The government has issued new guidance to people in Tier 4 areas that are clinically or extremely vulnerable. You are strongly advised to follow these extra precautionary shielding measures to help keep yourself safe.
You should stay at home as much as possible but are encouraged to go outdoors carefully to exercise or to attend health appointments.
You are strongly advised to work from home if you can. If you cannot work from home, then you should not attend work. You may be eligible for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (furlough).
This advice will applies to our area until 1 February 2021, even if we are area is placed in a different tier before then.
Please make sure your GP has your most up to date contact details, including your home address and, if possible, a personal email address, so that we can contact you quickly in the event that guidance changes in the future.
If you need any additional support to help you follow the guidance, your local council may be able to help. You can contact your council and register for support at the Shielding Support
Advice for clinically extremely vulnerable children and young people
The current knowledge suggests that very few children are at highest risk of severe illness due to the virus.
Doctors have therefore been reviewing all children and young people who were initially identified as clinically extremely vulnerable to confirm whether they are still thought to be at highest risk.
You will hear from you GP is your child falls into this category. If you have not yet heard from your child's hospital doctor or GP to discuss this, please contact whoever usually provides care for your child to check whether they should still be considered clinically extremely vulnerable.
If you have already discussed this with your child's doctors and they have confirmed your child is still considered highest risk, your child should follow this advice.
Guidance for clinically extremely vulnerable people
This guidance is for clinically extremely vulnerable people in Tier 4 areas in England. The full guidance can be found online at gov.uk/coronavirus. This is additional guidance specifically for clinically extremely vulnerable people, to help you protect yourself from the virus by following these shielding measures. This guidance applies to clinically extremely vulnerable individuals only. Others living in a household with someone who is clinically extremely vulnerable are not advised to follow this guidance.
The new advice at Tier 4, which applies to everyone in those areas, means that you should stay at home as much as possible, except for limited purposes which are set out in that guidance.
We are advising clinically extremely vulnerable people in these Tier 4 areas to stay at home as much as possible, except to go outdoors carefully for exercise or to attend health appointments. You cannot meet indoors with friends and family you do not live with unless they are part of your support bubble.
This is part of the wider regulations in place in your area.
Outdoors, you can only meet one person from another household. Try to stay 2 metres away from other people within your household, especially if they display symptoms of the virus or have been advised to self-isolate.
Try to keep all contact with others to a minimum and avoid busy areas.
Whenever you go out continue to maintain strict social distancing, wash your hands regularly and avoid touching your face.
You are strongly advised to work from home if you can.
If you cannot work from home, then you should not attend work for this period of restrictions. If you cannot work from home, your employer may be able to furlough you under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, which has been extended until the end of April
2021. You should have a conversation with your employer about whether this is possible. If you cannot work from home or cannot be furloughed, you may be eligible for Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) or Employment Support Allowance (ESA) or Universal Credit (UC).
You should receive a letter from the Departnent of Health and Social Care as evidence for your employer and or the Department of Work and Pensions that you are advised to shield and may be eligible for SSP, ESA or UC. Other eligibility criteria will apply.
Other people you live with who are not clinically extremely vulnerable themselves can still attend work if they cannot work from home, in line with Tier 4 rules in your area.
Our current evidence shows that there is a very low risk of children becoming very unwell from COVID-19, even for children with existing health conditions.
Most children originally identified as clinically extremely vulnerable no longer need to follow this advice. Speak to your GP or specialist clinician if you have not already done so, to understand whether your child should still be classed as clinically extremely vulnerable.
Those children whose doctors have confirmed they are still clinically extremely vulnerable are advised not to attend school whilst this advice is in place.
Adult students considered clinically extremely vulnerable should also not attend school or college. Your school will make appropriate arrangements for you to be able to continue your education at home.
People who live with someone who is clinically extremely vulnerable, but who are not clinically extremely vulnerable themselves, should still attend school.
You should avoid all non-essential travel by private or public transport, this includes not travelling to work, school or the shops.
You should still ensure you have regular follow up and treatment for your health conditions. If remote consultations are unavailable or insufficient, travel to hospital and GP appointments unless told otherwise by your doctor, but you may wish to check how to do this as safely as possible:
If you need help to travel to an appointment, you can speak to your health care professional to arrange transport support. They may be able to arrange this with NHS Volunteer Responders.
You are advised not to go to the shops. Use online shopping if you can, or ask others to collect and deliver shopping for you (friends and family, local volunteers
coordinated by charities and local councils or NHS Volunteer Responders).
If you already have a priority delivery slot with a supermarket that will continue, you do not need to do anything further.
Our Corona Kindness scheme has information on shops that delivery service and offers other help and assistanace
You are advised not to go to a pharmacy. You are encouraged in the first instance to ask a friend, family member, carer or a volunteer (for example one of the NHS Volunteer Responders) to collect your medicines for you.
If none of these are available, then you will be eligible for free medicines delivery.
Please contact your pharmacy to inform them that you are clinically extremely vulnerable and need your medicines delivered, and they will arrange this free of charge.
Accessing care and support
It is important that you continue to receive the care and support you need to help you stay safe and well.
We urge you to continue to seek support from the NHS and other health providers for your existing health conditions and any new health concerns.
You can access a range of NHS services from home, including ordering repeat prescriptions or contacting your health professional through an online consultation.
Find out more, or download the NHS App. If you have an urgent medical need, call NHS 111 or, for a medical emergency, dial 999. If you do need to receive care in person, you can. Your local NHS services are well prepared and will put in measures to keep you safe.
If you need to have a test for COVID-19 then you are able to attend a test site. You may want to think about attending at a quieter time or asking for a home test to be sent to you, in order to reduce your contacts with other people.
It is important that you have your test. More information about getting a COVID-19 test.
It is also really important to look after your mental health. Go to the Every Mind Matters website for advice and practical steps that you can take to support your wellbeing and manage your mental health during this pandemic. If you or someone you care for are experiencing a mental health crisis, we urge you to make contact with a local health professional immediately. Any carers or visitors who support you with your everyday needs or those of a child or young person in your care can continue to visit. They should follow social distancing guidance where close or personal contact is not required.
Our Corona Kindness scheme is available with help and advice.