What is COVID-19?
COVID-19 is a new coronavirus. It is highly infectious.
Most people have mild or no symptoms, but it can result in long term illness or death for some people.
People worst affected by COVID-19 include older people (particularly those over 70 years of age) and people with underlying health conditions such as diabetes, obesity, chronic lung, kidney, liver and heart problems, a weakened immune system chronic neurological conditions like Parkinson’s disease, people on certain medication, and pregnant women.
Although less common, sometimes people who are younger or healthy can also become very ill.
If the number of cases of COVID-19 rise in the area, we may have to close places like shops or schools and tell people to stay at home, as we did in March 2020.
You can help stop the spread of COVID-19!
‘Social distancing’ – why is it important?
Good hygiene and social distancing will help stop the spread of COVID-19. This is what you need to do:
- Keep at least 2 meters apart.
- Wear a face covering indoors in public places like NHS healthcare settings, shops and on shared or public transport (you can remove your face covering while you eat or drink).
- Wash your hands with soap and water regularly and thoroughly for 20 seconds.
- Use hand sanitiser if you don’t have access to soap and water.
- Catch coughs and sneezes in a tissue and dispose of the tissue safely. Use your sleeve if you don’t have a tissue.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
- Don’t touch your face covering while wearing it.
- Limit the amount of people you come into contact with outside of your household.
- Avoid crowded places.
- Plan ahead and be prepared to go home if it’s too busy.
- Work from home if you can.
You may be able to form a ‘support bubble’, for example, connecting with another household if you live alone and need help with childcare. Limit contact with people outside of your ‘support bubble’.
The rules about how many people you can meet and where you can go change regularly, so try to keep up to date with the latest information.
Face coverings – why are they important?
You can spread COVID-19 before you know you have it, and some people do not develop symptoms, or only have very mild symptoms.
When we breathe and speak, we release tiny droplets. If you have COVID-19, the virus will be in these droplets.
A face covering will catch the droplets and help stop you spreading COVID-19.
Face coverings do not protect you from catching COVID-19.
You must wear a face covering indoors in public places like NHS healthcare settings, shops and on shared or public transport.
You can remove your face covering while you eat or drink.
Some people do not have to wear a face covering due to health or disability reasons.
Children under the age of 11 do not need to wear a face covering.
You can buy a cloth face covering, use a bandana or scarf, or make your own from a t-shirt.
It needs to have two layers of cotton and either hook behind your ears or tie at the back of your head.
It is important that your face covering covers your nose and mouth at all times and there are no gaps around the edge.
- Do not touch your face or the cloth when you wear your face covering
- Replace your face covering if it gets damp
- Remove it fully after use without touching the front.
- Place it in a plastic bag after use.
- If you have a re-useable face covering, wash it in soapy water when you get home.
- You may need a supply of more than two coverings, depending upon your activities.
- Continue to wash your hands regularly.
Find out more about face coverings.
Self-isolating – what must I do if I think I have COVID-19?
If you develop any of these symptoms:
- New, persistent cough
- High temperature
- Loss or change to smell or taste
You must stay at home (‘self-isolate’) and book a COVID-19 test either online or by calling 119. Do not leave the house whilst waiting for your test results.
- ·You must not go to work, school or public places
- ·You must not use public transport or taxis
- ·You must not go out for food or medicine
- You must not have visitors to your home or go out to socialise or exercise.
If your test is positive, you must self-isolate for at least 10 days. This has increased from 7 days.
Everyone else in the household must also self-isolate for at least 10 days from when you first developed symptoms. However people who are fully vaccinated or aged under 18 years and 6 months, are not required to self-isolate if they live in the same household as someone with COVID-19. They will still need to take a PCR test and self-isolate if it’s positive, or if they have symptoms.
If your test is negative, you and your household can stop self-isolating.
If after 10 days, you still have symptoms other than a cough or loss of sense of smell or taste you must continue to self-isolate until you feel better.
You do not have to continue to self-isolate if you just have a continuing cough or loss of sense of smell or taste, as these can linger.
If other people in your household develop symptoms, they should arrange for a test. They must isolate a further minimum of 10 days if the test is positive.
While self-isolating with COVID-19, everyone in the household should:
- Stay in separate rooms, if possible.
- Keep windows open to get plenty of fresh air.
- Avoid sharing spaces like bathrooms and kitchens, if possible.
- If you have to share bathrooms or kitchens, use at different times and clean thoroughly after use. It may be helpful to make a rota.
- Do not share towels, clothing or other items.
- Keep washing your hands regularly.
If you are unwell and need medical advice: ·
- Phone 111 or visit 111.nhs.uk ·
- ·Sign Language users visit www.interpreternow.co.uk/nhs111
- In an emergency, call 999, or visit emergencysms.net if you are deaf or hard of hearing.
- If you are on holiday, please see the Tourism Charter for additional guidance and contact your accommodation provider. You can view the Tourism Charter on our website at devon.cc/covid19-tourism