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.
Everyone should do what they can to stop coronavirus spreading.
It is particularly important for people who:
- are 70 or over
- have a long-term condition
- are pregnant
- have a weakened immune system
Extremely vulnerable groups
Government guidance has been published for people who are extremely medically vulnerable to coronavirus to ask them to stay at home and avoid all non-essential contact for at least 12 weeks.
People falling into this 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
If you think you have a condition which makes you extremely vulnerable or have received a letter from NHS England you are strongly advised to shield yourself, to reduce the chance of getting coronavirus (COVID-19) and follow the face-to-face distancing measures below.
Shielding measures are:
- strictly avoid contact with someone who is displaying symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19). These symptoms include high temperature and/or new and continuous cough
- do not leave your house
- do not attend any gatherings. This includes gatherings of friends and families in private spaces for example family homes, weddings and religious services
- do not go out for shopping, leisure or travel and, when arranging food or medication deliveries, these should be left at the door to minimise contact
- keep in touch using remote technology such as phone, internet, and social media
Do use telephone or online services to contact your GP or other essential services.
If you are extremely vulnerable, you can register for support on the Government website www.gov.uk/coronavirus-extremely-vulnerable.
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
We have been responding to the outbreak of COVID19 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.
Please use the online form above in the first instance. If you need to contact us in an emergency, please call 0300 300 8900.