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Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Covid-19: Latest updates

Local restrictions

From 2 December, the government is introducing different tiers of restrictions in different parts of the country. These are Medium, High and Very High and will be strengthened compared to the previous tiers in order to prevent a return to growing infections.

We have been advised that Wokingham Borough is in Tier 2 (High Alert) tier. This means there are some restrictions to what you can and cannot do. For the full breakdown, please visit the Gov.uk website.

We will update our website and communities as and when we receive further information.

You can find out which tier other parts of England are in through the Government's Covid -19 postcode checker, and see the latest stats in the local area on the Covid-19 Dashboard.

Stay up-to-date with the latest information about Covid-19 in Wokingham Borough by signing up to our dedicated newsletter.

Covid Community Information Champions

To ensure that everyone in the borough has the information they need to safely go about their day-to-day life during the pandemic, we’ve launched a Covid Community Information Champion initiative.

We’re seeking champions who can help us get accurate information into the community. Anybody can become a champion, but we are particularly keen on hearing from people who have large networks of contacts . Here’s how it works:   

  • We’ll email weekly with the latest information from our Public Health team about Covid-19   
  • Share this with anyone in your community, however you want    
  • Ask questions and let us know what is and isn’t working through our online feedback form    

We have also produced a digital welcome pack for our Champions to use and we will update this as and when it is necessary.

To get involved, simply follow this link, enter your email and select ‘Covid Community Information Champions’ on the next page. If you’d like to use imagery when promoting any of the messages you receive from us, please feel free to use this asset too.

For more information, scroll down to the 'Covid Community Information Champions FAQs' at the bottom of this page.

Keeping the borough safe

We have an efficient plan in place should a local outbreak occur. Learn more by reading our full Outbreak Control Plan.

Our public health team have also pulled together all the local information for Wokingham Borough on Covid-19. All of the details can be found in our Covid-19 situation report.

For the latest figures, take a look at the Covid-19 Dashboard on the Berkshire Public Health website.

In summer 2020, we conducted a survey amongst residents to help us understand the impact that the Covid-19 pandemic was having on their lives during the first national lockdown. You can see the results of our Covid-19 Residents Survey here.    

If you have any queries and can’t find the information you need on this page, please complete our dedicated Covid-19 form.

Useful links:   

Preparing for self-isolation

Guidance for self-isolating

How to get tested for Covid-19

Test and Trace support payments   

In order to claim a support payment of £500 if you have been told to stay at home and self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace, you must meet all the below criteria:   

  • You are employed or self-employed    
  • You are unable to work from home and will lose income as a result    
  • You are currently receiving one or more of these benefits:
Universal Credit  
Working Tax Credit
Income-based Employment and Support Allowance
Income-based Jobseeker's Allowance
Income Support
Housing Benefit
Pension Credit
        

Find out more on our Test and Trace support payment information page

Reporting a breach of Covid-19 measures

If you are aware of a business, venue or person(s) that you believe isn't keeping to the Covid-19 rules, please let us know in by completing this form, so we can investigate and act accordingly.

Using the NHS Covid-19 app

The NHS Covid-19 app has been launched by the Government to make it easier for people to understand when they may be at risk of infection. We are actively encouraging all residents to download the app as it’s the fastest way of tracking the spread of Covid-19 in and around the borough. With the app, you can:   

  • Trace: Find out when you’ve been near other app users who have tested positive    
  • Alert: Understand the level of coronavirus risk in your postcode area    
  • Check-in: Get alerted if you’ve visited a venue where you may have come into contact with coronavirus, using a simple QR code scanner   
  • Symptoms: Check if you have coronavirus symptoms and see if you need to order a test    
  • Test: Helps you order a test if you need to    
  • Isolate: Keep track of your self-isolation countdown and access relevant advice

Please note that legally, certain venues must display the official NHS QR code poster on their premises. Find out if your business or venue falls into the categories listed on the NHS website.

We have put together a helpful step by step guide on how to create a Test and Trace QR code poster for your venue.

For more details and guidance on downloading the app, visit the NHS website. 

Support for Test and Trace system

We have recently launched a local scheme to support the Government’s NHS Test and Trace efforts. If you receive a notification of a positive test result, NHS Test and Trace will attempt to contact you to identify who you have been in contact with, and subsequently ask them to self-isolate. If they cannot reach you, a member of the Wokingham Borough Council team will then try to get in touch.

You may receive an initial text message from our tracing team, who will then follow-up with a phone call. If they are unable to reach you by phone, they may visit you at home.

Please note that you will never be asked to make payments or provide your bank details to the test and trace team. You should never provide details of any other accounts or set up a password or PIN number over the phone. If you have any concerns, please contact the Covid-19 Fraud hotline

Schools

Business advice

Council services

Community support

Other useful links

Support you can get if you’re affected by coronavirus

Guidance for travelling abroad

Looking after your mental health and wellbeing

Understanding the symptoms

You must stay at home if you have coronavirus symptoms - check visit the NHS website for the latest advice. The symptoms are:

  • A high temperature
  • A new continuous cough
  • A loss/change in your normal sense of smell or taste

If you have symptoms and have not had a test, stay at home and get a test to check if you have coronavirus as soon as possible.

