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 10 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:

  • meeting outdoors in a group of up to 6 people with those you do not live with, but you should do this while observing social distancing guidelines and keeping at least 2 metres apart
  • single adult households – in other words adults who live alone or with dependent children only – can form a ‘support bubble’ with one other household. All those in a support bubble will be able to spend time together inside each others’ homes, including overnight, without needing to stay 2 metres apart. 

You must not:

  • meet other people indoors – including in their home or your home – unless you are in a support bubble, or for other limited circumstances listed in law
  • meet outdoors in a group of more than 6 with people who are not in your household or (where applicable) support bubble, or for other limited circumstances listed in law
  • form a support bubble with another household if neither you nor they are in a single adult household
    stay overnight in another household that is not in your support bubble, unless it is for the limited set of circumstances outlined in law

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

Shielding

From 1 August the government will be advising that shielding will be paused. From this date, the government is advising you to adopt strict social distancing rather than full shielding measures. Strict social distancing means you may wish to go out to more places and see more people but you should take particular care to minimise contact with others outside your household or support bubble. In practice this means that from 1 August:

  • you can go to work, if you cannot work from home, as long as the business is COVID-safe
  • children who are clinically extremely vulnerable can return to their education settings if they are eligible and in line with their peers. Where possible children should practise frequent hand washing and social distancing
  • you can go outside to buy food, to places of worship and for exercise but you should maintain strict social distancing
  • you should remain cautious as you are still at risk of severe illness if you catch coronavirus, so the advice is to stay at home where possible and, if you do go out, follow strict social distancing
  • The guidance for the clinically extremely vulnerable group remains advisory. More detailed advice will be updated in this guidance as the changes in advice come into effect on 6 July and 1 August.

Those in receipt of centrally provided food boxes and medicine deliveries will continue to receive this support until the end of July if they want it.

This guidance will be kept under regular review but more information can be found here.

Testing

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

You should expect to be contacted by the NHS Test and Trace service if you test positive for coronavirus

Face Masks

Masks are now compulsory in shops, public transport, banks etc and health settings. For more guidance including who doesn't have to wear a mask, click here. 

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.

Figures from Disability Rights UK showed that nearly 60% of people who cannot wear a face covering fear being challenged for not wearing one. If this applies to someone you care for and you'd like to explore a badge highlighting medical exemption, click here for further information. Northamptonshire Carers encourages everyone who should wear a mask to do so.

We are aware that these are especially difficult for Carers who are making very challenging decisions. The Government have produced guidance for Carers & Young Carers/Young Adult Carers (includes easy read version) via the links 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. 

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.