What is the current government advice about Covid-19?

We have been asked questions by the public about the type of NHS service they may expect during the Covid-19, also known as coronavirus, pandemic.

For the latest information from the government click here: https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus

On 14th October the government has launched their new tier system that places local areas in a tier group with a different set of restrictions per group.

Kirklees are in tier 2 of local restrictions from Wednesday 14 October.

 We don’t know when these restrictions will next be reviewed. Wear a face covering in areas where it is mandated. Always follow social distancing rules. Do not socialise in a group of more than six people indoors or outdoors. Unless at a school, workplace, COVID-19-secure wedding, funeral or taking part in organised team sports.

The full list of restrictions can be found on the Kirklees Council website: https://www.kirklees.gov.uk/beta/health-and-well-being/covid19-restrictions.aspx

 

What is coronavirus?

COVID-19 is a new illness that can affect your lungs and airways. It’s caused by a virus called coronavirus.

Visit the NHS website below to find out information on:

  • Staying at home to stop the spread of coronavirus
  • What to do if you have symptoms (and what those symptoms are
  • What to do if you need medical help for another reason
  • Advice for people at high risk

And other questions regarding the outbreak.

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/


On September 22 the government announced a series of new restrictions to try to stop the spread of coronavirus in England.

It is likely the new measures could probably stay in place for the next six months.

What are the latest changes in England?

  • Pubs, bars and restaurants to close at 10pm. They will also be restricted to table service only.
  • People should work from home wherever possible.
  • Face masks compulsory for bar staff and non-seated customers, shop workers and waiters.
  • Limit on guests at weddings reduced from 30 to 15.
  • Plans to allow fans to return to sporting events paused.
  • “Rule of six” now applies to indoor team sports.
  • Fines for not wearing masks or following rules increased to £200 for first offence.

Further, local restrictions remain in Kirklees, they are:

  • You cannot meet or host people you do not live with in private homes or gardens unless they are in your support bubble.
  • You cannot visit someone else’s home or garden even if they live outside of Kirklees, unless they are in your support bubble.

For the latest local guidance visit here:
https://www.kirklees.gov.uk/beta/health-and-well-being/coronavirus.aspx

 

Local Measures

On 31st July the Government introduced a range of measures in response to increasing numbers of people with coronavirus in parts of Greater Manchester, East Lancashire and West Yorkshire.

If you live in Kirklees you now should not:

  • Meet with people you don’t live with in a private house or garden (unless they are part of your support bubble)
  • Visit someone else’s house or garden even if they live outside affected areas
  • Socialise with people you don’t live with in indoor public spaces (pubs, restaurants, cafes, places of worship, shops, community centres).
    At this stage it is expected that these measures will be in place for at least 2 weeks.

 

UPDATE AS OF 1st JUNE

What is the latest advice for people who are shielding?

As of June 1, government advice for people who are ‘clinically extremely vulnerable’ is that “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.”

Strict social distancing means you should take extra care to minimise contact with others by keeping 2 metres apart.
We know that this is really confusing at the moment and we are struggling to get a clear understanding, just like you. Here’s a link to the guidance but we know that this is changing. We want to get a clear picture and as soon as we do, this will be replaced: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-on-shielding-and-protecting-extremely-vulnerable-persons-from-covid-19/guidance-on-shielding-and-protecting-extremely-vulnerable-persons-from-covid-19

 

UPDATE AS OF 10th MAY

What is the current government advice about Covid-19?

As of May 10 the government advice (https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus) to “stay home” was changed to “stay alert”.

They continue to advise people who can work from home to do so. Those unable to work from home are being allowed to return to work with the following guidance:

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
Do not leave home if you or anyone in your household has symptoms.

Do I need to wear a face mask in public?

The government has advised people to wear a face mask in public, which should cover your mouth and nose while allowing you to breathe comfortably.

