below:

  1. Public Health Advice: Read the latest advice from the HSE below or on www.hse.ie to establish the risk.
  2. GP / HSELive: If you are still concerned about your health based on the HSE advice, phone your GP for the advice or the HSELive helpline on 1850 24 1850.
  3. College Office / Line Manager: If a doctor instructs you to self-isolate, students should update their School Office and staff should update their Line Manager via email.
  4. Remote access: For advice on how to access University web services remotely, please visit our Remote Access to IT Services webpage

At-risk groups and coronavirus COVID-19

Coronavirus (COVID-19) is a new virus. We are still learning how it works. 

There are some groups of people who may be more at risk of serious illness if they catch coronavirus. But we do not think these groups have a higher risk of catching coronavirus. This is similar to other infections such as flu.

You are more at risk of serious illness if you catch coronavirus and you:

  • are 60 years of age and over
  • have a long-term medical condition – for example, heart disease, lung disease, high blood pressure, diabetes or cancer
  • are pregnant

See medical advice on the HSE website.

Self-isolation

Self-isolation means staying indoors and completely avoiding contact with other people. You will need to do this if you have symptoms of coronavirus. This is to stop other people from getting it.

You will need to self-isolate:

  • if you have symptoms of coronavirus
  • before you get tested for coronavirus
  • while you wait for test results
  • if you have had a positive test result for coronavirus

To self-isolate:

  • Stay at home or in your hotel in a room on your own with a phone.
  • Do not go to work, school, religious services or public areas.
  • Do not use public transport or taxis.
  • Avoid having visitors to your home.

It is important to keep away from older people, those with long-term medical conditions or pregnant women.

Remote access: For advice on how to access University web services remotely, please visit our Remote Access to IT Services webpage

For here for more information on Self-Isolation. 

How to protect yourself from COVID-19

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water.
  • If you are coughing or sneezing, cover your mouth and nose with a tissue. Throw the used tissue away into a closed bin, and wash your hands. If you don’t have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your flexed (bent) elbow.
  • Avoid close contact with anyone who you know has cold or flu symptoms.
  • Check the travel advisories from the Department of Foreign Affairs prior to arranging travel abroad.

Community Welfare

Our top priority is the health and safety of our students and staff, and our collective welfare as a university community. Based on our core value of respect for others, we reject prejudicial behaviour and stigma shown towards individual groups in our community.

Cleaning and Hygiene

NEW How do I procure PPE for my School / Unit?

The Procurement Office has established a centralised contract for the purchase of PPE. The centralised contract was awarded to 11 suppliers and defined under three lots as follows:

  • Lot 1 Face Coverings - Face masks, surgical masks and face shields.
  • Lot 2 Sanitisers - Sanitiser dispensers and hand sanitisers.
  • Lot 3 Disinfectants - Disposable wipes, sprays and dilutable disinfectants. 

Full details are of the centralised contract, and which suppliers were awarded each lot, can be found on the Procurement website: www.nuigalway.ie/procurement. See email from Ann Melia for remote access details.

It is our intention to continue to source these types of items for the short term until the Department of Education tendering exercise is complete.

University Cleaning and Disinfecting Protocols

Reducing the risk of exposure to COVID-19 by cleaning and disinfection is an important aspect of reopening our campus. It is important to understand the difference between cleaning and disinfecting.

Cleaning removes germs and dust by using detergents or soap and water to physically remove germs from surfaces. This process does not necessarily kill germs, but by removing them, it lowers the risk of spreading infection.

Disinfecting kills germs on surfaces or objects by using chemicals, and also lowers the risk of spreading infection.

There is detailed information on the University's cleaning protocols, roles and responsibilities at:

  Cleaning in a COVID-19 Environment

Good Personal Hygiene

Across the University, staff, students, visitors and contractors are expected to maintain responsible personal hygiene. Hands should be washed frequently, faces should be covered when sneezing or coughing, and individuals should not come to campus if they are sick. Limiting the touching of shared surfaces reduces the spread of the virus. To encourage good personal hygiene, units should post signage related to good personal hygiene. Signs encouraging good personal hygiene can be ordered via Buildings and Estates.

Toilet facilities and kitchen areas are equipped with hand soap. Hand sanitizer stations are also available in areas with heavy traffic (i.e., lobbies/atriums and at the major circulations points on each floor).

Wash your hands when entering and leaving NUI Galway campus buildings. Remember hand gels with at least 60% alcohol content are available to be used in the major circulation spaces in each building.

