As you will be aware, the Government have announced several measures to help fight coronavirus which include social distancing.

CORONAVIRUS ADVICE

Self-isolation


The most important symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) are recent onset of any of the following:

  • a new continuous cough
  • a high temperature
  • a loss of, or change in, your normal sense of taste or smell (anosmia)

For most people, coronavirus (covid-19) will be a mild illness. However, if you have any of the symptoms above you must stay at home and arrange to have a test to see if you have coronavirus.


If you live with others, anyone who develops symptoms in your household must stay at home for at least 7 days – and everyone else in the household who remains well must stay at home and not leave the house for 14 days. The 14-day period starts from the day when the first person in the house became ill.


Advice on self-isolating if you or someone you live with has coronavirus symptoms can be found here.


Do not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital. You do not need to contact 111 to tell them you're staying at home. For more information about when to call 111 and advice about staying at home click here.

Social distancing


Social distancing guidelines are slowly being relaxed. For most people this means:

  • You can spend time outdoors, including private gardens and other outdoor spaces, in groups of up to six people from different households, following social distancing guidelines
  • You should go to work if you cannot work from home and your business has not been required to close by law
  • More shops are beginning to reopen, with a plan for more to do so later in the month
  • Children in early years (age 0-5), reception, year 1 and year 6 can return to childcare or school in line with the arrangements made by their school

You must not:

  • gather in groups of more than six people with people you do not live with
  • visit friends or family inside their home or any other indoor place
  • stay away from your own home overnight, except for in a limited set of circumstances, such as for work purposes

This advice is subject to change depending on infection rates. Up to date information can be found here.

Shielding


Those who are extremely vulnerable were previously written to by the government to remain home at all times and avoid face-to-face contact. Examples of these groups included those with organ transplants, specific cancers, severe respiratory diseases, have genetic conditions that increase risk of infection, are on immunosuppression therapies that significantly increase risk of infection, or are pregnant with an underlying heart condition).

The government has now relaxed this slightly

People who are shielding remain vulnerable and should continue to take precautions but can now leave their home if they wish, as long as they are able to maintain strict social distancing. If you choose to spend time outdoors, this can be with members of your own household. If you live alone, you can spend time outdoors with one person from another household. Ideally, this should be the same person each time. If you do go out, you should take extra care to minimise contact with others by keeping 2 metres apart. This guidance will be kept under regular review but more information can be found here.

Testing

Everyone over 5 with symptoms now eligible for coronavirus tests which are most effective within 3 days of symptoms developing. Click here for more information.

Face Masks

If you can, wear a face covering in an enclosed space where social distancing isn’t possible and where you will come into contact with people you do not normally meet. This is most relevant for short periods indoors in crowded areas, for example, on public transport or in some shops.

Evidence suggests that wearing a face covering does not protect you. However, if you are infected but have not yet developed symptoms, it may provide some protection for others you come into close contact with.

Face coverings do not replace social distancing. If you have symptoms of COVID-19 (cough and/or high temperature), you and your household must isolate at home: wearing a face covering does not change this.

A face covering is not the same as the surgical masks or respirators used by healthcare and other workers as part of personal protective equipment. These should continue to be reserved for those who need them to protect against risks in their workplace, such as health and care workers, and those in industrial settings, like those exposed to dust hazards.

Face coverings should not be used by children under the age of 2 or those who may find it difficult to manage them correctly. For example, primary age children unassisted, or those with respiratory conditions.

It is important to use face coverings properly and wash your hands before putting them on and taking them off.

You can make face-coverings at home. The key thing is it should cover the mouth and nose.

We are aware that these are especially difficult for Carers who are making very challenging decisions. The Government have produced guidance for carers via the link below:

We have also collated further official guidance below in hope that it helps with clarification on particular topics especially in these rapidly-changing unprecedented times:

The Government have also produced a coronavirus (COVID-19) information leaflet. This covers what to do to help stop the spread of coronavirus, including information on symptoms and government support. It is available in several languages and large print. 

Social media is a great way of staying in touch with loved-ones when isolated but there is also plenty of mis-information in circulation. One such rumour is that Carers need an 'ID Card' in order to go out to shop etc - this is not the case so if you do have to go out, simply follow the official advice. Northamptonshire Police have published information on how they are enforcing social distancing.
We are an independent charity but network partner of the national charity, Carers Trust. Gareth Howells, Carers Trust CEO, has written to the big four supermarkets, to ask them to include unpaid carers in protected shopping times and for online deliveries. They are also   in regular contact with NHS England and the Dept for Health & Social Care and are bringing this this issue to their attention. We are also raising the needs of carers with local supermarkets, NHS, County Council and Northamptonshire Police.

Hospitals are putting restrictions on visiting but Northampton General Hospital are setting up a volunteer-led call centre to relay messages from relatives to ward staff:

Kettering General Hospital have set up a Courier Service where you can drop off items to be passed on to a relative who has been admitted.

If anyone has to report a breach of coronavirus measures, Northamptonshire Police have asked that it be done online to reduce call volumes.