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. 

Visit the NHS website for coronavirus advice

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:

Visit the Hampshire CAMHS website

Visit the Sussex CAMHS website

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

Locally, the Public Health Teams at West Sussex County CouncilEast Sussex County Council and Brighton & Hove City Council are working closely with PHE to monitor and respond to the situation.

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.

Useful information 

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.

Looking after your mental health

Information for people with a learning disability

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.

What is social distancing?

What can I do to help?

What if I am currently in hospital?

What if I am being supported by a Community Team?

What if I am in hospital with someone who has Coronavirus (COVID-19)?

What if I have COVID-19 when I am in hospital?

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.