Coronavirus - what you need to know
What is coronavirus?
Coronavirus (COVID-19) is a new respiratory illness that has not previously been seen in humans. The risk of getting the illness in the UK is high.
A coronavirus is a type of virus with symptoms typically including a fever and a cough that may develop to a severe pneumonia resulting in shortness of breath. People with weakened immune systems, older people, and those with long-term conditions like diabetes, cancer and chronic lung disease are more at risk.
But these symptoms do not necessarily mean you have the illness. The symptoms are similar to other illnesses that are much more common, such as cold and flu.
Current advice if you or someone you know has symptoms
If you or someone you know is displaying symptoms of coronavirus please do not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital. The latest advice on what to do is available on the NHS website.
This page also includes a link to the NHS 111 online coronavirus service.
Visiting our hospitals and clinics
In line with the focus of national guidance on social isolation we are now asking people not to visit people in our hospital services for the time being.
If you have an appointment, our hospitals and clinics are running, however we are taking precautions in line with the rest of the NHS. Please attend your appointment as normal unless we have contacted you to make alternative arrangements or if you, or someone you live with, have:
- a new, continuous cough
- a temperature (fever) of 37.8 degrees celsius or more
If someone you live with is displaying symptoms you should self isolate for 14 days from the day the first person showed symptoms. Follow the latest advice, which you can find here
If you have an appointment with our Child and Adult Mental Health Services (CAMHS) please see their websites for specific information about appointments:
Where can I get the latest information?
Public Health England (PHE) is leading the national COVID-19 response and providing messaging and advice to the public. You can read the latest Department of Health and Social Care and Public Health England advice here
Information about countries and specified areas affected by COVID-19, along with information for travellers returning to the UK, is available here
PHE also has a suite of guidance available for healthcare professionals in clinical settings.
What can I do to protect myself?
You can help prevent the spread of germs and infection by following PHE advice:
- Always carry tissues with you and use them to catch your cough or sneeze. Then bin the tissue and wash your hands. If you don't have a tissue use your sleeve, not your hands.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after using public transport, and when you get home or into work.
- Use hand sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with people who are unwell.
There's a lot of information out there and we know that it can sometimes feel a bit overwhelming. It's important to acknowledge how you are feeling emotionally as well as looking out for your physical health, so we've pulled together some useful advice and guidance to help you do just that.
Information for service users
In conjunction with our Experts by Experience we have put together some information responding to frequently asked questions. We hope this is useful for you.
Information for staff
We're regularly updating our staff intranet with the latest information and clinical guidance. You will find a link on the intranet homepage.
We've also put together a list of frequently asked questions to help you. These are available on the staff intranet but we are aware that some of you may not always have access to this page, so we've added them here as well.
*Updated 30 March* Read the frequently asked questions
If you need any further information or guidance please contact your line manager in the first instance.