There are some useful tips on how to make your own face mask, including with an old T-shirt, here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/how-to-wear-and-make-a-cloth-face-covering/how-to-wear-and-make-a-cloth-face-covering

Face coverings should not be used by children under the age of 2 or those who may find it difficult to manage them correctly. For example, primary age children unassisted, or those with respiratory conditions.

How can I get a test for Covid-19?

You can apply to get a test if you’re in one of the following groups:

·         all essential workers including NHS and social care workers with symptoms (see the full list of essential workers)

·         people over 65 with symptoms

·         people with symptoms going to work who cannot work from home (for example, construction workers, shop workers, emergency plumbers and delivery drivers)

·         anyone who has symptoms of coronavirus and lives with any of those identified above

·         social care workers and residents in care homes, with or without symptoms, both to investigate outbreaks and, following successful pilots, as part of a rolling programme to test all care homes (see the guidance for care home residents and workers in England)

·         NHS workers and patients without symptoms, in line with NHS England guidance.

*These lists apply to England only. 

Guidance says testing is most effective within 3 days of symptoms developing.

If you are eligible (as above) click here for the self-referral form: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-getting-tested

Anyone who thinks they may have Covid-19 can apply for a test.

Click here to do this: https://www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test

Guidance says testing is most effective within 3 days of symptoms developing.

There is another test, the antibody test to check if you’ve had coronavirus. This is not widely available yet. NHS staff are being offered an antibody test and this can be requested through your workplace.

As of August 1, shielding advice changed for many people in the UK. Vulnerable people were advised in March to stay at home, or shield, to avoid contracting Covid-19

Those who have been shielding since March include people in high-risk categories, such as those who have had an organ transplant, are receiving immunosuppressant drugs, undergoing chemotherapy and radiotherapy, or have severe respiratory conditions.

Now, they can return to work if they cannot work from home and as long as their workplace is Covid-secure. It is still advised they maintain social distancing when outside.

We know that this is really confusing at the moment. Click here for the latest shielding advice from the government

Kirklees council provide a good FAQ : https://www.kirklees.gov.uk/beta/health-and-well-being/coronavirus.aspx

Hand washing advice

Essential Advice

How to use the NHS

Spot the signs

A message from the Chief Medical Officer

What are the symptoms of coronavirus?

The symptoms of coronavirus infection Covid-19 are:

  • A cough
  • A high temperature
  • A shortness of breath

These symptoms do not necessarily mean you have the illness. These can be similar to other illnesses such as the cold and flu.

What do I do if I think you might have coronavirus?

Stay at home.

If you have symptoms of Covid-19, however mild stay at home for 7 days if you have either:

  • a high temperature
  • a new continuous cough

This will help to protect others in your community while you are infectious.

Do not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital even if you suspect you have mild symptoms.

Do I need to tell my GP/call 111 if I have Covid-19 symptoms?

You do not need to contact NHS 111 to tell them you’re staying at home. The NHS will not be testing those self-isolating with mild symptoms.

Stay at home guidance has now been produced and is available by clicking here

How long should I stay at home for if I have symptoms?

If you have symptoms, stay at home for 7 days.

If you live with other people, they should stay at home for 14 days from the day the first person got symptoms.

What should I do if my symptoms worsen?

If your symptoms worsen during home isolation, or are no better after 7 days, contact NHS 111 online.  If you have no internet access, you should call NHS 111.

For a medical emergency dial 999.

Is there a specific treatment for coronavirus?

There is currently no specific treatment for coronavirus.

Current treatment options aim to relieve the symptoms while your body fights the illness. You are advised to stay in isolation and away from other people until you’ve recovered.

Do I need antibiotics?
Antibiotics do not help, they do not work against viruses.

Can I still visit my GP?

All General Practices are having to alter the way they operate during this unprecedented time.

Do not visit your GP if you have symptoms of coronavirus.

Many GP surgeries are currently running a triage service, which means staff may ask you for symptoms. You may be offered an appointment by telephone or online.

