The most common symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) are a recent onset of:
- new continuous cough and/or
- high temperature
For most people, coronavirus (COVID-19) will be a mild infection.
- if you have symptoms of coronavirus infection (COVID-19), however mild, DO NOT leave your home for 7 days from when your symptoms started.
- this action will help protect others in your community while you are infectious
- plan ahead and ask others for help to ensure that you can successfully stay at home
- ask your employer, friends and family to help you get the things you need to stay at home
- stay at least 2 metres (about 3 steps) away from other people in your home if possible
- sleep alone if possible
- wash your hands regularly for 20 seconds, each time using soap and water, or use hand sanitiser
- stay away from vulnerable individuals, such as the elderly and those with underlying health conditions, as much as possible
- you do not need to call 111 to go into self-isolation. If your symptoms worsen during home isolation or are no better after 7 days, contact https://111.nhs.uk/ If you have no internet access, call NHS 111. For medical emergency dial 999.
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.
COVID-19 antibody tests
NHS staff in Dorset are being tested as part of the government’s national antibody testing programme.
The antibody tests are used to see if someone has previously had the virus. It is different to the general test for COVID-19 as it is a blood test and not a swap test.
The test lets us know if someone has had the virus and developed antibodies, but it does not tell us if someone is immune to COVID-19.
Over the next few weeks we are testing all NHS staff in Dorset using our specialist lab at Poole Hospital. The testing will then be rolled out to social care staff.
If you receive a positive antibody result it does not mean that you’re immune, or that you cannot pass on the virus to others. It also does not mean that you can ignore social distancing measures.
Clinicians may be able to request a test for patients in both hospital and social care settings if they think it’s appropriate.
There is more information about antibody testing on the .Gov website.