UPDATED ADVICE TO KEEP YOU SAFE FROM CORONAVIRUS 10/6/20
New advice for shielding patients from the Chief Medical Officer/Medical Director NHS Wales
You can now leave your house and go outside, for exercise or to meet people. You can meet people from another household, as long as you meet them outside. You must stay 2m or three steps away from them at all times. You must wash your hands regularly.
My advice to you has changed because:
1) The number of people who have coronavirus in Wales has gone down.
2) We have learned more about how coronavirus behaves. We know the virus does not spread as easily outside as it does indoors. The risk of catching coronavirus outside is low if you stay 2m or 3 steps away from people and wash your hands often.
But coronavirus has not gone away. We still need your help to keep you safe. You should stay away from busy outdoor places where people might get too close. Stay close to home so you do not have to use a toilet that is not your own.
The rest of my advice stays the same. You should not go anywhere indoors other than your own home. You should not go to the shops. If you are school age you should not leave home to go to school. If you are employed, you should not leave home to go work - please show this letter to your employer. You do not need to get a fit note from your GP.
Latest information about Coronavirus and Shielding patients
Further information about coronavirus, including the latest guidance in EASY READ and BSL is available on the Welsh Government and Public Health Wales websites. Please look at these regularly for latest advice:
This letter is available in other formats and languages on request, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
If you have a learning disability and need some support understanding this letter you can contact the Wales Learning Disability Helpline on 0808 8000 300 – it is free to phone and is open from 9am to 5pm every day including bank holidays. You can also email: email@example.com
Things you should be doing to stay safe
· DO keep 2m or three steps away from other people outside your home and within your home. It will be more difficult in your home if you live with others but you should try to do it as best you can.
· DO leave your home to undertake exercise if you want to. You can leave your home to exercise outside as many times as you want to but please stay local and try to avoid busy places so you can keep 2m or three steps away from other people.
· DO meet outside with people from another house locally if you want to but always keep 2m or three steps away.
· DO regularly wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds.
· DO ask neighbours, friends and family to bring you food and medicine.
· DO contact your local supermarket for priority online shopping.
· DO keep in touch with people using the phone, internet and social media.
· DO use telephone or online services to contact your GP, pharmacy or other day-to-day services.
· DO contact your local council it you have no one who can help you. The number is at the end of this letter.
Things you should not be doing to stay safe
· DO NOT get close to with anyone who is showing signs of coronavirus. This could be any or all of the following: high temperature (above 37.8 °C), a new and continuous cough, a loss of taste or smell.
· DO NOT attend any gatherings indoors. This includes gatherings of friends and families – for example, in family homes or weddings and religious services.
· DO NOT go out shopping. When arranging food deliveries, these should be left at the front door.
· DO NOT go to your GP, pharmacy or hospital without phoning first. You should speak to your pharmacy about how you can get your medicine.
· DO NOT go to your place of work if this is outside your home. You should only work if you can work from home.
· DO NOT go to school. You should learn from home.
Urgent medical attention
If you have an urgent medical question relating to your existing medical condition telephone your GP practice or your specialist hospital care team. Where possible, you will be supported by phone or online. If your doctor decides you need to be seen, the NHS will contact you to arrange how to do this.
What if I get coronavirus?
If you develop symptoms of coronavirus – a high temperature (above 37.8 °C), a new and continuous cough or loss of smell or taste – you should use the online coronavirus service (www.gov.wales/check-if-you-need-coronavirus-medical-help) or, if you do not have access to the internet call 111.
If you get coronavirus and you need to go to hospital you will need to take a bag with the things you need for an overnight stay. Take an emergency contact number and any medication you are on.
If you have an advanced care plan, please include it.
Living with other people in your home
If you live with other people they do not need to shield themselves. You should:
· Try not to be in the same room. If you have to be in the same room try and keep a window open.
· Try to keep 2m or three steps away from them as much as you can. Do not sleep in the same bed if you can avoid it.