Some face-to-face appointments, for example cervical screening tests, may be delayed. Baby immunisations should continue and patients are asked to follow the guidance given by the GP surgery.

What do I do if I want to see my GP rather than having a telephone appointment?

All GP practices are begin urged to move to a triage-first model as soon as possible. This will help protect patients, staff and reduce risk of the virus spreading.

Currently, unless seeing a patient is clinically-required, patients may be offered an appointment by telephone, video or online to support triage and remote management of patients.

This will mean doctors limit the number of patients they come into contact with and reduce the risk of coming into contact with the virus.

After the triage call, a clinician will decide:

  • If the patient needs a home visit
  • If the patient needs to come to the surgery,
  • Or they can attend an alternative nearby practice.

It is important that patients do not walk into their GP practice, whether that’s to make an appointment, hand in a prescription request or to ask about any other enquiries. All patients are asked to call their surgery first.

Practices are also being allowed to delay over-75 health checks, annual patient reviews and routine medication reviews, possibly until October.

How do I order my repeat prescription if I can’t visit the practice to ask?

GP surgeries are being urged to continue offering a repeat prescription service and they may use more online services. Call your GP surgery by telephone to ask what their policy is and what you can do if you do not have online access.

Can I visit a pharmacy to buy medicine if I suspect I have Covid-19 symptoms?

No, if you suspect you have Covid-19 symptoms you should not leave your house for 7 days, or 14 if you live in a household with someone with symptoms.

Medicines like paracetamol or liquid infant paracetamol may be useful if you/your child has symptoms, but you must ask a friend or relative to obtain it for you. You must not have contact with that person.

Should I still attend the hospital if I have an appointment booked?

Yes, however Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Trust say they will be contacting patients where changes are necessary. More clinics and appointments may be offered via telephone and video.

Urgent and emergency cases and cancer treatments will be carrying on as normal.  Patients with cancer can get the latest update here: https://www.cht.nhs.uk/services/clinical-services/oncology/cancer-and-coronavirus-covid-19/

Routine NHS services will inevitably come under pressure as the coronavirus spreads and every hospital in England has been asked to suspend all non-urgent elective operations from 15 April for at least three months, with some other procedures likely to be rescheduled before then so we can train our staff and adapt certain areas. 

Can I still go to the hospital for a blood test?

Do not attend if you have Covid-19 symptoms, or anyone in your household has symptoms.

April 15 update: To facilitate social distancing in the Phlebotomy Department at Calderdale Royal Hospital (CRH) and Huddersfield Royal Infirmary (HRI) it is moving to an appointment only service. This applies to patients attending for warfarin (INR) monitoring as well as patients attending for venepuncture blood tests.

From Monday 20th April, only patients who have a pre-booked appointments will be permitted to enter the Phlebotomy departments. This is to protect all patients and especially those who have medical conditions which increase their vulnerability to infection.

The patient appointment phone number is 01484 355765 for services at both CRH and HRI. The lines are open 9am-4pm Monday to Friday (excluding Bank Holidays). Appointments are released 7 days in advance of the scheduled appointment time. When patients phone to book an appointment, they should have their NHS or MRN (hospital number) to hand and specify whether they would prefer to attend CRH ot HRI (there is frequently more availability at CRH). Patients must bring their paper blood test request form when they attend their appointment. Digital images of request forms are not acceptable as they do not have the facilities to print in the Phlebotomy Department.

To facilitate social distancing, the CRH Phlebotomy Dept is now accessed directly via the Godfrey Road (Women and Childrens) car-park to avoid patients walking through the hospital.

The HRI Phlebomy Dept has relocated to Acre Mills which has a large car park and is situated across the road from the main HRI building.

The hospital trust has agreed a schedule with GP services in Calderdale with Phlebotomy provision. Appointments are made via GPs who will triage patients, possibly to a different GP practice. The main Phlebotomy providers are:

  • Kos Clinic, which accommodates Church Lane, Rydings, Rastrick, Northolme, Longroyd surgeries.
  • Meadowdale, which accomdates Beechwood, Keighley Road, Lister Lane, Plane Trees, Woodside and Mixenden surgeries.

