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Page updated 21/04/2021 information correct at time of publication

coronavirus cell

Coronavirus (COVID-19) is an illness which affects your lungs and airways.  For most people, it causes mild to moderate symptoms, but in some cases can become much more serious and require hospital treatment.

At Age UK Lindsey we take the health and well-being of our clients, staff and volunteers very seriously and always work hard to ensure that everyone remains safe and well.  We continue to follow NHS and government advice on how to respond to the outbreak, and are regularly assessing how we can safely deliver services.  Please be aware that some of the guidance notes below are specific to England only.

What are the symptoms of coronavirus?

What should I do if I feel unwell?

How do I reduce the risk of catching or spreading the virus?

What is the latest guidance?

What is shielding?

How do I know if I'm at greater risk?

What is Test & Trace?

Do I have to wear a face covering?

Can I visit a family member who lives in a care home?

Can I look after my grandchildren?

What is a support bubble?

Can I get vaccinated?

What are the symptoms of coronavirus?

The symptoms of coronavirus are:

  • a new, continuous cough -  this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or three or more coughing episodes in 24 hours
  • a fever/high temperature - this means you feel hot to the touch on your chest or back
  • loss or change to your sense of taste and smell - you may no longer be able to smell or taste anything, or you may have noticed that things taste or smell differently

Some poeple may also experience tiredness, muscle aches and shortness of breath. All of these are similar to many other illnesses and if you have them it does not necessarily mean that you have coronavirus, but most people with coronavirus have at least one of these symptoms

What should I do if I feel unwell?

Anyone with the coronavirus symptoms must stay at home and begin to self-isolate for 10 days from when the symptoms started. Arrange to have a test for COVID-19 as soon as possible. If you test positive, you must complete the 10-day isolation period. If the test results are negative you may stop self-isolation, as long as you feel well.

If you live with anyone else, they must stay at home for 10 days from the day you first showed the above symptoms. Try to keep away from each other as much as possible to reduce the risk of spreading the virus to other members of your household. For more information about staying at home and managing your symptoms, click here.

If your symptoms are mild, you do not need to go to your GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital but you should order a test as soon as possible on the NHS website or call 119. More information about testing for coronavirus can be found here.

If your symptoms get worse or have not improved after 7 days, or if you cannot manage the symptoms at home, use the online 111 coronavirus service for more advice. If you, or someone you care for has severe symptoms, for example they are struggling to breathe, coughing up blood or have collapsed, dial 999 and tell the operator that the patient might have coronavirus symptoms. More information about what to do if symptoms have not improved is available on the NHS website.

How do I reduce the risk of getting coronavirus?

Anyone can catch and spread the virus. It is thought that as many as one-in-three people who have the virus do not show any symptoms. Therefore, the advice remains: maintain social distancing and wash your hands regularly and thoroughly, using soap and water. Stay alert to help control the virus.This means: stay at home as much as possible, work from home if you can, and follow government guidelines regarding mixing with people outside of your household. Whenever you go out for shopping, health, work or exercise, you should wash your hands when you return home, before eating or handling food and after sneezing or blowing your nose. Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water is not available, use a hand sanitiser gel.

Make sure that you catch coughs and sneezes in a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands). Put used tissues in the bin immediately and then wash your hands. Do not touch your mouth, nose or eyes if you have not first washed your hands.

Hands Face Sapce

What is the latest guidance?

Coronavirus restrictions remain in place, but the government is setting out a roadmap for the gradual easing of lockdown rules.

In England, the main guidelines are as follows:

  • Only socialise indoors with people you live with or who are in your support bubble
  • Up to 6 people or 2 households can meet outside
  • Work from home if you can and only travel when necessary
  • If you have symptoms get a test and stay at home

Full details of the current guidelines and how this may affect you can be found on the website.

Spring Roadmap Steps 1 & 2

What is shielding?

Shielding is a term used to describe the action being taken to protect those who are clinically extremely vulnerable to the effects of coronavirus. Shielding will end on 31st March 2021, but you must still continue to follow government guidelines and protect yourself and others, even if you have received the coronavirus vaccine. More information can be found on the government website.

