Covid-19 Information and Advice

If you are worried that you or someone you look after may be at high risk from coronavirus, NHS 111 can offer direct guidance through their online coronavirus helpline. Call 111 if your (or their) symptoms become severe, and let them know you are a carer.

The information on this page is aimed at ensuring you understand how to keep yourself and your loved ones safe during this challenging period. 

Keep up to date with the very latest information from Middlesbrough Council and Redcar & Cleveland Council

Plan B restrictions have ended and we are returning to Plan A. 

You no longer have to work from home and you can now return to your place of work.

From 27 January 2022, you do not need to wear face coverings in public places.

COVID Pass will no longer be required for certain venues although some venues or events may choose to continue to use the NHS COVID Pass.

More requirements and restrictions are being eased, the Government are:

  • Ending legal requirements for twice a week testing in schools from Monday 21 February.  
  • Ending of legal requirement to self isolate following a positive test result from 24 February. 
  • Ending of legal requirement to test for 7 days after coming into contact with someone who has tested positive from 24 February. 
  • End of routine contact tracing on 24 February.
  • Ending of free testing for the general public from 1 April.
  • Ending of guidance for voluntary COVID-status certification for certain venues from 1 April.

The publication 'Living with COVID' can be read in full here.

Until then continue to follow the advice below:

Govt and NHS image: lady on public transport wearing face mask

To help combat COVID-19 you should continue to follow safer behaviours and actions that include:

  • Use face coverings in indoor places;
  • Wash your hands regularly;
  • Test regularly;
  • Stay at home when you feel unwell;
  • Use the COVID-19 NHS App.

Lateral flow devices remain free of charge and can be collected from local pharmacies.

People with COVID-19 can now stop self-isolating after five full days if they have negative results on days five and six. People who still test positive on their lateral flow tests must stay in isolation until they have had two consecutive negative tests taken on separate days.

People in England who receive positive lateral flow results for COVID-19 will be required to self-isolate immediately and won’t be required to take a confirmatory PCR test. Unvaccinated contacts must still self-isolate for a full 10 days.

Booster vaccines

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has updated its advice on the Covid-19 vaccine booster programme to maintain a high level of protection through the coming winter. Read more about the JCVI's advice: https://gov.uk/government/news/jcvi-issues-updated-advice-on-covid-19-booster-vaccination. Adult carers are recognised as priority group 6 and will be offered a booster vaccine (third dose) in the same order as in Phase 1.

What does this mean for people with caring responsibilities?

If you are providing care for someone who is deemed to be extremely vulnerable, take extra precautionary measures if providing essential care and ensure you follow the NHS hygiene advice for people at higher risk.

It is vital to self-isolate and follow guidance if you or the person you care for develops Covid-19 symptoms. As long as you have no Covid-19 symptoms and take every precaution, you are allowed to continue visiting someone who relies on you for care. 

You can book free Covid-19 community testing for people who are not displaying any of the Covid-19 symptoms. Around one-third of people with Covid-19 do not have symptoms and can pass the virus on to loved ones without knowing it. Keep yourself, your loved ones and your communities safe. Find out more. 

Read more about the latest government guidance on Covid-19.

The COVID-19 vaccine is available to everyone 16 years of age and older, book your vaccine.

NHS banner, dark green background with lighter green text reading [I should've got the vaccine instead I got really ill. Get vaccinated now] with NHS logo top right, HM Govt logo top left and black and white image of male with head in one hand.

 

 

Carers Together are supporting carers in the South Tees area to get registered at their GP surgery as a carer so they can be invited for their vaccine as soon as possible. 

Find out more about carers and the Covid-19 vaccination, how to access yours, what to do on the day and the potential side effects.

Identifying yourself to others as a carer

Carers Together- 'I am a carer' card

If you are concerned about how you can identify yourself as a Carer, Carers Together have created a new 'I am a Carer Card' to make this easier for you. This free card identifies the holder as a Carer who is registered with Carers Together. The card is available to new and existing Carers across South Tees.  To request a card please call our office on 01642 488977.

Carers Together- 'I am a carer' card
Carers Together- 'I am a carer' card reverse

This card is offered in addition to the Local Authority Emergency Card's Scheme. 

Carers Emergency Cards 

The Carers Emergency Card is for when an accident or emergency means the carer cannot look after the person they care for and if no other arrangements can be made.

Carers who apply will be issued with a small card (the size of a credit card) that identifies the person as a crer. It does not contain any personal information.

The government advise all carers to create an emergency plan with the person they care for, to use in circumstances where help from other people to deliver care may be needed. Depending on the circumstances, this could be help from family or friends or a care provider.