Washing Your Hands

  • Wash your hands frequently.
  • When sneezing, sneeze into a tissue, throw the tissue away, and then wash your hands; if you don’t have a tissue available, sneeze into the inside of your elbow.
  • To properly wash your hands, follow these 5 steps:
    1. Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold), turn off the tap, and apply soap.
    2. Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap. Lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.
    3. Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. If you need a timer, hum the “Happy Birthday” song from beginning to end twice.
    4. Rinse your hands well under clean, running water.
    5. Dry your hands using the hand dryers or air-dry them.

Sanitising Your Hands

  • Washing hands with soap and water is the best way to get rid of germs in most situations. If soap and water are not readily available, you can use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
  • To properly use hand sanitizer, follow these 3 steps:
    1. Apply the sanitizer to the palm of one hand.
    2. Rub your hands together.
    3. Rub the sanitizer over all the surfaces of your hands and fingers until your hands are dry, which should take about 20 seconds.

Using Gloves

As the COVID-19 virus cannot enter your body through your skin, gloves provide no additional protection. Additionally, gloves often create a false sense of security, people are more likely to touch contaminated surfaces while wearing them, people are less inclined to wash hands frequently while wearing gloves, and gloves must be properly removed to prevent exposure to any bacteria or viruses on the gloves.  If you choose to wear gloves please ensure that you clearly understand and follow safe glove etiquette.

Public areas and Circulation Spaces - Touchpoint Protocol

Touchpoints such as door handles, door push, handrails, buttons etc. are the main risk, as numerous individuals come into contact with them on a daily basis. A touchpoint protocol has been developed to reduce the spread of Covid-19 through contact with surfaces whether physical or transmitted onto the surface through the air by coughing or sneezing. A new sanitisation cleaning service has commenced to ensure all of these surfaces are cleaned at least twice per day. Cleaning chemicals with an EN14476 rating will be used on these surfaces to ensure any traces of Covid-19 are removed.

Touchpoint Examples:

  • Door Handles - Door Push / Pull - Access Control Keypads
  • Toilet Flushes and Surfaces - Sinks and Surfaces - Taps
  • Handrails and Bannisters - Light Switches - AV / AirCon Control Panels

Office Cleaning

All employees should keep a clear desk to enable thorough cleaning of work surfaces. Employees should regularly wipe down their personal work areas and frequently touched objects with sanitising wipes (i.e., workstations/desks, keyboards and telephones). If your desk is not clear, the cleaners will not attempt to clean it.

Where a case of Covid-19 is confirmed in an office, a deep clean will be required and all items on the desk will be exposed to chemicals used to clean and fumigate the office. Buildings and Estates will not take any responsibility for any damage to items as a result of people not maintaining a clear desk.

Shared Printers/ Photocopiers are a risk in an office setting, as numerous individuals come into contact with them on a daily basis. Each unit should decide the most appropriate way to reduce such risks from undertaking your own touchpoint sanitisation practices to reducing the number of staff who have contact with this type of equipment.

Deep Cleaning after suspected Case of COVID-19

Should a Staff/Student/Visitor test positive for Covid-19 Buildings and Estates will arrange the decontamination of spaces the individual occupied on campus using ionised hydrogen peroxide (iHP) and pre-qualified mobile bio-decontamination equipment which is set up on a temporary basis to undertake a high level disinfection anti-microbial gassing process. Hydrogen Peroxide (“H2O2”) 10% w/w disinfection solution is aerosolised, ionised and distributed within the room(s) to be bio-decontaminated by an ultrasonic nozzle and/or oscillating stirring fans. Following a set gas injection cycle, the H2O2 is left for a 1-hour contact time after which any residual H2O2 is removed from the room, to below the Work Exposure Limit (WEL) by purging H202 vapour from the enclosure utilising the room’s ventilation system, or by creating a natural draft.

Toilet Cleaning

Toilets are areas where people will come into close contact with others at sinks and hand driers etc. For this reason the number of people permitted to enter the toilets will vary from facility to facility depending on the size. The number of people permitted into a toilet facility will be limited to either 1 or 2 people, this number will be displayed on the door to the toilet facilities, please ensure you take note of this number before entering the toilet and exit again immediately to queue outside if the maximum number of people are already present.

