Page updated: 4 August 2020 14.43
We will update this page regularly as new information is issued.
Stay up to date with all of the latest Government guidance and what you can and cannot do at www.gov.uk/coronavirus
PLEASE NOTE: As from 6am, 26 March 2020 in order to help protect patients, East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust are no longer accepting visitors except for the following reasons:
▶️ The patient is receiving end of life care
▶️ The patient is a child or neonate — must be a parent/carer only
▶️ A partner or birthing partner accompanying a woman in labour
Information about the virus
COVID-19 is a new illness that can affect your lungs and airways. It’s caused by a virus called coronavirus.
The symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) are usually mild, but some people can become very unwell. The main symptoms of coronavirus are:
- high temperature – this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)
- new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual)
- loss or change to your sense of smell or taste – this means you’ve noticed you cannot smell or taste anything, or things smell or taste different to normal
Most people with coronavirus have at least one of these symptoms.
Getting a test for coronavirus
The testing programme across Lancashire and South Cumbria, and across the UK as a whole, now consists of two different tests. The first and most widely available test is the viral detection test, which tells you whether you currently have coronavirus or not. This is a swab test in which two separate viral swabs, a nose swab and a throat swab, are taken.
Anyone who has coronavirus symptoms can ask for a test. You should only ask for this test if you have the symptoms now. If the test is to be successful you need to get it done in the first 5 days of having symptoms. Do not wait – you should ask for the test as soon as you have symptoms.
The second is the antibody test, which tells you if you have had coronavirus in the past. Studies are being conducted to determine if the presence of the antibody infers ongoing immunity. The antibody test only has limited availability currently, although this will be expanding over the coming weeks and months. This is a blood test that requires 10ml of blood and must be taken by a medical professional. Finger prick blood tests are not currently available.
Where do I go for my test?
Tests are only available with an appointment – once these are made, people will receive the full addresses and information on the testing sites. Anyone arriving without an appointment will be turned away.
To find out more about the testing programme for Covid-19 across the region, please go to: www.healthierlsc.co.uk/CoronavirusTesting. You can also use the following testing matrix to learn more about how to access testing for Covid-19 and about the NHS Test and Trace service.
If you’re worried about a baby or child under 5 call 111. If your child seems very unwell, is getting worse or you think there’s something seriously wrong, call 999. Do not delay getting help if you’re worried. Trust your instincts. Get more advice about coronavirus in children.
Staying at home if you have symptoms (self-isolation)
If your symptoms are mild, NHS 111 will usually advise you and anyone you live with not to leave your home. This is called self-isolation. Anyone with symptoms should self-isolate for 7 days from when their symptoms started. Anyone who does not have symptoms should self-isolate for 14 days from when the first person in your home started having symptoms.
Read more about self-isolation if you have symptoms of coronavirus.
How to stop infection spreading
There are things you can do to help reduce the risk of you and anyone you live with getting ill with coronavirus.
- wash your hands with soap and water often – do this for at least 20 seconds
- use hand sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available
- wash your hands as soon as you get back home
- cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze
- put used tissues in the bin immediately and wash your hands afterwards
- touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean
Check the NHS website for more information on coronavirus.
The government has set out its plan to return life to as near normal as we can, for as many people as we can, as quickly and fairly as possible in order to safeguard livelihoods, but in a way that continues to protect our communities and our NHS.
What can I do that I couldn’t do before?
From 4 July 2020:
- You can meet in groups of up to two households (your support bubble counts as one household) in any location — public or private, indoors or outdoors. You do not always have to meet with the same household — you can meet with different households at different times. However, it remains the case — even inside someone’s home — that you should socially distance from anyone not in your household or bubble. This change also does not affect the support you receive from your carers
- When you are outside you can continue to meet in groups of up to six people from different households, following social distancing guidelines
- Additional businesses and venues, including restaurants, pubs, cinemas, visitor attractions, hotels, and campsites will be able to open — but we will continue to keep closed certain premises where the risks of transmission may be higher
- Other public places, such as libraries, community centres, places of worship, outdoor playgrounds and outdoor gyms will be able to open
- Stay overnight away from your home with your own household or support bubble, or with members of one other household
- It will be against the law to gather in groups larger than 30 people, except for a limited set of circumstances to be set out in law
People will be trusted to continue acting responsibly by following this and related guidance, subject to an upper legal limit on gatherings (as described above). The overwhelming majority of the British public have complied with the regulations, and the wider guidance on how to keep them and their friends and family as safe as possible. Taking this into account, we trust people to continue acting responsibly, and to follow the guidance on what they should and should not do.