Do not attend if you have Covid-19 symptoms, or anyone in your household has symptoms.

Can I visit a local hospital if a family member is there?

Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust has revised its visiting times. Click here for the latest guidance: https://www.cht.nhs.uk/patients-visitors/visiting-times-from-march-2020/

Click here for the visiting time guidance at Mid Yorkshire Hospital Trusts (Dewsbury): https://www.midyorks.nhs.uk/visiting-restrictions-

Maternity Services Information

We have been provided with a Maternity Services Update below:

In response to national guidance to help prevent the spread of covid-19, we have felt it necessary to make some changes to maternity appointments and visiting arrangements.

We are very sorry to ask you to do this at such an important time for you and your family, but your safety and that of your baby and your family is our top priority.

Ante natal and scan appointments

  • Please do not bring anyone to your appointment or scan — you must attend all your appointments alone to help prevent the spread of infection.

Birth partners

  • Always telephone Triage 01924 542069 / 543003 before you come in.
  • You may have one named birthing partner with you for the duration of your labour and delivery. The swapping of birthing partners is not permitted
  • Birth partners must be well and without symptoms of covid-19. Partners will be asked to wait outside until admission is confirmed.
  • If a named birth partner develops symptoms of covid-19 then women can bring a different birth partner, but they too must be symptom free.
  • Partners are not permitted to stay overnight in the ward areas.

Visitors

  • Only your birthing partner can visit you while you are in hospital or the Bronte Birth Centre at Dewsbury. We cannot allow any other visitors, this will help prevent the spread of infection.
  • Children are not permitted on the delivery suite and should not be brought to clinic.
  • Women will be discharged home as soon as possible, ensuring it is safe for them and their baby. 
  • Facetime/Skype calls can be used on your own mobile device to keep in touch with family and friends.

Home births
During these unprecedented times we are working to keep you and your families, and our staff safe. We have therefore taken the difficult decision to suspend our home birth service with immediate effect. We are very sorry if this decision has disappointed you.

We continue to run a full maternity service at Pinderfields Hospital in Wakefield and we look forward to welcoming you to our midwife led birth centre for the birth of your baby.

Your home birth team midwife will contact you to explain how they will continue to support you during your pregnancy and birth through our continuity of carer programme.

If you have any questions please contact your home birth team midwife in the first instance.

Can I still see my dentist?

Do not visit your dentist if you have symptoms of Covid-19.

Dental practices are being urged to reduce the number of routine check-ups by cancelling appointment for patients from vulnerable groups. Others who do not wish to attend can cancel their appointments to reduce the need to travel and have close contact with other people. You should contact your dental surgery to discuss this with them.

Updated guidance given to dental surgeries is that they should not deliver any service to people with potential Covid-19 symptoms or anyone in their household, during the self-isolating period of up to 14 days. This means you may be asked questions when you call to make an appointment.

Patients with urgent dental treatment needs that cannot be delayed, who have Covid-19 symptoms, should be referred to local services which are appropriate. Call your dental surgery or 111 if you think you require this.

Can my dentist strike me off their list if I don’t go for a routine appointment at this time?

Some dental practices require patients to have at least one appointment every 12 months. There is currently no guidance, but due to the unprecedented situation, our office in Calderdale has been told (23 March) it is unlikely anyone will be struck off a dental surgery list if they cannot attend. Patients are advised to call their dental surgery to discuss and book a future appointment. 

Can a Covid-19 patient be discharged from hospital into a care setting?

Yes, if a person has had Covid-19 symptoms, no longer has symptoms and has completed their isolation period, then they can be discharged from hospital into a care setting and care should be provided as normal.

If the person has previously tested positive for Covid-19, the hospital will provide the following:

The date and results of any Covid-19 test

The date of the onset of symptoms

A care plan for discharge from isolation

What should a care setting do if it suspects they have a Covid-19 patient?

