You may have heard in the news that Coronavirus infection rates are increasing in Birmingham.

This means that you are now more likely to come into contact with someone who has the Coronavirus. 

The first impact of this has been to suspend visiting to care homes again.

So, what can we do to keep ourselves, the people we’re caring for and our families safe?

  • Do not have non-essential visitors in your home;
  • Get tested.  You need to get the test done in the first 5 days of having symptoms;
  • Do not leave your home if you have symptoms (a new, continuous cough, a temperature or a change or loss of your sense of taste or smell);
  • if you test positive for Coronavirus, you must share information promptly about your recent contacts through the NHS Test and Trace service to help us alert other people who may need to self-isolate;
  • if you are contacted by the NHS Test and Trace Service because you have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for Coronavirus, you will be told to begin self-isolation for 14 days from your last contact with that person. It’s really important to do this even if you don’t feel unwell because, if you have been infected, you could become infectious to others at any point up to 14 days. Your household doesn’t need to self-isolate with you, if you do not have symptoms, but they must take extra care to follow the guidance on social distancing and handwashing and avoid contact with you at home; and
  • If you live with someone who has Coronavirus symptoms, all other household members must stay at home and not leave the house for 14 days. The 14-day period starts from the day when the first person in the household became ill or if they do not have symptoms, from the day their test was taken. If anyone else in the household starts displaying symptoms, they must stay at home for at least 10 days from when their symptoms appear.

Everyone must:

  • Wash their hands regularly;
  • Not get close to people who are not from their household – keep at least one metre away, two metres is safer; and
  • Wear a face covering in shops and on public transport.

Please remember that we still cannot:

  • socialise indoors in groups of more than two households (anyone in your support bubble counts as one household) – this includes when dining out or going to the pub;
  • socialise outdoors in a group of more than six people from different households; gatherings larger than six should only take place if everyone is from exclusively from two households or support bubbles;
  • 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 and avoid close social interaction – even if they are organised by businesses and venues that are taking steps to follow COVID-19 Secure guidelines; and
  • stay overnight away from your home with members of more than one other household (your support bubble counts as one household).

It is against the law for gatherings of more than 30 people to take place in private homes (including gardens and other outdoor spaces).

I was, or the person I care for, was shielding.

Although nationally, shielding has ceased, the name of everyone who is clinically extremely vulnerable has been kept securely on a patient list by NHS Digital.  If there is a change for England as a whole, everyone will be written to again.

If there are local measures for Birmingham, the advice is to visit the City Council website, for information.

The Government guidance on shielding and protecting people who are clinically extremely vulnerable from Coronavirus is updated regularly.

The City Council has set up a web page where people can report any concerns about businesses opening illegally, or failing to comply with guidance. In its first few days since it started up, the service is averaging about 30 contacts a day.

Do I need to start planning?

If infection rates continue to rise then we could see a ‘local lockdown’.  This might mean that there are restrictions on who you can meet and where you can travel to.

If you regularly provide care to someone outside of Birmingham, or you live outside Birmingham, then it might be time to plan ahead in case travelling to provide care becomes difficult.

For further details, please look at our Covid-19 Advice for Carers page on our website which is regularly updated. You can also sign up to our Carer Update to get news sent directly to your inbox.