Coronavirus - COVID-19

Health advice

Coronavirus remains a serious health risk. It’s important to stay cautious and help protect yourself and others.

We continue to work closely with our NHS colleagues and neighbouring local authorities to ensure that residents in Central Bedfordshire are kept well informed about COVID-19 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

What to do if you have symptoms

If you have any of the main symptoms of COVID-19, even if they're mild:

  1. Get a PCR test (test that is sent to a lab) to check if you have COVID-19 as soon as possible.
  2. You and anyone you live with should stay at home and not have visitors until you get your test result – only leave your home to have a test.

Get a PCR test to check if you have COVID-19 on GOV.UK

Avoid catching or spreading coronavirus

COVID-19 remains a serious health risk. You should stay cautious to help protect yourself and others.

You should:

  • let fresh air in if you meet indoors (meeting outdoors is safer)
  • wear a face covering in crowded and enclosed spaces where you come into contact with people you do not normally meet (from 30 November face coverings will be compulsory in shops and on public transport)
  • get tested and self-isolate if required
  • get vaccinated, if you haven’t already

Find out how to stay safe and help prevent the spread.


There are different tests you can get to check if you have coronavirus (COVID-19). The test you need depends on why you're getting tested.

The 2 main tests are:

  • PCR tests – mainly for people with symptoms, they're sent to a lab to be checked
  • rapid lateral flow tests – only for people who do not have symptoms, they give a quick result using a device similar to a pregnancy test

Both tests are free.

If you have symptoms of COVID-19

Get a PCR test as soon as possible if you have any of these symptoms, even if mild:

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

You and anyone you live with should stay at home until you get your test result. Only leave your home to have a test.

Get a PCR test if you have symptoms of COVID-19 on GOV.UK

Regular tests if you do not have symptoms

Around 1 in 3 people with COVID-19 do not have any symptoms. This means they could be spreading the virus without knowing it. Testing regularly increases the chances of detecting COVID-19 when you are infectious but are not displaying symptoms, helping to make sure you do not spread COVID-19 by staying at home and self-isolating immediately.

Rapid lateral flow testing continues to be available free of charge. You can get tests from our rapid test centres, our libraries, local pharmacies or online.

You are at higher risk of catching or passing on COVID-19 in crowded and enclosed spaces, where there are more people who might be infectious and where there is limited fresh air.

You may wish to take a rapid lateral flow test if it is expected that there will be a period of high risk that day. This includes spending time in crowded and enclosed spaces, or before visiting people who are at higher risk of severe illness if they get COVID-19.

Certain places such as health and social care settings, schools and prisons are likely to have their own specific testing rules and guidance. You should always make sure you are aware of this guidance if you visit or work in these places.

If you develop COVID-19 symptoms, self-isolate immediately and get a PCR test.

Get regular rapid COVID-19 tests if you do not have symptoms.

Bereavement support

Many of us are coming to terms with the passing of family members, friends, and co-workers. There is a range of advice and support available to help you. 

GOV.UK has several bereavement support platforms and networks on offer.

Alternatively, you can check our directory of local and national support organisations.

Looking after your wellbeing

Find out what to do if you're in a mental health crisis.

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.

Public Health England has also updated its Every Mind Matters website with specific advice on maintaining good mental wellbeing during the current situation.

Domestic abuse

Although many restrictions have been lifted, support remains for you if you are experiencing or feel at risk of domestic abuse. Domestic abuse is unacceptable in any situation, no matter what stresses you are under.

For anyone who feels they are at risk of abuse, there is help and support available to you. The government has also provided some additional resources and advice.

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.

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.