Care homes are asked to follow social-distancing measures for everyone, where possible, and the shielding guidance for the extremely vulnerable group. (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-on-shielding-and-protecting-extremely-vulnerable-persons-from-covid-19)

Care homes are asked to implement daily monitoring of Covid-19 patients. They are asked to assess each resident twice a day for symptoms.

A person with suspected symptoms should be isolated into a single room with a bathroom, where possible. Any person with a fever or respiratory symptoms should be reported to NHS 111 for guidance. Testing may be offered following contact with NHS 111.

Care homes are told to instigate full infection control measures to limit the virus spreading to other care home residents and staff.

If the person’s symptoms worsen, and you believe they require hospital admission, this can be done.

Advice for staff who work in a care setting:

Guidance says Personal Protective Equipment should be work when caring for possible or confirmed Covid-19 patients.

For staff who have Covid-19 symptoms they should:

Not attend work if they develop symptoms

Notify their line manager immediately

Self-isolate for 7 days

South West Yorkshire Partnerships NHS Trust has made changes to its services to ensure it is able to continue to support patients with mental health and learning disabilities and support people to limit their risk of infection.

The trust is also developing services to respond to people whose mental health is affected as a result of social isolation measures. Detailed information is available on their website.

https://www.southwestyorkshire.nhs.uk/coronavirus/coronavirus-and-our-mental-health-and-wellbeing/

An easy read guide to looking after your feelings and your body is also now available.

All areas have been asked to commission a 24/7 open access mental health crisis line.  The line will be open to the public and aims to provide an alternative to A&E, 999 or 111 as the default.   In Kirklees we anticipate this new service will be up and running within the next 2 weeks.   We are also developing additional mental health support for NHS, community and other staff who are affected by the current situation.

Looking after your wellbeing while staying at home

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-stay-at-home-guidance/stay-at-home-guidance-for-households-with-possible-coronavirus-covid-19-infection

Mental Health Foundation (links below).

https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/publications/looking-after-your-mental-health-during-coronavirus-outbreak

NHS – Every Mind Matters – Coronavirus and mental wellbeing

Expert advice and practical tips to help people look after their mental health and wellbeing

https://www.nhs.uk/oneyou/every-mind-matters

Samaritans

https://www.samaritans.org/how-we-can-help/support-and-information/if-youre-having-difficult-time/if-youre-worried-about-your-mental-health-during-coronavirus-outbreak

Samaritans – Call free on 116 123 or visit the Samaritans website

Crisis support for young people – If you are under 35 and feel that life is not worth living any more, call Papyrus’s HopelineUK from 9am to 10pm weekdays and 2pm to 10pm on weekends.

Call HopelineUK on 0800 068 41 41

Text 07786 209697

CALM

CALM is the Campaign Against Living Miserably, for people in the UK who are down or have hit a wall for any reason.

Call 0800 58 58 58 (daily, 5pm to midnight)

Free, anonymous webchat with trained staff

Visit the CALM website

Calderdale and Kirklees Single Point of Access (adults):

Click here for the latest from the service provider: https://www.southwestyorkshire.nhs.uk/services/single-point-of-access-2/

What is self-isolation, and how do I do it?

Self-isolation

Self-isolation is about protecting others and slowing down the spread of COVID-19. It is very important that anyone who has the virus, or might have been exposed to it, limits the number of people they come into contact with. This is the most effective way of preventing the coronavirus from spreading.

Social distancing

Social distancing can include things like temporarily reducing socialising in public places such as entertainment or sports events, reducing use of non-essential public transport or recommending more home working.

What is social distancing? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Hi9-5F2zW4


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Helpful information and useful links

All the latest COVID-19 information for Kirklees

We collate as much information and guidance about COVID-19 as we can. National and local government guidance as well as links for health services affected. Contact us if you think there is anything missing or you have any questions regarding the information. 

Covid-19 FAQ