Cleaning operatives will sanitise the toilets on an increased schedule. When cleaning is in progress, it MUST be understood the toilets are closed for use. Please respect this and do not enter the toilets while the cleaners are present, if people do not abide by this condition they will be reported to their local C-19 Coordinator for further action.

Kitchens / Kitchenette Cleaning

All kitchens and kitchenettes on campus are currently off limits. Please do not attempt to use these facilities until such time as the advice from UMT changes.

Student Health Unit

Is the Student Health Unit open to students?

Yes, the Student Health Unit does still continue to operate, albeit in a very different manner to what students would have been previously familiar with. The changes in how our service now operates are in line with Public Health advice and guidance, and are necessary in order for us to reduce the risk of any potential COVID-19 virus transmission among all our students and staff.

Key changes to our service:

There is no longer any 'walk-in' service.

Students can no longer attend or enter the Student Health Unit facility without first contacting the practice by phone. This is required in order for us to be able to ensure that optimal infection prevention and control measures can be maintained at all times.

Therefore, for the foreseeable future, the Student Health Unit will continue to operate on a very strict 'by prior appointment only' basis.

How do I contact the Student Health Unit service?

If you need to contact the Student Health Unit to arrange an appointment, repeat prescription, or for any other health queries, then please phone us at: 091-494337

Please bear in mind that our phone lines can be extremely busy, and we greatly appreciate your patience in this regard. If you are still unable to get through by telephone, despite repeated attempts, then please email us at: healthunit@nuigalway.ie

What are the opening hours for contacting the Student Health Unit service?

The Student Health Unit team and service are available Monday to Friday (excluding Public/Bank Holidays), during 9.30am – 12.30pm and from 2.30pm – 4.30pm.

It is not open on public holidays or at weekends. There are out-of-hours services available (as below), but these are to be reserved solely for use for very urgent or emergency medical issues, and are not to be used as advice helplines for any routine or non-urgent issues.

If you are acutely ill, please contact the Student Health Unit as early as possible in the day. If the Student Health Unit is booked up for the day, but you are severely unwell and feel that you need to be seen, then please make this known to our Reception staff or Triage Nurse.

Can I still get an appointment to see a Student Health Unit doctor/nurse for a face-to-face consultation?

In line with Public Health advice on reducing the risk of spread of Covid-19, the Student Health Unit is endeavouring, where at all possible, to provide remote/telephone consultations for any health advice/support or prescriptions. For a certain number of health complaints/conditions, which cannot be managed by remote consultation (e.g. Blood tests, STI screening, Vaccinations, etc.), we are able to provide access to face-to-face consultations for these kinds of services/issues, but under strict infection prevention and control protocols.

Our current appointment system involves our Triage Nurses providing an initial assessment via telephone consultation, with subsequent arrangement then, as deemed clinically necessary, of either: an appointment for face-to-face consultation with a Nurse; or, referral on to one of our Doctors.

If our Triage Nurse refers you on to one of our Doctors, the Doctor will then first carry out a remote telephone consultation, and if clinically required, will arrange an appointment for a face-to-face consultation.

As part of our infection prevention and control measures:

Face-to-face consultations will operate to a strict 15-minute time limit.

While all students attending for face-to-face consultations:

  • Must wear a mask/face covering
  • Must sanitise their hands on entering the Student Health Unit

If you are acutely ill, please contact the Student Health Unit as early as possible in the day. If the Student Health Unit is booked up for the day, but you are severely unwell and need to be seen, please make this known to our reception staff.

I’m not currently in Galway, and am at home in a different part of the Republic of Ireland (OR outside the Republic of Ireland), can I still access the Student Health Unit service for a prescription/advice?

For most kinds of prescriptions/medication requests, and for a certain number of health issues/queries which can be managed remotely via telephone, the Student Health Unit Doctors/Nurses can still provide a prescription/support/advice to any NUI Galway students who are currently based away from Galway, in a different part of the Republic of Ireland.

Thanks to emergency legislation that was passed in recent months by the Minister for Health, Doctors can now send prescriptions electronically, directly to Pharmacies anywhere in the Republic of Ireland, via a highly secure, health services’ email network called Healthmail.

Due to restrictions relating to Medical/Nursing indemnity (insurance) cover and the jurisdictional boundaries of Medical/Nursing registration, the Student Health Unit team cannot under any circumstance provide healthcare support/advice or prescriptions to any students if they are currently residing outside of the Republic of Ireland.

What kind of services/appointments does the Student Health Unit provide?

