Health information and advice

The symptoms of Coronavirus are:

  • a new continuous cough or
  • fever or
  • loss of/change in smell or taste.

You should self-isolate at home if you are feeling ill or someone in your household has symptoms in line with government guidance.

This will help to protect your colleagues, service users and others in your community. You do not need to contact NHS 111 to tell them you’re staying at home. If you are self-isolating with symptoms, please follow the council’s normal absence reporting procedures.

You should continue to follow the key public health advice that can help stop the spread of illnesses, including coronavirus (COVID-19) - see the advice in the next section.

The symptoms of Coronavirus are:

  • a new continuous cough or
  • fever or
  • loss of/change in smell or taste.

You should self-isolate at home if you are feeling ill or someone in your household has symptoms in line with government guidance.

This will help to protect your colleagues, service users and others in your community. You do not need to contact NHS 111 to tell them you’re staying at home. If you are self-isolating with symptoms, please follow the council’s normal absence reporting procedures.

You should continue to follow the key public health advice that can help stop the spread of illnesses, including coronavirus (COVID-19) - see the advice in the next section.

  • Preventing infection

    30 March, 2020

    Everyone is being reminded to follow Public Health England advice to prevent the spread of infection:

    • wash your hands often - with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available. This is particularly important after taking public transport
    • avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands
    • avoid close contact with people who are sick
    • if you feel unwell, stay at home, do not attend work or school
    • always carry tissues with you to cover your cough or sneeze, then throw the tissue in a bin. See Catch it, Bin it, Kill it
    • clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces in the home and work environment
    • if you are worried about your symptoms, please call NHS 111. Do not go directly to your GP or other healthcare environment
    • if you are showing symptoms, follow PHE guidance.
  • How the virus is spread

    30 March, 2020

    From what is known about other coronaviruses, transmission of COVID-19 is most likely to happen when there is close contact (within 2 metres) with a symptomatic individual. It is likely that the risk of transmission increases the longer someone has close contact with an infected person.

    There are two main routes by which COVID-19 can spread:

    • infection can be spread to people through close contact (within 2 metres) with infected individuals and respiratory droplets generated during coughing and sneezing
    • it is also possible that someone may become infected by touching a surface, object or the hand of an infected person that has been contaminated with respiratory secretions and then touching their own mouth, nose, or eyes (such as touching a door knob or shaking hands then touching your own face).

    Therefore, regular hand hygiene and cleaning of frequently touched surfaces will help to reduce the risk of infection.

  • Advice on self-isolation

    30 March, 2020

    If you think you are showing symptoms of corona virus, you should follow this advice:

    • if you live alone and you have symptoms of coronavirus illness (COVID-19), however mild, stay at home for 10 days from when your symptoms started. You should not leave the house.

    If you can work from home, and are well enough, you can continue to work. If you are too ill to work, you should let your manager know as soon as possible.

    You should return to work on your next working day after Day 10 (if you no longer have symptoms).

    • if you live with others and you or one of them have symptoms of coronavirus, then all household members must stay at home and not leave the house for 14 days. The 14-day period starts from the day when the first person in the house became ill
    • it is likely that people living within a household will infect each other or be infected already. Staying at home for 14 days will greatly reduce the overall amount of infection the household could pass on to others in the community
    • for anyone in the household who starts displaying symptoms, they need to stay at home for 10 days from when the symptoms appeared, regardless of what day they are on in the original 14-day isolation period
    • if you can, move any vulnerable individuals (such as the elderly and those with underlying health conditions) out of your home, to stay with friends or family for the duration of the home isolation period
    • if you cannot move vulnerable people out of your home, stay away from them as much as possible.

    We know that this can seem complicated and HR have had a number of questions about self-isolation. For more detailed advice, please see our Spotlight on self-isolation guide.

  • Vulnerable and extremely vulnerable people

    30 March, 2020

    Following new Government guidance, which says that shielding for clinically extremely vulnerable groups is being paused, employees in these groups can now return to work in frontline services from 1 August. Employees who are currently working from home should continue to do so until at least September.

    If you are in this group, you may be able to return to your workplace. This will depend on the workplace and work environment being Covid-safe and a full Covid-19 risk assessment having taken place. We will write to you to explain about any return to work.

    Any arrangements for a return to work will be designed with your safety at heart. Your manager will discuss any reasonable adjustments to help you return to work (such as detailed work locations and start and finish times). PPE will be provided to you where this identified in your individual health risk assessment.

    Your manager will produce an individual return to work plan for you and will:

    • explain the return to work plan to you and discuss any working arrangements in detail
    • listen to your issues and concerns
    • reassure you that all arrangements have been made with your safety at their heart
    • ensure that all your concerns are addressed

    We will also carry out an individual Occupation Health assessment, put a full support package in place and provide you with a ‘welcome back’ pack.

  • Social distancing

    30 March, 2020

    Social distancing measures are steps you can take to reduce social interaction between people. This will help reduce the transmission of coronavirus (COVID-19).

    You should follow the government guidance on social distancing.

  • Health advice for people participating in protests

    11 June, 2020

    This national guidance has been produced giving advice on health protection and social distancing for consideration by people attending protests.

  • COVID-19 testing

    05 May, 2020

    COVID-19 testing is now available for anyone who has symptoms.

    Testing is available:

    • at a drive-through or walk-in facility in the borough and surrounding boroughs on certain days
    • at other regional drive-through locations
    • by booking a home test.

    Employees should book a test by visiting the self-referral website or phoning 119.

    The test only works during the first five days of symptoms, so it is really important that you take prompt action if you have symptoms, seven days a week,

    You must also let your manager know that you have symptoms immediately so that this can be recorded on Oracle.

    For more information on testing, please see the national guidance.

  • Test and Trace

    22 June, 2020

    The NHS Test and Trace programme helps prevent the spread of Covid-19 and contain and stop further outbreaks. It is a tried and tested method for Public Health to control the spread of many infectious diseases.

    It works by identifying contacts of people who have tested positive and by encouraging them to self-isolate and closely monitor their health, rather than continuing to mix with others and passing the virus on.

    If you are contacted by NHS Test and Trace you must self-isolate for 14 days and tell your manager. You should take a test if you develop symptoms by calling 119 or visiting the self-referral website.(External link)

    Members of your household do not need to self-isolate unless you think you have symptoms,

    For more information on what to do if you have Covid-19 symptoms, have a positive text or are contacted by NHS Test and Trace please go to the Covid-19 symptoms and testing – what you need to know section.

  • Preventing and controlling COVID-19 infection

    02 July, 2020

    The council has produced new general (non-clinical) guidance on preventing and controlling COVID-19 infection in the workplace.

    This has been written based on guidance from the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC), Public Health England (PHE), NHS England, Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and the Association for Public Service Excellence (APSE).

    Links to their own guidance can be found on the last page of the document called ‘Useful Links’.

    The document provides practical advice for all council services (including schools, hostels, and frontline teams), both for those operating in the borough now and for any future return to office-based working, including:

    • transmission routes
    • how to control infection
    • general cleaning of surfaces and vehicles
    • laundry
    • contact with/cleaning up bodily fluids
    • changes for First Aiders providing treatment at work
  • What you can and can't do

    04 May, 2020

    The Government has produced updated advice on what you can and can’t do during the current pandemic and lockdown period.