Metting outdoors with up to 6 people

How do I know if I am at greater risk?

If you are over 60 or clinically vulnerable, you could be at higher risk of severe illness from coronavirus. You should:

  • be especially careful to follow the rules and minimise your contact with others

  • continue to wash your hands carefully and more frequently than usual and maintain thorough cleaning of frequently touched areas in your home and/or workspace

Anyone of any age with the following underlying health conditions is also considered to be at greater risk from the virus:

  • chronic heart disease, such as heart failure

  • chronic kidney disease

  • chronic liver disease, such as hepatitis

  • mild to moderate long-term respiratory conditions including: cystic fibrosis, chronic asthma and COPD

  • chronic neurological conditions, such as Parkinson’s disease, motor neurone disease, multiple sclerosis (MS) or cerebral palsy

  • being seriously overweight (a body mass index (BMI) of 40 or above)

  • diabetes

  • a weakened immune system as the result of certain conditions or medicines they are taking (such as steroid tablets)

By now, if you are over 50 or are clinically extremely vulnerable, you should have recieved your invitation to receive the coronavirus vaccine. If you have not been contacted by the NHS or your surgery, you can book an appoitnment online or by calling 119. Frontline healthcare and social care workers, people with learning difficulties, those considered to be clinically vulnerable and unpaid carers of somone at high risk can also book an appointment.

What is test & trace?

Test and trace is the NHS service designed to help in the fight against coronavirus. Through the testing of suspected cases and the tracing of those who have come into close, recent contact with anyone who has tested positive for the disease, it is hoped to isolate new infections and prevent an increase in cases locally and nationally.

Further information about what to do if you think you may have symptoms, how to book a test, and what to do if you have been contacted by the test and trace service can be found here on our website and here on the government website.

Do I have to wear a face covering?

Current law states that unless you are exempt, you must wear a face covering in England in the following settings (examples are shown in brackets):

  • public transport (aeroplanes, trains, trams and buses)
  • taxis and private hire vehicles
  • transport hubs (airports, rail and tram stations and terminals, maritime ports and terminals, bus and coach stations and terminals)
  • shops and supermarkets (places which offer goods or services for retail sale or hire)
  • shopping centres (malls and indoor markets)
  • auction houses
  • premises providing hospitality (bars, pubs, restaurants, cafes), except when seated at a table to eat or drink
  • post offices, banks, building societies, high-street solicitors and accountants, credit unions, short-term loan providers, savings clubs and money service businesses
  • premises providing personal care and beauty treatments (hair salons, barbers, nail salons, massage centres, tattoo and piercing parlours)
  • premises providing veterinary services
  • visitor attractions and entertainment venues (museums, galleries, cinemas, theatres, concert halls, cultural and heritage sites, aquariums, indoor zoos and visitor farms, bingo halls, amusement arcades, adventure activity centres, indoor sports stadiums, funfairs, theme parks, casinos, skating rinks, bowling alleys, indoor play areas including soft-play areas)
  • libraries and public reading rooms
  • places of worship
  • funeral service providers (funeral homes, crematoria and burial ground chapels)
  • community centres, youth centres and social clubs
  • exhibition halls and conference centres
  • public areas in hotels and hostels
  • storage and distribution facilities

You are expected to wear a face covering immediately before entering any of these settings and must keep it on until you leave.

You are also strongly encouraged to wear a face covering in other enclosed public spaces where social distancing may be difficult and where you come into contact with people you do not normally meet.

Face coverings are also needed in NHS settings, including hospitals and primary or community care settings, such as GP surgeries. They are advised to be worn in care homes. Individual settings may have their own policies and require you to take other measures.

A face covering is something which is considered to safely and securely cover the nose and mouth. You can buy reusable or disposable face coverings, or even make your own. More details about making a face covering can be found here.  It is also acceptable to use a scarf or bandana, but they must fit securely around the face.