The Student Health Unit provides a totally confidential, GP-type service, though it is not intended to function as a replacement for your GP. In general, the service/appointments which are provided include, but are not limited to:

  • GP-type service - Acute illness care/treatment. (Not intended as a replacement for your GP, you are advised to remain linked in with your GP for ongoing medical conditions)
  • Family Planning/Contraception, Emergency Contraception, STI Clinics, Implanon Insertion/Removal
  • Mental Health support/treatment
  • Appointments available for Travel Advice and Vaccinations; Blood Tests; Dressings & Stitches removal; Eyesight Reports (for driving licences); Wart/Verruca Treatments; Drug Screening.
  • Hospital/Consultant/Psychiatric Referral service

Consultations with the Doctors/Nurses are usually free, but there are nominal charges for some of the services that are provided. Full details of our fee-paying services are available to view at: www.nuigalway.ie/health_unit/services-&-fees/

I’m worried that I have COVID-19, what do I do?

Firstly, take immediate steps to undertake strict self-isolation. There is very clear information and advice on exactly how you should do this, via the HSE’s website at: www2.hse.ie/conditions/coronavirus/self-isolation-and-limited-social-interaction.html

Then contact your own GP or the Student Health Unit to discuss your symptoms with a Doctor, to determine whether you require referral for formal Covid-19 testing and/or any further assessment.

For most people, particularly younger patients, Covid-19 produces a mild or moderately severe illness, which can be managed at home with simple supportive measures. For advice on how to manage your symptoms, please check out www.undertheweather.ie or check out the self-care advice contained in the ‘Student Health Matters’ App, which can be downloaded for FREE from both the App Store or Google Play. At this current time, if you have symptoms/suspect that you have Covid-19, it is vital that you would not attend your GP practice, the Student Health Unit or any other healthcare facility without first contacting them by telephone.

Is there an urgent care Out-of-Hours service available linked to the Student Health Unit?

For Urgent/Emergency Out-of-Hours Service (Please note that these are NOT advice lines, and are for urgent/emergency medical care, and also, that there is a charge for these out-of-hours services) 

  • Mon-Thurs (after 5pm) – Galway City GP Rota, via Emergency Number: 087-2623997
  • Sat, Sun & Bank Holidays (Daytime 9am-5pm) – Citydoc, Bon Secour Hospital: 091-758008
  • Fri, Sat & Sun (Evening 5pm-9am) Citydoc, OOH Locum: 087-7744430

FREE 24hr Mental Health telephone support available via:

  • Your Mental Health: 1800 111888 OR Samaritans: Freephone 116 123

AND

  • FREE Mental Health Text Support available via: 50808
  • In the event of a Medical Emergency, it is also possible to phone: 999 or 112

 

I am due medication that is being prescribed for me by the Student Health Unit doctor, what should I do?

Please simply phone the Student Health Unit on 091-494337, during Monday to Friday (excluding Public/Bank Holidays) between the hours of 9.30am – 12.30pm or 2.30pm – 4.30pm, to request an additional/repeat prescription.

Please note that your pharmacist can sometimes facilitate in providing you with an emergency supply of your medication, until a prescription can be arranged from the Student Health Unit Doctor. So, if you have run out and are in urgent need of your medication, consider discussing this with your pharmacist.

I am due a booster dose of my HPV or Travel Vaccine, what should I do?

The date recommended for your booster dose was chosen as the optimum date to achieve long-lasting immunity, however it will still be possible to administer the booster dose in the Student Health Unit once the Covid-19 restriction period has ended, without needing to recommence the whole immunisation schedule again. Please contact the Student Health Unit on 091-494337 or 083-3250034 to discuss this.

I am a Medical/Healthcare Sciences student and I need to undertake my medical screening / Hepatitis B vaccination / Blood test, what should I do?

Please simply phone the Student Health Unit on 091-494337, during Monday to Friday (excluding Public/Bank Holidays) between the hours of 9.30am – 12.30pm or 2.30pm – 4.30pm, to arrange an appointment for your screening/vaccination/blood test.

 

Travel

General COVID-19 Travel Advisory from Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

For up-to-date travel advice relating to COVID-19, see: www.dfa.ie/travel/travel-advice/coronavirus

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade advises against all non-essential travel overseas until further notice.

Hosting visitors or visiting parties

Regrettably, NUI Galway will not be able to host visitors or visiting parties until further notice, and as long as the campus remains closed.