The advice is currently:

  • If you have symptoms or tested positive, stay at home for at least 10 days from when your symptoms started and until your symptoms have gone
  • If you live with someone who has symptoms or tested positive, you must self-isolate for 14 days. You can stop self-isolating after 14 days if you do not get symptoms

For more support, check out this advice page from the NHS on How to treat coronavirus symptoms at home.

It is now the law to self-isolate when instructed to do so by NHS Test and Trace. Not self-isolating can put others at severe risk, so self-isolating when instructed to do so is vital.

If people don’t comply with the requirements, they may result in a fine of at least £1,000 and up to £10,000 for a repeated or serious offence. This also applies to employers who do not allow employees to self-isolate.

People should self-isolate immediately if:    

  • They have any symptoms of coronavirus (a high temperature, a new continuous cough, or a loss or change to their sense of smell or taste)    
  • They have tested positive for coronavirus   
  • They live with someone who has symptoms or tested positive    
  • Someone in their support bubble has symptoms or tested positive    
  • They’re told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace or the NHS Covid-19 app   They arrive in the UK from a country with a high coronavirus risk

The length of self-isolation depends on the circumstances above.

  • If you have symptoms or tested positive you must self-isolate for at least 10 days      
- If you get symptoms after your test, you should self-isolate for a further 10 days from when your symptoms start
- You can stop self-isolating after 10 days if you do not have symptoms
- You should continue self-isolating if you feel unwell after the 10 days
  • If you live with someone who has symptoms or tested positive you must self-isolate for 14 days
- This starts from when the first person started having symptoms
- You can stop isolating after 14 days if you do not get symptoms
- If you do get symptoms, you should keep self-isolating and get a test 
- If your test is negative, you must keep self-isolating for the rest of the 14 days
- If your test is positive, you must self-isolate for 10 days from when your symptoms started
  • If you’ve been told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace or the NHS Covid-19 app,  you must self-isolate for 14 days
- Please note it might take 14 days for symptoms to appear

Further information    

For more information on self-isolation, visit the Gov.uk website. This also includes the guidance in the following languages:  

  • Arabic
  • Bengali
  • Traditional Chinese – Cantonese
  • Simplified Chinese – Mandarin
  • French    
  • Gujarati   
  • Polish  
  • Portuguese
  • Punjadi
  • Urdu
  • Welsh

There are general principles you can follow to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses, including:

  • Washing your hands more often, with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, or use a hand sanitiser when you get home or into work, when you blow your nose, sneeze or cough, eat or handle food
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands
  • Avoid close contact with people who have symptoms
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in a bin and wash your hands
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces in the home

Watch the video on hand washing from the NHS:

It is your responsibility to adopt these principles wherever possible.

The government is also using these principles as the basis of discussions with key stakeholders, to agree how the principles should apply in different settings to make them safer.

All of us, as customers, visitors, employees or employers need to make changes to lower the risk of transmission of the virus.

Keep your distance from people outside your household

  • Whilst recognising this will not always be possible, it is important to be aware that the risk of infection increases the closer you are to another person with the virus, and the amount of time you spend in close contact with them
  • Therefore, you are unlikely to be infected if you walk past another person in the street
  • Public Health England recommends trying to keep two metres away from people as a precaution
  • However, this is not a rule and the science is complex. The key thing is to not be too close to people for more than a short period of time, as much as you can
     

Keep your hands and face as clean as possible

  • Wash your hands often using soap and water, and dry them thoroughly
  • Where available, use sanitiser outside your home, especially as you enter a building and after you have had contact with surfaces
  • Avoid touching your face
    

Work from home if you can

  • With the proper equipment and adjustments, many people can do most or all of their work from home. Your employer should support you to find reasonable adjustments to do this
  • However, not all jobs can be done from home
  • If your workplace is open and you cannot work from home, you can travel to work
   

Avoid being face-to-face with people if they are outside your household

  • You are at higher risk of being directly exposed to respiratory droplets (released by talking or coughing) when you are within two metres of someone and have face-to-face contact with them
  • You can lower the risk of infection if you stay side-to-side rather than facing someone
  

Reduce the number of people you spend time with in a work setting

You can lower the risks of transmission in the workplace by reducing the number of people you come into contact with regularly, where you can. Your employer can support with this (where practical) by:

  • Changing shift patterns and rotas to match you with the same team each time
  • Splitting people into smaller, contained teams

Avoid crowds

  • You can lower the risks of transmission by reducing the number of people you come into close contact with. For example, avoid peak travel times on public transport, where possible
  • Businesses should also take reasonable steps to avoid people being gathered together. For example, by allowing the use of more entrances and exits, and staggering entrance and exit, where possible.

