Updated advice on shielding – 23 June 2020
The government has updated its guidance for people who are shielding.
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.
- Wash your hands well as soon as you get home.
Advice has been revised by a small degree to reflect that COVID-19 disease levels are lower now than when shielding was first introduced. Rate of infection can change and may be different in different areas of the country.
The Government’s shielding guidance remains advisory. Some patients may choose to remain in their own home at all times if they do not feel comfortable with any form of contact with others. Speak to your own GP or consultant if you have any questions and they can advise on your own situation and condition. The Government’s advice is that for many people who are in the clinically extremely vulnerable group, the opportunity to go outdoors while maintaining social distancing may enhance their physical and mental health, without exposing them to significant risk of catching covid-19.
The shielding guidance will be reviewed, alongside each review of the wider social distancing measures, to ensure that the latest information is directly considered with advice to clinically vulnerable groups. The government have confirmed the next review will take place the week commencing 15th June 2020. The government plans to write to all individuals on the Shielded Patient List with information about next steps on shielding advice and the support that will be available to them after this review point.
You will still get the medical care you need during this period and should still seek health care when needed. If, at any point, you think you have developed symptoms of coronavirus, such as a new, continuous cough, a high temperature (above 37.8 °C), and/or a loss or change to sense of smell or taste, seek clinical advice using the NHS 111 online coronavirus service (https://111.nhs.uk/covid-19/). If you do not have access to the internet, call NHS 111. Do this as soon as you get symptoms. If you do have coronavirus symptoms it is important for you to get tested now. You can get test information at nhs.uk/coronavirus or by calling 119.
If you do not have anyone who can support you, NHS Volunteer Responders are here for you. They can help with picking up shopping, prescriptions, or any other essentials you need. They’re also on hand if you’d like a friendly chat or just want someone to talk to. Call 0808 196 3646 (8am to 8pm) to arrange volunteer support. Further details about the programme, and the support available can be found by visiting online: nhsvolunteerresponders.org.uk Halton Borough Council can also offer support, call 0151 907-8363 to access help.
Updated advice on shielding (announced 22nd June)
The Government have announced that the advice for people who are shielding because of COVID-19 will be relaxed in two phases.
What is changing?
From 6 July those shielding will be able to spend time outdoors in a group of up to 6 people including those outside of their household, while maintaining social distancing.
Those who are shielding and live alone or are single parents with children will also be able to create a ‘support bubble’ with one other household of any size, following the same rules that are already in place for the wider population.
From 1 August, the shielding advice will relax further, allowing those shielding to do even more, such as visit shops and places of worship, and return to work provided they take particular care to maintain social distancing and minimise contact with others outside their household.
The food and medicine boxes facilitated by the National Shielding Service will stop as of 1 August, with everyone now being advised that they can visit shops and pharmacies.
Other forms of support – such as priority supermarket delivery slots and the NHS Volunteers Scheme – will continue. (See above)
Find more support information at our coronavirus links: https://healthwatchhalton.co.uk/coronavirus-links/
How has shielding and updates to the guidance affected you? Share your experiences with our Covid-19 survey: https://bit.ly/3h8ESEw
More government information on shieilding can be found at: https://bit.ly/3cN9Oqk