Coronavirus

Coronavirus

Covid-19 Update

Do not leave home if you or anyone in your household has symptoms.

New National Restrictions from 5 November – Click here to read more about what you can and cannot do

 

Ask for an antigen test to check if you have coronavirus now

 

The latest NHS information and advice about coronavirus (COVID-19):

  1. Check if you or your child has coronavirus symptomsFind out about the main symptoms of coronavirus and where to get medical advice if you think you have them.
  2. Self-isolation and treatment if you have symptoms – Advice about staying at home (self-isolating) and treatment for you and anyone you live with.
  3. People at higher risk from coronavirusAdvice for people at higher risk from coronavirus, including older people, people with health conditions and pregnant women.
  4. Testing and tracingInformation about testing for coronavirus and what to do if you’re contacted by the NHS Test and Trace service.
  5. People at higher risk from coronavirusAdvice for people at higher risk from coronavirus, including older people, people with health conditions and pregnant women.
  6. Social distancing and changes to everyday lifeAdvice about avoiding close contact with other people (social distancing), looking after your wellbeing and using the NHS and other services during coronavirus.
  7. Links to more information about coronavirusLinks to government advice, information for health professionals and advice for other parts of the UK.

 

For further information go to nhs.uk/coronavirus or gov.uk/coronavirus.

Updated Advice To Those Shielding

Those who have been identified as clinically extremely vulnerable are thought to be at high risk of developing serious illness following COVID-19 infection. On 23 March, the Government advised all those considered to be clinically extremely vulnerable to shield at home and avoid all face-to-face contact, in order to protect them from COVID-19. Initial advice recommended shielding for a period of 12 weeks, which was expected to cover the initial peak of the epidemic which happened in April. The advice was then updated to apply up to 30th June. This guidance has always been, and will remain, advisory.

The latest evidence indicates that the prevalence of COVID-19 in the community has continued to decline. As a result, the Government has reviewed its guidance on shielding.
We know that the advice to those shielding has been challenging to follow and that it will take time for those affected to adjust and return to normal daily life. That is why the Government advice to those who are considered clinically extremely vulnerable will be relaxed in two stages:
• From 6 July, the clinically extremely vulnerable may, if they wish: • meet in a group of up to 6 people outdoors, including people from different households, while maintaining strict social distancing;

• no longer observe social distancing with other members of their household; and
• in line with the wider guidance for single adult households (either an adult living alone or with dependent children under 18) in the general population, form a ‘support bubble’ with one other household. All those in a support bubble will be able to spend time together inside each other’s homes, including overnight, without needing to socially distance.
• People can go to work, if they cannot work from home, as long as the business is COVID-safe;
• children who are clinically extremely vulnerable can return to their education settings if they are eligible and in line with their peers. Where possible children should practise frequent hand washing and social distancing;
• people can go outside to buy food, to places of worship and for exercise but should maintain strict social distancing; and
• people should remain cautious as they are still at risk of severe illness if they catch Coronavirus, so the advice is to stay at home where possible and, if they do go out, follow strict social distancing.

This is a small advisory change that brings those affected a step nearer others in their communities. However, all the other current shielding advice will remain unchanged at this time.
From 1 August, provided there are no significant increases in incidents, the guidance will be further relaxed.

The current advice can be found on GOV.UK.

Government support for this group, including food box provision and free medicines deliveries, will continue until the end of July to allow for a graduated return to normal life. Patients can continue to access other support from local government and the NHS Volunteer
Over the next few days the Government will be writing to all patients who are currently on the Shielded Patient List to inform them of these updates.

The Government will also be writing to all those who have been removed from the list by clinicians up to now, to ensure they are aware they no longer need to shield. For this latter group this will be a permanent change and their names will not be retained on the Shielded Patient List.

Coronavirus testing in Hertfordshire and new ‘Test and Trace’ explained

The new national NHS ‘Test and Trace’ programme has been launched and is now in operation in our county.

This means that if you have a test which shows that you have coronavirus, you will be contacted by someone from the NHS Test and Trace team. You will be told that you must self-isolate for 14 days and will be asked to supply the details of anyone you have been in close contact with, from the two days before your symptoms started. Those people will then also be contacted by the NHS Test and Trace team and told that they need to self-isolate for 14 days.

