Important information about the coronavirus (COVID-19)
Published: 5 March 2020
The latest information on symptoms of Coronavirus infection and areas where recent travel may have resulted in a high risk of exposure can be found on nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/
NHS 111 has an online coronavirus service that can tell you if you need medical help and advise you what to do.
Use this service if:
- you think you might have coronavirus;
- in the last 14 days you’ve been to a country or area with a high risk of coronavirus;
- you’ve been in close contact with someone with coronavirus.
Do not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital. Visit 111.nhs.uk/covid-19
Like the common cold, coronavirus infection usually occurs through close contact with a person with novel coronavirus via cough and sneezes or hand contact. A person can also catch the virus by touching contaminated surfaces if they do not wash their hands.
Testing of suspected coronavirus cases is carried out in line with strict guidelines. This means that suspected cases are kept in isolation, away from public areas of GP surgeries, pharmacies and hospitals and returned home also in isolation. Any equipment that come into contact with suspected cases are thoroughly cleaned as appropriate. Specific guidance has also been shared with NHS staff to help safeguard them and others. Patients can be reassured that their safety is a top priority, and are encouraged to attend all appointments as usual.
Everyone is being reminded to follow Public Health England advice to:
- Always carry tissues with you and use them to catch your cough or sneeze. Then bin the tissue, and wash your hands, or use a sanitiser gel.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after using public transport. Use a sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with people who are unwell.
Following the confirmation of local cases in the Torbay and South Devon area, PHE is carrying out a thorough risk assessment to trace these individuals’ movements in the past fortnight. The local NHS and council are working closely with PHE to support this work. PHE is prioritising contacting people who might have had close and sustained contact with the individual to provide them with health advice about symptoms and emergency contact details in case they become unwell. If you have not been contacted you do not need to take any action.
Patients and staff can be reassured that their safety is the top priority, and our services are operating as usual: please attend your hospital and clinic appointments as usual.