You do not need to wear a face covering if you have a legitimate reason not to. This includes (but is not limited to):

  • children under the age of 11 (Public Health England do not recommended face coverings for children under the age of 3 for health and safety reasons)
  • not being able to put on, wear or remove a face covering because of a physical or mental illness or impairment, or disability
  • if putting on, wearing or removing a face covering will cause you severe distress
  • if you are travelling with or providing assistance to someone who relies on lip reading to communicate
  • to avoid harm or injury, or the risk of harm or injury, to yourself or others
  • to avoid injury, or to escape a risk of harm, and you do not have a face covering with you
  • to eat or drink if reasonably necessary
  • in order to take medication
  • if a police officer or other official requests you remove your face covering

There are also scenarios when you are permitted to remove a face covering when asked:

  • if asked to do so in a bank, building society, or post office for identification
  • if asked to do so by shop staff or relevant employees for identification, the purpose of assessing health recommendations, such as a pharmacist, or for age identification purposes including when buying age restricted products such as alcohol
  • if speaking with people who rely on lip reading, facial expressions and clear sound. Some may ask you, either verbally or in writing, to remove a covering to help with communication

Exemption badges are available to download here.

Full details about face coverings can be found on the government website.

Not everyone with coronavirus has symptoms

Can I visit a family member who lives in a care home?

The latest government guidelines for visiting care homes are as follows:

  • every care home resident will be able to nominate a single named visitor who will be able to enter the care home for regular visits. These visitors should be tested using rapid lateral flow tests before every visit, must wear the appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) and follow all other infection control measures (which the care home will guide them on) during visits. Visitors and residents are advised to keep physical contact to a minimum. Visitors and residents may wish to hold hands, but should bear in mind that any contact increases the risk of transmission. There should not be close physical contact such as hugging

  • residents with the highest care needs will also be able to nominate an essential care giver

  • care homes can continue to offer visits to other friends or family members with arrangements such as outdoor visiting, substantial screens, visiting pods, or behind windows

More information can be found on the government website.

Care home visits

Can I look after my grandchildren?

Yes. You can continue to provide informal childcare for children under 14, as part of a childcare bubble. You should still follow the guidance on how to stop the spread of coronavirus. More information is available on the government website.

What is a support bubble?

A support bubble is a close-support network between two households. The bubble enables one household to provide support to another. There are certain criteria that you must meet to be eligible to create a support bubble and you must still follow government guidance to stop the spread of coronavirus. For more information about support bubbles, what they mean and how they work, please visit the government website here.

Outdoor activities guidance

Can I get vaccinated?

The vaccine is currently being made available to adults over 40. All adults over 50, people with specific underlying health conditions, carers and health and social care workers have already been invited to receive their first dose of the vaccine.

You will be contacted by the NHS when it is your turn. Once you have received your letter, you can book online by visiting the NHS website or by calling 119. If you are in one of the elgibile groups and have not yet received your letter, or you would like to change your booking, visit the NHS appointment website. You may also be contacted directly by your GP surgery.

Both the vaccine and calls to 119 are completely free of charge.

For more information about the vaccine, please visit the website. Or to find out what happens at your vaccination appointment, visit the NHS website.

Be aware! There are a number of scams currently circulating in relation to the Covid vaccine. The NHS will NOT:

❌ ask you to press a button on your telephone or send a text to confirm you want the vaccine

❌ ask for payment

❌ ask for your bank details

❌ email a form for you to complete

❌ call unannounced at your home or place of work

The vaccine is being offered in order of priority of need and you will be contacted directly by the NHS when it is your turn. Currently, the vaccine is being offered in three main ways, at:

  • local GP practices and community pharmacies
  • hospital hubs
  • mass vaccination sites across the country

The NHS will contact you about the vaccine

NHS coronavirus advice

Visit the NHS website for the best advice on how to reduce your risk of catching coronavirus and what to do if you think you may have symptoms.

Public Health England Advice

If you have any further questions concerning coronavirus, check out the new Public Health England blog for the most comprehensive and reliable answers.