If you receive a positive test result, or if you have been in close contact with someone who tests positive, it is very important for your own health and the health of those around you that you self-isolate. This applies even if you feel well and don’t have any symptoms. You could still be a carrier of the virus and the people you meet could get the virus from you and be seriously affected.

Stopping COVID-19 from spreading is crucial to prevent more lives from being lost.

Genuine contract tracers will:

  • call you from 0300 013 5000
  • send you text messages from ‘NHS’
  • ask you to sign into the NHS test and trace contact-tracing website
  • ask for your full name and date of birth to confirm your identity, and postcode to offer support while self-isolating
  • ask about the coronavirus symptoms you have been experiencing
  • ask you to provide the name, telephone number and/or email address of anyone you have had close contact with from the two days before your symptoms started
  • ask if anyone you have been in contact with is under 18 or lives outside of England.

Search online for ‘NHS Test and Trace – how it works’ for more information. You will never be asked to disclose bank details or ring an expensive phone number beginning with 09 or 087 by a genuine Test and Trace team member.

Improved access to test booking Anyone in Hertfordshire with suspected coronavirus symptoms can book either a mail-order or drive-through test if they need one. For those who can’t go online to http://www.gov.uk/coronavirus to book a test, or for anyone who needs additional help, a new telephone call centre is available –ring 119 between 7am and 11pm or 18001 0300 303 2713 if you have hearing or speech difficulties.

The coronavirus call centre can help you to book a test, answer your enquiries about the testing process and what to do once you have your result, or chase up any delayed results.
Hertfordshire’s mobile test sites are all open between 10am and 4pm and are as follows:

  • on Thursdays in Watford at the Central Watford leisure centre, WD17 3HA
  • on Saturdays in Hertford at County Hall, Pegs Lane, SG13 8DQ
  • on Sundays in Watford at the Central Watford leisure centre, WD17 3HA
  • on Mondays in Stevenage, off Six Hills Way, SG1 2DF.

Please follow the signs to the test centre, to ensure that you do not join a queue for the Household Waste Recycling Centre. Please bring a phone to the test centre if you have one.

New antibody tests becoming available in Hertfordshire 
A new COVID-19 antibody blood test, which shows whether someone has been exposed to the virus in the past, is beginning to be rolled out to NHS staff in Hertfordshire. The test is starting to become available to those who want to take part and is carried out by a healthcare professional, taking a sample of blood. Although the test can tell somebody that they have had the virus in the past, this doesn’t necessarily mean that they are immune to getting it in future. Everyone must continue to follow social distancing and hygiene measures and must isolate if they are a close contact of someone who tests positive for coronavirus.

The test is designed to help the government and scientists to gain a better understanding of how the virus spreads and how different areas have been affected.

Appointments

From Monday 16th March we have changed the way we book all appointments. Patients wishing to see a doctor or nurse practitioner will ALWAYS speak to a clinician BEFORE an appointment can be booked. Please do not come to the surgery to make an appointment. 

 

What if I already have an appointment?

If you already have an appointment with us, don’t worry your appointment has not been cancelled. You will receive a phone call from the practice to see if your problem can be dealt with over the phone. If it can not be dealt with over the phone and is of an urgent nature the practice will ensure that you are OK to come in.

 

What should I do if I feel ill and need an urgent appointment but don’t yet have one?

If you think your problem is urgent and you need to be seen, please use Online Consult or call the surgery as normal. The practice is open and you will be seen if needed.

 

How do I make a non-urgent appointment with the surgery?

To ensure the safety of our patients and staff we are trying to reduce the footfall into the practice. We are still open and happy to help but are increasing telephone and video consultations.

 

How do I request my prescription?

Prescription requests can be made online, via email, on our website or via your pharmacy.

Rescue Packs - Inaccurate Information

Inaccurate information circulating regarding special ‘rescue packs’ for patients with pre-existing respiratory conditions

We have been made aware of some inaccurate information circulating regarding special ‘rescue packs’ for patients with pre-existing respiratory conditions such as asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

Please do not contact your GP practice for a rescue pack. You should continue to manage your condition in the usual way and if you feel you have symptoms of COVID-19, go to https://111.nhs.uk/covid-19 before doing anything else.

For patients with pre-existing respiratory conditions such as asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

Please do not contact your GP practice for a rescue pack. You should continue to manage your condition in the usual way and if you feel you have symptoms of COVID-19, go to https://111.nhs.uk/covid-19 before doing anything else.