What is COVID-19?
COVID-19 (Coronavirus) is a new illness that never been seen previously in humans.
A coronavirus is a type of virus with symptoms typically including a high temperature, a cough and change or loss to sense of taste or smell. Some people, who might be vulnerable, may develop a severe pneumonia resulting in shortness of breath. People with weakened immune systems, older people, and those with long-term conditions like diabetes, cancer and chronic lung disease are more at risk. Having these symptoms do not necessarily mean you have the illness. The symptoms are similar to other illnesses that are much more common, such as cold and flu.
Current advice if you or someone you know has symptoms
If you or someone you know is displaying symptoms of COVID-19 you must not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy, hospital or other health care setting. You can find the latest advice on what to do on the NHS website.
Visit the NHS website for advice
You will also find a link to the NHS 111 online COVID-19 service on this page.
The main symptoms are:
- a high temperature
- a new, continuous cough
- a loss of, or change to, your sense of smell or taste
Wearing a face covering in our hospitals
People infected may not know they have the virus as they could have very mild or even no symptoms. This means people can transmit the virus to others without being aware of it.
If you need to attend one of our hospital or outpatient sites, we ask that you wear a face covering.
Where possible we ask that you come with your own face covering but if you do not have access to one, we will provide one for you. You can use scarves or other textile items as a face covering - the covering should cover the mouth and noise while allowing the wearing to breathe comfortably.
Please check at the reception desk where there will be face masks, hand sanitisers and a clinical waste bin for used masks.
There are some circumstances where people may not be able to wear a face covering. Government guidance can be found here.
What can I do to protect myself?
The health, safety and wellbeing of our patients, communities and staff across our organisation remains our absolute priority. Your actions can help to prevent the spread of germs and therefore the spread of coronavirus.
Hands: wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. This is especially important after using public transport, and when you get home or into work.
Face: where a face covering when required and when you are in situations where it is not possible to socially distance. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
Space: stay at least 2 metres apart from others, or 1 metre with a face covering or other precautions.
The latest advice from the Government - Thursday 5 November 2020
The Government are introducing further restriction to try and control the spread of the virus. From Thursday 5 November until Wednesday 2 December these are a brief summary of the main changes:
You are required to stay at home. You must not leave your home except for:
childcare or education
where your place of work remains open and where you cannot work from home
exercise outdoors with the people you live with, your support bubble or, when on your own, with 1 person from another household.
any medical concerns, reasons, appointments and emergencies, or to avoid or escape risk of injury or harm - such as domestic abuse
shopping for basic necessities
to visit members of your support bubble or provide care for vulnerable people, or as a volunteer
Everyone who can work effectively from home must now do so. All staff working in essential services should continue to attend their workplace and strictly follow all IPC regulations in place.
You must not meet socially indoors with family or friends unless they are part of your household or your support bubble. You can exercise or visit outdoor public places with the people you live with, your support bubble or one person from another household.
Certain businesses and venues will close. This includes all non-essential retail, indoor and outdoor leisure facilities, entertainment venues and personal care facilities.
Schools, colleges and universities remain open. This includes early years settings.
You should avoid travelling in or out of your local area and reduce the number of journeys you make. Overnight stays and holidays away from your primary residences will not be allowed.
Protecting people more at risk from COVID-19
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 contacts with others
should 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
Full information and updates can be found on the GOV.UK website.
What about my mental wellbeing?
Our mental health is equally as important as our physical health. At times like these, we might find it especially difficult as lots of things are uncertain. We have all changed the way we live our lives and have been forced to separate from our loved ones. It's normal that you might be feeling low or unsure at this time. However, if you have been feeling like this for a while or feel unable to cope, help is available.
Please visit our Every Life Matters page, with mental health advice and information on support lines.
If you need urgent mental health guidance, please call NHS 111. Always call 999 in an emergency.
Information for staff
We send out regular communications to staff with the latest information and clinical guidance. Links to these communications are also sent out via the Staff Connect App. Please visit the staff intranet for more information.
If you need any further information or guidance please contact your line manager in the first instance.