To create an emergency plan that fits the needs of the person you care for, you will need to set out:

  • the name and address and any other contact details of the person you look after
  • who you and the person you look after would like to be contacted in an emergency
  • details of any medication the person you look after is taking
  • details of any ongoing treatment they need
  • details of any medical appointments they need to keep

You should also ensure that it is in a format that can readily be shared with other people who will need to discuss the plan with the person you care for.

You can contact Carers Together who can support both Middlesbrough carers and Redcar & Cleveland carers to obtain their carers emergency card on 01642 488977 or e-mail: info@carerstogether-rc.org.uk  

Do you or the person you care for find it difficult to socially distance?

The ‘please give me space’ badge has been designed to help anyone who may have difficulties in maintaining a safe, social distance during the coronavirus pandemic. Wearing the badge can be helpful to signal to others around them that they need to pay attention and give space to the wearer. You can also download it onto a mobile phone if you are not able to print it out. Find out more here. if you are caring for someone who has dementia, there's useful advice about face-coverings here.

If you are providing essential care, it is vital to stop and self-isolate if you start having symptoms of COVID-19 – these include a loss of smell and taste or the more commonly known symptoms of a persistent cough or fever.

To find out what to do if you or someone you care for has symptoms, follow this NHS guidance

Testing

Testing is now available to anyone over the age of five, with symptoms of coronavirus Tests can be requested through the NHS website. You can apply on someone else's behalf online, with their permission, if they are not able to.

Unpaid carers are on the governments latest list of essential workers who can be prioritised for COVID-19 testing. Find out more about how to get tested, the process and what types of tests are available on this Gov.UK page.

NHS Covid-19 app is available to download on your mobile phone as part of the test and trace system. 
Covid-19 image on mobile phone
Benefit system changes

For recent updates to the benefits system, see Carers UK's A-Z of changes to benefits, assessments and support – COVID-19. 

Further information from the government

If you are a carer and have been asked by your employer to return to work following the easing of lockdown, you can find general information about your rights from Citizens Advice.

Information to help bereaved families, friends or next of kin make important decisions.

Frequently asked questions on what you can and can’t do during the coronavirus outbreak.

Social distancing guidance.

Guidance for young carers and young adult carers during coronavirus. 

The Government has launched a free Coronavirus Information Service on WhatsApp

To activate this:

  1. add 07860 064422 to your phone contacts
  2. message the word ‘hi’ in a WhatsApp text
Prioritise your own health and wellbeing

Carers UK recently (2020) carried out an online survey to understand the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on carers. They have since produced a report to share their findings. 

Carers UK infographic depicting 70% of unpaid carers reporting to be doing more during in coronavirus outbreak

The report shows that 55% of unpaid carers feel overwhelmed and are worried that they are going to be burnt out in the coming weeks. 

The full report can be read below:

Caring Behind Closed Doors- Carers UK Report April 2020.pdf

It is clear from the report that the pandemic is having a hugely adverse effect on unpaid carers. This amplifies the importance of taking care of your own wellbeing right now as much as you do for the health of the loved one you support!

We have provided a range of useful information and advice to help you to start to prioritise your own wellbeing. 

Talking to the person you care for about coronavirus

You don’t have to try very hard to read or hear about the current coronavirus pandemic. The language alone can feel scary. When we hear about the impact its had on other countries and the risks to older people or those living with an underlining health condition, it can make our worries and concerns worsen for those we care for and ourselves.

You might be concerned about how your loved one is reacting to the coronavirus news. Remember, you know them best and if you do decide to have a conversation about it or they bring it up, it might be because they are worried. It is important to talk to them calmly and honestly. If they are worried, remind them whilst many people have and continue to become unwell, most of those people are recovering. You can also remind them that the NHS are ready to support those who do become unwell.    

People with autism

Talking to adults and/or children who are living with autism about coronavirus and supporting them to deal with the changes to their lives can be difficult. The National Autistic Society are providing information and guidance. Visit https://www.autism.org.uk/services/helplines/coronavirus.aspx   

People with a learning disability

Mencap have good guidance on supporting someone with a learning disability at this time www.mencap.org.uk/advice-and-support/health/coronavirus-covid-19

Surrey and Borders Partnership NHS Trust have created a useful video for carers of people with learning disabilities to consider how to discuss and communicate aspects of coronavirus to those you care for. The video will provide useful strategies and tips to make talking together about coronavirus helpful, safe and positive. 

Other useful information

The Children's Society is a national charity that has developed specific information and guidance for young cares relating to Covid-19

Carers UK is a national organisation providing carers with expert advice, information and support. They campaign and innovate to find better ways to reach and support carers. They have a range of frequently asked questions which is a useful resource you can see them below:

Staying safe (FAQs)

Managing food and medication (FAQs)

Benefits guidance (FAQs)

Practical guidance (FAQ)