The NHS and Public Health England (PHE) are extremely well prepared for outbreaks of new infectious diseases. The NHS has put in place measures to ensure the safety of all patients and NHS staff while also ensuring services are available to the public as normal click here. If you are unwell with:
- anew continuous cough
- high temperature (of 37.8C or above)
- loss of/ change in smell or taste
Please check the government website for the latest COVID-19 advice. You may need to go online or call NHS 111 for further advice before making or attending an appointment. You can find the latest information and advice regarding Coronavirus and your travel and contact history before attending the practice from Public Health England, nhs.uk, 111nhs.uk/covid-19 and gov.uk.
Like the common cold, coronavirus infection usually occurs through close contact with a person with novel coronavirus via cough and sneezes or hand contact. A person can also be infected by touching contaminated surfaces if they do not wash their hands.
Testing of suspected coronavirus cases is carried out in line with strict regulations. This means that suspected cases are kept in isolation, away from public areas of the hospital and returned home also in isolation.
Any equipment that come into contact with suspected cases are thoroughly cleaned as appropriate. Specific guidance has also been shared with NHS staff to help safeguard them and others. Patients can be reassured that their safety is a top priority, and are encouraged to attend all appointments as usual.
Keep a safe distance (social distancing)
During the national lockdown you must not leave, or be outside of your home, except where necessary and for a permitted reason. If you must leave your home:
- stay at least 2 metres away from people you do not live with or who are not in your support bubble
- reduce the time spent in crowded areas where it may be difficult to socially distance (such as shops and supermarkets)
- avoid direct contact and face to face contact with people you do not live with
If you live in the same household as someone who is clinically extremely vulnerable, try to stay 2 metres away from them even when you are at home. Stay at least 2 metres away from anyone who visits your home for work reasons such as a cleaner or a tradesperson doing essential or urgent work.
Why keeping a safe distance is important
The further you can keep away from other people, the less likely you are to catch COVID-19 and pass it on to others. COVID-19 spreads through the air by droplets and smaller aerosols that are released from the nose and mouth of an infected person when they breathe, speak, cough or sneeze. The closer you are to a person with COVID-19 (even those without symptoms), the more likely you are to become infected.
Remember the basics of good hygiene
No matter where you are or what you are doing, following the basic rules of good hygiene will help to protect you and others from COVID-19. These are:<
- washing your hands
- cleaning your surroundings
- covering your nose and mouth when you cough and sneeze
Wash your hands
Wash your hands with soap and water or use hand sanitiser regularly throughout the day. You should wash your hands after coughing, sneezing and blowing your nose and before you eat or handle food. Wash your hands after coming into contact with surfaces touched by many others, such as handles, handrails and light switches, and shared areas such as kitchens and bathrooms. If you must leave your home, wash your hands as soon as you return.
Where possible, avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. If you do need to touch your face (for example to put on or take off your face covering), wash or sanitise your hands before and after.
Why hand washing is important
Hands touch many surfaces and can become contaminated with viruses. Once contaminated, hands can transfer viruses to your eyes, nose or mouth. From there, viruses can enter your body and infect you.
If you are infected with COVID-19, you can pass the virus from your nose and mouth (when coughing or talking) to your hands and infect the surfaces that you touch. Washing or sanitising your hands removes viruses and other germs, so you are less likely to become infected if you touch your face. Using soap and water is the most effective way to clean your hands, especially if they are visibly dirty. Hand sanitiser can be used when soap and water is not available.
Clean your surroundings
Clean surfaces often. Pay particular attention to surfaces that are touched frequently, such as handles, light switches, work surfaces and electronic devices. Use disposable cloths, paper roll or disposable mop heads to clean all hard surfaces, floors, chairs, door handles and sanitary fittings – think ‘one site, one wipe, in one direction’. Any cloths, paper roll or mop heads used can be disposed of with your usual domestic waste. It is fine to use your normal household detergent when cleaning in your home. Information on cleaning and waste disposal outside of your household is available.