· Do not share towels. Use different bathrooms if you can. If you share a bathroom, clean it after every use.
· Avoid using the kitchen at the same time as others and eat your meals in different rooms. Clean all cups, plates and cutlery.
Carers and support workers who come to your home
Carers or support workers who support you with your everyday needs can continue to visit you, unless they have signs of coronavirus.
All carers or support workers must wash their hands with soap and water for 20 seconds when they enter your home and often while they are in your home.
If you do not have your prescriptions collected or delivered, you will need to arrange this.
- Ask someone to pick up your prescription from your local pharmacy to help (this is the best option).
- If you do not have anyone who can help, telephone your pharmacy and ask them to deliver your prescription. Let them know you are in a high-risk group and are being asked to stay at home.
You may also need to arrange any special medication prescribed to you by your hospital care team to be collected or delivered to you.
Planned GP appointments
Wherever possible, GP appointments will be provided by phone, email or online. If you need to be seen, your GP practice will contact you to let you know what you should do.
Planned hospital appointments
Your hospital or clinic will contact you if any changes need to be made to your care or treatment. Please phone your hospital or clinic if you have any questions about your appointment.
Support with daily living
Please discuss any ongoing needs you have with your carers, family, friends, neighbours or local community groups to see how they can support you.
If you do not have anyone who can help you, please contact your local council. The contact details for each local council are at the end of this letter.
If you are employed, please show this letter to your employer. You cannot go to your normal place of work – you will need to work at home until at least the 16 August 2020 or until I tell you it is safe to return. You do not need to get a fit note from your GP.
If you do not have enough money to pay your bills, it is really important to seek help and to do this as early as possible. Call Citizen’s Advice free on 03444 77 20 20 or visit the Citizens Advice website: www.citizensadvice.org.uk/about-us/contact-us/contact-us/contact-us/
If you need help from the welfare system, you can also visit: www.gov.uk/universal-credit or call the Universal Credit Helpline on 0800 328 5644 (0800 328 1744 for Welsh language).
You can also apply online for the Welsh Government’s Discretionary Assistance Fund payment at: www.gov.wales/discretionary-assistance-fund-daf/how-apply or by calling free on 0800 859 5924.
If you feel that you have been treated unfairly by your employer, or somebody who gives you a service, then the Equality Advisory and Support Service (EASS) offers a free advice service which you can access by calling 0808 800 0082, by text phone on 0808 800 0084 or by visiting their website: www.equalityadvisoryservice.com
Looking after your wellbeing
These changes may be very positive news for some people, but for some it may be frightening. Even with some time outdoors, spending long periods at home can be frustrating, worrying and lonely. Taking care of your mental wellbeing is important. These are some ideas about how you can do that:
· Noticing how you are doing and thinking about if you can do anything differently. Thinking about ways to take care of your wellbeing can help.
· Not judging yourself when you are having a hard day. There are different ways you may be able to reassure yourself. Why not try some calming activities, such as relaxation exercises or talking to others.
· Focusing on the positive. Being away from those you care for and not being able to do normal activities can be hard to accept, but focusing on the idea that you are being protected and cared for, can help. Looking at the positives can be a good way to cope.
· Focusing on what you can control, like your thoughts and behaviours. This will have a big impact on how you are feeling and being kind to yourself is a good way to do this.
· Connecting with others. Shielding is about protection, but it can also make you feel lonely and left out. How you feel matters, so do not struggle alone. Reach out and ask for help from friends and family or from local organisations.
Further information about staying well at home is available at the Public Health Wales website: www.phw.nhs.wales/topics/latest-information-on-novel-coronavirus-covid-19/how-are-you-doing/
If you need to speak to someone, the CALL Helpline provides confidential listening and emotional support in Wales, 24 hours a day – call 0800 132 737 or visit: www.callhelpline.org.uk/
Older people, their family, friends, carers, or professionals can also contact Age Cymru’s Advice Line on 08000 223 444
You can contact your local council to discuss what other help is available in your area from voluntary and third sector organisati