You should not:
- Gather indoors in groups of more than two households (your support bubble counts as one household) — this includes when dining out or going to the pub
- Gather outdoors in a group of more than six people from different households; gatherings larger than 6 should only take place if everyone is from just two households
- Interact socially with anyone outside the group you are attending a place with, even if you see other people you know, for example, in a restaurant, community centre or place of worship
- Hold or attend celebrations (such as parties) where it is difficult to maintain social distancing
- Stay overnight away from your home with members of more than one other household (your support bubble counts as one household)
Gatherings of more than 30 people will be prohibited, apart from some limited circumstances to be set out in law.
Can I start visiting people indoors now?
From 4 July, you are now able to meet indoors in groups of up to two households (your support bubble counts as one household). This includes inviting people from one household into your home or visiting the home of someone else with members of your own household. You should continue to maintain social distancing with anyone you do not live with or who is not in your support bubble when doing so.
If you are in a support bubble you can continue to see each other without needing to maintain social distancing.
The more people you have interactions with, the more chance the virus has to spread. Therefore, try to limit the number of people you see — especially over short periods of time. The risk of transmission is also higher indoors, so you should take extra care to stay as safe as possible.
How many people am I allowed to meet with outdoors?
From 4 July, you can continue to meet in a group of up to six people from multiple households, or in a group made up of two households ( your support bubble counts as one household), even if this is more than six people.
There is more information about the guidelines you should follow when meeting people you do not live with here.
Can I visit a clinically vulnerable person?
We know that people 70 and over, those with certain underlying conditions and pregnant women may be more clinically vulnerable, so we have advised them to take particular care to avoid contact with others.
Although such individuals can meet people outdoors and, from 4 July, indoors, you and they should be especially careful and be diligent about social distancing and hand hygiene. Never take a chance on visiting a clinically vulnerable person if you think you have COVID-19 symptoms, however mild.
Never visit a clinically vulnerable person if you have been advised to isolate by NHS Test and Trace because you have been in contact with a case.
You can also visit a clinically vulnerable person inside if you are providing care or assistance to them. You should not do so if you have coronavirus symptoms, however mild.
Wherever possible, you should stay socially distant from others, use a tissue when sneezing and dispose of it safely, cough into the crook of your elbow and wash your hands for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitiser if washing facilities are not easily available.
If someone is defined as clinically extremely vulnerable and being asked to shield, you should follow the guidance for a shielded person.
Advice for parents when a child is unwell or injured during coronavirus
Coronavirus: Parent information for newborn babies
In these challenging circumstances, our maternity services are here to support you. For more information based on frequently asked questions we have received from those expecting a baby, and their families.
It is our priority as part of the East Lancashire Hospitals Family Care Division to keep all new parents and infants safe following the COVID-19 outbreak.
If you’re pregnant and worried about coronavirus, you can get advice about coronavirus and pregnancy from the Royal College of Obstretricians and Gynaecologists.
Illness in new born babies
National Bereavement Helpline
A new Bereavement Helpline has been introduced by the NHS to support bereaved families during the Coronavirus outbreak. The new helpline is not a counselling service but will be available to offer support, guidance and advice on dealing with grief and loss.
The helpline will be staffed by NHS Blood and Transplant registered nurses who are highly skilled and experienced in working with bereaved people.
The helpline is available 8am to 8pm on 0800 2600 400
Action for ASD — Family Resources
Covid 19 Resilience Toolkit & Diary
A guide to help you look after your own wellbeing, beat corona anxiety and information on who can help.
Lancashire Mind have created this booklet of activities and useful information to help people in the current situation. Click on the link above to find out more.
There are some countries and areas where there’s a higher chance of coming into contact with someone with coronavirus.
If you’re planning to travel abroad and are concerned about coronavirus, see advice for travellers on GOV.UK.
Treatment for coronavirus
There is currently no specific treatment for coronavirus. Antibiotics do not help, as they do not work against viruses. Treatment aims to relieve the symptoms while your body fights the illness.
You’ll need to stay in isolation, away from other people, until you have recovered.