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Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Posted on 15 March 2020

Stay at home if you have coronavirus symptoms

Stay at home for 7 days if you have ANY of these symptoms:

  • A high temperature
  • A new continuous cough
  • Loss or change in sense of taste or smell

These symptoms are important even if you think they are due to something else.

Self isolation

If you live with other people, they should stay at home for 14 days from the first day the first person in the household had symptoms.

This will help to protect others in your community while you are infectious.

DO NOT go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital. You can phone the NHS helpline on 111 or your GP for advice. Call an ambulabce if you feel very unwell, especially if you have difficulty breathing.

Testing

From 1 June 2020, you should arrange coronavirus testing for yourself if you have symptoms. This can be done by phoning 119 or visiting the NHS coronavirus test booking site. Tests can be posted out to your home or carried out at drive-through centres in Belfast, Londonderry, Craigavon and Enniskillen.

The SARS-CoV-2 virus is a new strain of coronavirus first identified in Wuhan City, China in December 2019. It causes a new illness known as COVID-19, which is affecting many countries, including the UK and Ireland, as part of a global pandemic.

COVID-19 causes a flu-like illness, with fever, sore muscles, headache, cough and tiredness. It can result in more severe breathing problems like pneumonia.

If you are suffering from coronavirus symptoms, DO NOT enter the practice. Contact reception on the usual number 028 9027 9880. Let the receptionist know if you are very unwell at the beginning of your call.

You can also phone the NHS helpline on 111 (which is now available in NI) for advice.


What should I do if I have no symptoms?

This flow chart provides a summary of the actions you may need to take, paticularly if you have other health problems. Everyone should follow the Government's advice to stay at home and observe social distancing to help slow the spread of the virus. Further information is provided below.

Coronavirus risk chart

If you are in a high-risk group, you will receive a letter with advice. This letter can be presented to your employer in place of a sick note so you can stay at home.


Infection control measures

On 23 March 2020, the UK Government issued an order for people to remain at home to contain the spread of the virus. You should only leave your house for the following reasons:

  • Shopping for basic necessities
  • One form of exercise per day
  • Any medical need
  • Travelling to and from work, but only where this is absolutely necessary and cannot be done from home

Click here for more information on this directive from the Government.

Even those who are well and who have no symptoms should observe the following infection control measures:

  • Hand washing more often than usual
  • Social distancing
  • Use a tissue to catch coughs and sneezes, then bin the tissue and wash your hands
  • Avoid touching your face
  • Avoid close contact with those who are unwell
Catch it, bin it, kill it

Self isolation

  • If you have symptoms of coronavirus infection (COVID-19), however mild, do not leave your home for 7 days from when your symptoms started.
  • All household members should also isolate for 14 days from the first day the first member of their household had symptoms.
  • This will help protect others in your community while you are infectious.
  • Plan ahead and ask others for help to ensure you can successfully stay at home.
  • Ask your employer, friends and family to help you to get the things you need to stay at home.
  • Stay at least 2 metres (6 feet) away from other people in your home whenever possible.
  • Sleep alone, if possible.
  • Wash your hands regularly for 20 seconds, each time using soap and water, or use hand sanitiser. You can view and print hand washing guidance.
  • Stay away from vulnerable individuals, such as the elderly and those with underlying health conditions, as much as possible.
  • If your symptoms worsen during home isolation or are no better after 7 days, contact the practice or NHS 111 online. If you have no internet access, you can call 111. For a medical emergency (such as difficulty breathing) dial 999.

You can find further information on planning for home isolation here.


Testing for COVID-19

From 1 June 2020, you should arrange coronavirus testing for yourself if you have symptoms. This can be done by phoning 119 or visiting the NHS coronavirus test booking site. Tests can be posted out to your home or carried out at drive-through centres in Belfast, Londonderry, Craigavon and Enniskillen.

If your result is positive, you will be contacted by the Public Health Agency, who will arrange contact tracing.

Please note that the tests are not 100% accurate and they are affected by poor technique. Please follow the instructions carefully.


Adjustments at our practice

At Church View Medical Practice we are making significant changes to the operating of the practice to reduce footfall (thus reducing the risk of transmission) and manage the burden of COVID-19, in line with Government guidance. You can monitor this page for updates. We appreciate your patience, cooperation and understanding.

  • We are reducing our provision of routine healthcare services.
  • The practice list is now closed to new patients until further notice.
  • We will not perform non-NHS services (preparing letters or medical reports) until further notice, with the exception of driving license medicals that may be needed by key workers.
  • Appointments can only be booked after discussion with a doctor and most consultations will be conducted by telephone.
  • Patients with symptoms of COVID-19 (even if due to another cause) who need to be assessed face-to-face will be referred to the Belfast Primary Care COVID-19 Centre at Beech Hall Health and Wellbeing Centre on the Andersonstown Road. This is staffed by local GPs and teams from Belfast Health and Social Care Trust.

How can I help?

  • Follow the Government's request to stay at home and limit contact with other people, even if you are well.
  • Do not come to the practice if you have symptoms of coronavirus infection.
  • Do not congregate in the reception area, waiting room or foyer. Keep a distance of 2 metres (6 feet) from other people while in or near the practice.
  • Contact the NHS 111 service for advice or if you need a medical certificate while being isolated due to suspected coronavirus infection in your household.
  • Do not ask for a medical certificate to come out of work. Your employer should be facilitating working from home, where possible. If you are in a high-risk group (see flowchart above), you will receive a shielding letter which you can use as a medical certificate.
  • Childhood vaccinations and blood tests for monitoring anticoagulant, immunosuppressant and biological drugs should continue. Please speak to reception for details.
  • Do not ask for non-NHS services, such as letters, medical reports or driving licence medical examinations, unless they are needed for your role as a key worker. If absolutely necessary, you can ask a private provder for these services.
  • Please order repeat prescriptions seven days before they are due and designate a local pharmacy to collect them on your behalf. Acute prescriptions (e.g. one-off short-term prescriptions) can still be collected from reception. Click here for information on the delays in dispensing from pharmacies.
  • Do not stockpile your medication or order prescriptions more than seven days early.
  • Please order repeat prescriptions online instead of by telephone.
  • Please have patience when dealing with health care services, such as our practice or your pharmacy. All areas of the health service are under unprecedented pressure due to the coronavirus pandemic.
  • Please keep up to date with the latest Government guidance. You will find summary information and links on this page.

Further information

You can find advice and updates from the UK Government and NHS and detailed information from the Northern Ireland Public Health Agency.

For advice on looking after your mental health at this time, please see our article on mental health during lockdown.


Pathway to Recovery

On 12 May 2020, the Northern Ireland Executive released the Coronavirus Recovery Plan, detailing the gradual relaxation of social and economic restrictions.

Currently groups of six people from different households can meet outdoors, provided they maintain social distancing (keep at least 2 metres (6 feet) apart). Further relaxation of measures depends on the number of cases and spread of the virus and will be announced by the Northern Ireland Executive.

There is still a significant threat from coronavirus and a second rise in cases will happen if restrictions are lifted too quickly. Please stay at home as much as possible and continue to observe social distancing and hand washing advice.


UK coronavirus statistics

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The local Department of Health COVID-19 Dashboard provides detailed statistics for Northern Ireland.

About this data

Until June 2020, only certain groups were being tested, such as care home residents, key workers and those being admitted to hospital. The true number of cases is likely to be many times higher.

Source for UK data: covid19api.com
Data from Johns Hopkins University using a variety of sources including the World Health Organisation and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control.


Updated 1 June 2020

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