We're working closely with our NHS colleagues and neighbouring local authorities to ensure that residents in Central Bedfordshire are kept well informed about the outbreak of this virus and how to look after themselves and others.
You'll find lots of information around the virus, how to prevent its spread and what to do if you're concerned that you might be at risk.
The information and advice changes regularly, the most up to date guidance and help can be found on the NHS website.
The main symptoms of coronavirus are:
- high temperature – this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)
- 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)
- loss 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
If you are concerned about symptoms or potential exposure to the virus, the NHS online tool can provide helpful advice and instruction. If you need further advice, then please ring 111.
You will need to stay in isolation away from other people until you've recovered.
If you have symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19), you can ask for a test to check if you have the virus. This is called an antigen test.
Do not wait - ask for the test as soon as you have symptoms because you need to get the test done in the first 5 days of having symptoms.
You can ask for a test for yourself, if you have coronavirus symptoms now, or for someone you live with, if they have coronavirus symptoms (including a child who lives with you, whatever their age).
You can read more about testing on the NHS website.
Test and Trace
Find out information about testing for coronavirus and what to do if you're contacted by the NHS Test and Trace service.
Everyone should do what they can to stop coronavirus spreading.
It is particularly important for people who are considered to be at higher risk of being seriously ill from coronavirus.
People who are 70 or over, have a long-term health conditions, are pregnant or have a weakened immune system are considered to be at higher risk.
More information and advice about who is higher risk and how they can protect themselves is available on the NHS website.
Clinically extremely vulnerable groups
People falling into this clinically extremely vulnerable group include:
- solid organ transplant recipients
- people with specific cancers
- 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
- adults with Down’s syndrome
- adults on dialysis with chronic kidney disease (stage 5)
The government has asked those who were previously identified as clinically extremely vulnerable and at highest risk of becoming unwell if catching COVID-19 to take extra precautions during lockdown. Visit the government's website for full guidance.
Whilst this is not a return to the very restrictive shielding advice earlier in the year, those who are clinically extremely vulnerable are strongly advised to follow these extra precautionary shielding measures to help keep themselves safe.
If you are clinically extremely vulnerable, you can register for support on the government website.
If you've already registered with GOV.UK
If, when you registered with GOV.UK, you said that you're not able to manage your personal care and support needs, you can ask us for a needs assessment.
Avoid catching or spreading coronavirus
- wash your hands with soap and water often – do this for at least 20 seconds
- always wash your hands when you get home or into work
- use hand sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available
- cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze
- put used tissues in the bin immediately and wash your hands afterwards
- try to avoid close contact with people who are unwell
- avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean
- keep social distancing, as much as you can, from others outside of your household
- wear a face covering in shops and other indoor places
- wear a face covering on public transport
Social distancing concerns
If you have difficulties or concerns maintaining social distancing when you're out and about, you can get "Please give me space" phone and printable badges on GOV.UK.
We have been responding to the outbreak of COVID-19 now some time and during that time, a sad reality of the pandemic is that many people will experience the loss of loved ones.
Many of us are coming to terms with the passing of family members, friends, and co-workers. This is an incredibly difficult time, and we all deal with grief in different ways. There is a range of advice and support available to help you.
Alternatively, you can check our directory of local and national support organisations.
Looking after your wellbeing
Public Health England has published guidance for the public on practical steps people can take to look after their mental wellbeing and specific guidance for parents and carers on supporting children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing during the COVID-19 outbreak.
PHE has also updated its Every Mind Matters platform with specific advice on maintaining good mental wellbeing during the current situation. This is in addition to useful resources you may have already seen, including World Health Organisation guidance on mental health and psychological resilience during the COVID-19 pandemic and wellbeing information from Mind.
Staying active in your home and getting daily exercise will help both your mental and physical health.
The NHS Live Well website contains lots of information to help you keep fit and healthy.
With life very different at the moment and hard in many ways, our Path to Recovery service is available, and a one-stop service for advice, support, and treatment to those over 18 whose lives are affected by alcohol or drug use.
Measures announced over recent weeks to tackle COVID-19 have seen people’s day-to-day drastically altered.
The order to stay at home can cause anxiety for those who are experiencing or feel at risk of domestic abuse. Domestic abuse is unacceptable in any situation, no matter what stresses you are under.
GOV.UK has advice on the safe disposal of waste during COVID-19 - Coronavirus.
You can use this form to request support from our Community Partners who will help with food and pharmacy collections. We can also make arrangements for you to receive a priority supermarket booking slot if you are unable to arrange one online yourself.
Adult social care support
If you have any care or support needs you can ask us for a needs assessment. The assessment will look at both your physical, mental and emotional needs.
Financial help (emergency provision)
Financial help (emergency provision) is available following an emergency or crisis to meet the immediate day-to-day expenses relating to food and utilities. Supermarket vouchers and top-ups for pre-paid energy meters are provided to meet these needs.
To apply, you must permanently residing within Central Bedfordshire:
- 16 years or older
- in an emergency situation and not have enough money to meet the immediate needs of you and your family
You do not need to be in receipt of any benefit or entitlement.
If you need to contact us in an emergency, please call 0300 300 8900.
Supporting recovery after COVID-19
If you have had COVID-19 and you find yourself recovering from it, you may still be coming to terms with the impact the virus has had on both your body and mind.
Visit the NHS' Your COVID Recovery website, for help to understand what has happened and what you might expect as part of your recovery.