The Danish Government has requested that staff in public authorities work from home as much as possible. In addition to shopping centres, hairdressers and restaurants, all educational centres have closed, and residents are only allowed to meet in groups up to ten people. Every social contact outside the household is to be kept to a minimum.
The crisis has affected the way how social services work with people using social services, with professionals now in contact with them over the phone or via Skype, whenever it is possible (e.g. for job centre appointments and services for vulnerable people living at home). All residential homes for people with disabilities and older people are running as usual. The same goes for vulnerable children, with special efforts towards ensuring that this crisis does not affect them.
The Municipality of Esbjerg has set up an open telephone line for guidance to families in special needs, and has opened a specific service combining shelter and care support for homeless people who may have become infected with the virus.
The Municipality follows the advice provided by the Danish government through a website with a specific section for employers and employees in the healthcare, long-term care and social care sectors.
The government recognises that employees in the healthcare, long-term care and social care sectors, who have contact with patients/citizens, particularly those in special risk groups, have a particular responsibility to adhere to the guidelines to prevent spreading the infection to the most vulnerable.
The government recommended that all workers with non-critical functions work from home for at least 14 days from 13 March. However, many workers in the healthcare, long-term care and social care sectors have critical functions. For them, the Danish Health Authority has created a specific document on how to address COVID-19, their obligations, and how to conduct themselves if staff become ill.
Workers in the healthcare, long-term care and social care sectors who have critical functions and have symptoms that are suspicious for COVID-19 can be referred by telephone to a COVID-19 evaluation unit for an evaluation and possible test.
Workers can return to work again when they have been symptom free for 48 hours, while those workers who have critical functions can return to work after a negative COVID-19 test, even with mild upper respiratory symptoms.
The Danish Patient Safety Authority has established a hotline for personnel in the healthcare, long-term care and social care sectors who call for advice related to their situation at work.
Employers in the healthcare, long-term care and social care sectors have a special duty to ensure that employees, including those in risk groups, are informed about important sources of infection, as well as the precautions they can take to protect themselves.
The Danish Health Authority has developed guidelines for employers in these three sectors, including provision of protective equipment, providing information for employees and visits to facilities where people at risk live.