Coronavirus - patients who need shielding from coronavirus
(Updated 24th June 2020)
Thank you to everyone in our community for working together and protecting each other through maintaining physical distancing, good hand hygiene and staying at home as much as possible. It has been hard but your commitment to this is appreciated. Through our collective efforts we have reduced but not eliminated the coronavirus. We need to continue to work together to stay safe in Frome as the lockdown is eased.
The government has updated it's advice about coronavirus, as follows:
We can all help control the virus if we stay alert. This means you must:
- Stay at home as much as possible
- Work from home if you can
- Limit contact with other people
- Keep your distance if you go out (2 metres apart where possible)
- Wash your hands regularly
- Self-isolate if you or anyone in your household has symptoms
You can read more about what you can and can't do on the government website.
If you're at high risk (clinically extremely vulnerable) from coronavirus (COVID-19), there are extra steps you're advised to take to protect yourself. These extra steps are called shielding. See below for more details about what this means.
If you have symptoms of coronavirus, stay at home. Do not visit a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital.
Use the 111 coronavirus service to find out what to do. The main symptoms of coronavirus are:
- a high temperature – this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)
- a new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual)
- a loss of, or change to, your sense of smell or taste - this means you've noticed you cannot smell or taste anything, or things smell or taste different to normal
Shielding and protecting patients from coronavirus
You may have heard in the news (22nd June 2020) that the government has updated its guidance for people who are shielding taking into account that coronavirus infection rates have decreased over the last few weeks. You can read the full guidance here. This guidance remains advisory.
The headlines from the updated guidance are:
- You may now choose to leave your home, as long as you are able to maintain strict social distancing.
- If you choose to spend time outdoors, you may do so 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.
In addition, the government announced new measures from 6th July, which should be implemented until 1st August:
- You may, if you wish, meet in a group of up to 6 people outdoors, including people from different households, while maintaining strict social distancing.
- You no longer need to observe social distancing with other members of your household.
- In line with the wider guidance for single adult households (either an adult living alone or with dependent children under 18) in the general population, you may from this date, if you wish, also form a ‘support bubble’ with one other household. All those in a support bubble will be able to spend time together inside each other’s homes, including overnight, without needing to socially distance.
Furthermore, from 1st August the government has indicated that shielding will be paused. This means:
- 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 those who are shielding remains advisory. More detailed advice will be updated as the changes in advice come into effect on 6 July and 1 August. We will endeavour to update our website as and when this happens.
You can read the full guidance on shielding and proteting people who are clinically extremely vulnerably from coronavirus on the government website.
This guidance is advisory and will be kept under regular review.
People falling into this group include:
- Solid organ transplant recipients
- People with specific cancers:
- people with cancer who are undergoing active chemotherapy or radical radiotherapy for lung cancer
- people with cancers of the blood or bone marrow such as leukaemia, lymphoma or myeloma who are at any stage of treatment
- people having immunotherapy or other continuing antibody treatments for cancer
- people having other targeted cancer treatments which can affect the immune system, such as protein kinase inhibitors or PARP inhibitors
- people who have had bone marrow or stem cell transplants in the last 6 months, or who are still taking immunosuppression drugs
- People with severe respiratory conditions including all cystic fibrosis, severe asthma and severe COPD
- People with rare diseases and inborn errors of metabolism that significantly increase the risk of infections (such as SCID, homozygous sickle cell)
- People on immunosuppression therapies sufficient to significantly increase risk of infection
- Women who are pregnant with significant heart disease, congenital or acquired
You are not clinically extremely vulnerable if:
- you do not have any of the conditions that make you clinically extremely vulnerable
- you have not been told by your GP or specialist that you are clinically extremely vulnerable or received a letter
If you are not clinically extremely vulnerable you should follow the guidance on staying alert and safe (social distancing).
Local support and information for people who are shielding
We have put together some information on local and national support available to people who need to shield.
- Our latest practice update on coronavirus
- Sign up for the NHS App
- Staying alert (social distancing)
- How to avoid catching and spreading coronavirus
- What to do if you think you might have coronavirus
- Use of face coverings
- Information in different formats
- Information for patients who are shielding
- Support for people who are shielding
- Temporary changes to services
- Signs and symptoms
- What is COVID-19 (coronavirus)?
- Isolation notes
- Useful links