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COVID-19 Information and Advice

Updated 5 January 2021

Latest update 


The UK Government have introduced a full national lockdown. This means everyone must stay at home in order to control the spread of Coronavirus.

You must not leave, or be outside of your home except where necessary. You may leave the home to:    

  • shop for basic necessities, for you or a vulnerable person
  • go to work, or provide voluntary or charitable services, if you cannot reasonably do so from home
  • exercise with your household (or support bubble) or one other person, this should be limited to once per day, and you should not travel outside your local area.
  • meet your support bubble or childcare bubble where necessary, but only if you are legally permitted to form one
  • seek medical assistance or avoid injury, illness or risk of harm (including domestic abuse)
  • attend education or childcare - for those eligible

Colleges, primary and secondary schools will remain open only for vulnerable children and the children of critical workers. All other children will learn remotely until February half term. Early Years settings remain open.

Higher Education provision will remain online until mid February for all except future critical worker courses.

If you do leave home for a permitted reason, you should always stay local in the village, town, or part of the city where you live. You may leave your local area for a legally permitted reason, such as for work.

If you are clinically extremely vulnerable you should only go out for medical appointments, exercise or if it is essential. You should not attend work

For more information around when you can leave home, meeting other people and support bubbles, please visit the Government's website. 

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

The main symptoms are:

  • a high temperature
  • a new, continuous cough
  • a loss of, or change to, your sense of smell or taste.

Support for your recovery
Emerging evidence suggestd that a growing number of people who contract COVID-19 cannot shake off the effects of the virus months after initially falling ill. This is termed 'long COVID' and the symptoms  are wide-ranging and fluctuating. they can include pain, breathlessness, chronic fatigue, brain fog, anxiety and stress. However, many patients recover with support, rest, symptomatic treatment, and with a gradual increase in physical activity. 

Southern Health, alongside our partners in the local health system (Solent NHS Trust and Isle of Wight NHS Foundation Trust) have opened a number of clinics across Hampshire and Isle of Wight to help patients suffering from the effects of Long COVID.  The new service is part of a 10 million pound initiative by NHS England who are funding 69 clinics across the country. You can find out more about the clinics and how you can be referred to one here. 

The NHS recently launched its 'your COVID recovery' website with information and guidance on how to support yourself or a loved one through long COVID.   

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.

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.  



Government and Public Health England advice              

  • Find the latest information and advice from Public Health England at    

  • Use the NHS 111  online coronavirus service that can tell you if you need medical help and advise you on what to do. 

  • Find advice if you are in a high risk group from Public Health England here.

  • Find updated advice for pregnant women by Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists here.        

Easy Read information
Easy read information on COVID-19 has been produced by Mencap and you can download it from their website.

Beyond Words have created a picture story, that will help you to understand what to do if you have COVID-19 and how to keep safe. You can download a free copy from their website.             

You can find out more on our learning disability pages here.

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