Why cleaning your surroundings is important
COVID-19 spreads through small droplets, aerosols and direct contact. Surfaces and belongings can be contaminated with COVID-19 when people with the infection touch them or cough, talk or breathe over them. Viruses on a surface could infect another person if they touch the surface and then touch their eyes, nose and mouth. Cleaning surfaces will reduce the amount of contamination and so reduce the risk of spread. The more you clean, the more likely you are to remove viruses from an infected surface before you or another person touches it.
Cover your nose and mouth when you cough and sneeze
Cover your mouth and nose with disposable tissues when you cough or sneeze. If you do not have a tissue, cough or sneeze into the crook of your elbow, not into your hand. Dispose of tissues into a rubbish bag and immediately wash your hands.
Why covering your nose and mouth when you cough and sneeze is important
Coughing and sneezing increases the number of droplets and aerosols released by a person, the distance they travel and the time they stay in the air. A cough or sneeze of an infected person which is not covered will significantly increase the risk of infecting others around them. By covering your nose and mouth, you will reduce the spread of droplets and aerosols carrying the virus. You can find more advice on reducing the risks from COVID-19 in your home at GermDefence.
Wear a face covering
There are some places where you must wear a face covering by law. You should also wear a face covering in indoor places where social distancing may be difficult and where you will come into contact with people you do not normally meet. Wearing a face covering may not be possible in every situation or for some people who are exempt; please be mindful and respectful of such circumstances.
Why wearing a face covering is important
COVID-19 spreads through the air by droplets and aerosols that are exhaled from the nose and mouth of an infected person when they breathe, speak, cough or sneeze. The best available scientific evidence is that, when used correctly, wearing a face covering reduces the spread of COVID-19 droplets, helping to protect others.
A face covering may even reduce spread in those who are not experiencing symptoms by reducing the amount of the virus being released when they talk and breathe. Face coverings are mainly intended to protect others from COVID-19 rather than the wearer and are not a replacement for social distancing and regular hand washing.
Let fresh air in (ventilation)
Make sure you let plenty of fresh air into your home by uncovering vents and opening doors and windows, even a small amount for a short period of time.
If you have an extractor fan (for example in your bathroom or kitchen), leave it running for longer than usual with the door closed after someone has used the room. If someone in the household is self-isolating, open a window in their room and keep the door closed to reduce the spread of contaminated air to other parts of the household.
Leave windows open fully for a short period after someone working in your home such as a cleaner or tradesperson has left.
If you are concerned about noise, security or the costs of heating, opening windows for shorter periods of time can still help to reduce the risk of the virus spreading. Wearing warm clothes or extra layers can help you to keep warm. You may be able to change the layout of your room so that you do not sit close to cold drafts from open windows or doors.
Why letting fresh air in is important
When a person infected with COVID-19 coughs, talks or breathes, they release droplets and aerosols which can be breathed in by another person.
While larger droplets fall quickly to the ground, smaller droplets and aerosols containing the virus that causes COVID-19 can remain suspended in the air for some time indoors, especially if there is no ventilation.
Ventilation is the process of replacing this shared air with fresh air from the outside. The more ventilated an area is, the more fresh air there is to breathe, and the less likely a person is to inhale infectious particles.
Please see the attached poster with regards to how we are working during these times.
Test and Trace Please click on this link for a useful video explaining the importance of the Test and Trace service. Self-Isolation Notes
Click this link NHS 111 to self-declare and apply for a self-isolation note. You should answer yes to the question: “Have you been told to self-isolate by an NHS service or a healthcare professional?” and tick the box that says “I have been told to self-isolate by a test and trace service” you will be able to get a self-isolation note sent to you.
Alternatively, you can print this template letter and give a copy to your employer.
There is more information on the following link regarding Covid-19 and requests for Med3 (‘Fit Notes’). Please click here to view this.
Coping with bereavement
We understand how difficult it can be to cope with bereavement during the Covid-19 pandemic. Please use the button below to access some useful links that can support you through this difficult time.