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This page contains information about the current outbreak of the coronavirus (or COVID-19, its official name), and provides advice for people that use Mind in Kingston services.
The World Health Organization has declared the coronavirus as a public health emergency of international concern. The .
1. What is coronavirus?
The coronavirus is a type of virus; as a group, coronaviruses are common across the world. It is a new type of virus so it isn’t known how it is spread but it is likely that it is spread via cough droplets, and not via packages or food.
Generally, people experience mild to moderate symptoms and recover within 2-14 days. The coronavirus can cause more severe symptoms in people with weakened immune systems, older people, and those with long-term conditions like diabetes, cancer and chronic lung disease.
2. What are the symptoms of coronavirus?
The symptoms of coronavirus are:
· a cough
· a high temperature
· shortness of breath
These symptoms do not necessarily mean you have the illness. The symptoms are similar to other illnesses that are much more common, such as cold and flu.
If you feel unwell, seek the advice of a health professional by calling your GP or the 111 NSH Helpline (see section 3 below).
3. Government Advice
The government is advising people to stay at home where possible to reduce spreading the virus and reducing the impact on the NHS.
People are advised to work from home where possible and not to travel unless absolutely essential. Schools, colleges and universities are closed and children and students should stay at home.
People that are more at risk, including those over 70, those with a compromised immune system and those with certain health conditions including diabetes and respiratory problems, should stay at home.
The government has also advised people to minimise contact with others, and to keep a distance of at least 6 feet/ 2 meters (this is called social distancing).
If you display certain symptoms which are a high temperature (of 37.8 degrees or above) and a continuous cough, you should self-isolate for at least 7 days. You don’t need to call a doctor unless your symptoms worsen. This will help to stop any viruses from spreading to others.
If you have any other symptoms, such as a cold or flu, you should self-isolate until you have recovered.
If you believe you may have been affected by the coronavirus, you should not visit your GP practice or another health facility (such as a hospital); this will reduce the risk of spreading the virus to others. Instead, you should call 111 (the NHS helpline) or call your GP practice and follow the advice given by health professionals.
You can also check the 111 online coronavirus service for advice at https://111.nhs.uk/service/covid-19.
The government provides daily updates at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-information-for-the-public?mc_cid=c4e716bbb7&mc_eid=e4c56e6deb.
4. What you can do to minimise the spread of viruses
It is important that you help to reduce the risk of spreading the virus by following the NHS steps of Catch It, Bin It, Kill It. If you live with others, we advise that you pass on these steps to them as well:
· wash your hands with soap and water often – do this for at least 20 seconds
· always wash your hands when you get home, to work or other places
· use hand sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available
· cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze
· put used tissues in the bin straight away and wash your hands afterwards
· try to avoid close contact with people who are unwell
· do not touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean
The majority of people who are affected by coronavirus will experience mild to moderate symptoms and will recover within 2-14 days. If you have any existing conditions, we advise you to take precautions and limit exposure to other people - this will ensure that the risk of contracting the virus will be kept to a minimum. Please check in with your GP, care coordinator, CPN, psychiatryst or other health professional and follow their advice.
5. Mind in Kingston’s Services
Mind in Kingston’s is following the government’s advice, and has closed all face to face services. Our counselling service will take place by phone or video, and our Floating Support Service will take place by phone, and limited visits.
We are available by phone for general advice and support, and we are using our social media pages to provide advice, information and links to useful sites including exercise (that can be done at home), self-care tips and managing your mental wellbeing.
Staff will be able to provide you with further information, including what do to do if you believe you are affected by the coronavirus. You can also visit the websites listed in this document (see section 3).
If you are in regular contact with a Mind in Kingston Support Worker, we will make sure that your contact details, medical information and next of kin information are up to date so we can support you in case of any problems.
6. Reviewing this page
This page is reviewed daily and updated when the government updates its advice. This page was last reviewed o the 23rd of March 2020.