If you have to travel (for example, to work or school), think about how and when you travel

  • To reduce demand on the public transport network, you should walk or cycle wherever possible. If you have to use public transport, you should try to avoid peak times
  • Employers should consider staggering working hours, expanding bicycle storage facilities, providing changing facilities and providing car parking

Wash your clothes regularly

  • There is some evidence that the virus can stay on fabrics for a few days, although usually it is shorter
  • Therefore, if you are working with people outside your household, wash your clothes regularly
  • Changing clothes in workplaces should only be considered where there is a high risk of infection or there are highly vulnerable people, such as in a care home
  • If you need to change your clothes, avoid crowding into a changing room

Keep indoor places well ventilated

  • Evidence suggests that the virus is less likely to be passed on in well-ventilated buildings and outdoors
  • In good weather, try to leave windows and doors open in areas where people from different households come into contact, or move activity outdoors if you can
  • Use external extractor fans to keep spaces well ventilated and make sure that ventilation systems are set to maximise the air flow rate
  • Heating and cooling systems can be used at their normal temperature settings

When at work, follow the advice given to you by your employer

Employers have a duty to assess and manage risks to your safety in the workplace. The government has issued guidance for employers and businesses on coronavirus. This includes guidance on how to make adjustments to your workplace to help you maintain social distancing

It also includes guidance on hygiene, as evidence suggests that the virus can exist for up to 72 hours on surfaces. Therefore, frequent cleaning is particularly important for communal surfaces like:

  • Door handles
  • Lift buttons
  • Communal areas like bathrooms
  • Kitchens
  • Tea points

For more information on staying safe outside your home, visit the UK Government website.

If you have any of the following health conditions, you are clinically vulnerable, meaning you are at higher risk of severe illness from coronavirus.

You are advised to stay at home as much as possible and, if you do go out, take particular care to minimise contact with others outside your household.

Clinically vulnerable people are those who are:

  • Aged 70 or older (regardless of medical conditions)
  • Under 70 with an underlying health condition listed below (that is, anyone instructed to get a flu jab as an adult each year on medical grounds) 
  • Chronic (long-term) mild to moderate respiratory diseases, such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), emphysema or bronchitis
  • Chronic heart disease, such as heart failure
  • Chronic kidney disease
  • Chronic liver disease, such as hepatitis
  • Chronic neurological conditions, such as Parkinson’s disease, motor neurone disease, multiple sclerosis (MS), or cerebral palsy
  • Diabetes
  • A weakened immune system as the result of certain conditions, treatments like chemotherapy, or medicines such as steroid tablets
  • Being seriously overweight (a body mass index (BMI) of 40 or above)
  • Pregnant women

As above, there is a further category of people with serious underlying health conditions who are clinically extremely vulnerable, meaning they are at very high risk of severe illness from coronavirus. 

You are not advised to follow formal shielding advice again unless you receive a new shielding notification advising you to do so. For more information, visit the Gov.uk website.

If you need help, visit out our Community support for coronavirus (Covid-19) webpages.

What is Test and Trace?

Anyone who is showing symptoms of Covid-19 needs to be tested. Test and Trace supports the national NHS system to identify contacts of those who have received a positive test. The aim is to control the rate of reproduction of the virus (R Rate), to reduce the spread of infection, keep the public safe and protect the capacity of the NHS.

Anyone who tests positive will be contacted by Public Health England (PHE) and asked to share information about their recent interactions with other people in the two days before the symptoms started and up to seven days afterwards.

This information will help to trace anyone that the individual may have come into contact with and who therefore could be at risk of infection and spreading it further. For further information on how NHS Test and Trace works, please visit the Gov.uk website.

What is our local approach to Test and Trace?

The Government established a Contain Framework to set out how national and local partners work with the public at a local level to prevent, contain and manage outbreaks. Test and Trace is the national programme run by Public Health England, with localised support from Local Authorities.

Our local community has settings and population groups that are at particular risk and therefore need a considered approach to minimise harm. The successful management of local outbreaks is a core element of breaking the Covid-19 transmission and our local decision makers are empowered to take local action where needed.

Further information is available on the Wokingham Borough Council website.

What is an outbreak?

An ‘outbreak’ is a situation in which two or more persons have the same disease, and where there is a time, place and/or person association between these individuals.  An outbreak may also be defined as a situation where the number of cases exceeds the expected number. An incident may warrant further investigation to manage the risk and implement further public health measures.

The successful management of local outbreaks is a core element of breaking the Covid-19 transmission. Our local decision makers are empowered to take local action where needed. Local Authorities have a duty to produce an Outbreak Control Plan overseen by Public Health England which sets out how to prevent, contain and manage outbreaks.

You can read the full Wokingham Borough Council Outbreak Control Plan here.

What is a local lockdown?

The government has introduced local alert levels to ensure there is the right level of intervention in the right places to manage outbreaks. You can read more about these on the Gov.uk website. Please note these are currently suspended while we are under a national lockdown.

A local lockdown is a response to address local spikes in infections and tighten restrictions in individual locations. Depending on the prevalence of the virus, it could lead to the closure of schools, businesses and workplaces in areas with a high risk of infection. 

Local alert levels will involve an assessment of a range of data which comes from a variety of sources including the Joint Biosecurity Centre, as well as intelligence gathered from Local Health Protection Teams, Public Health England, the national Test and Trace system and Environmental Health teams. 

Public Health England will work alongside local Directors of Public Health in the local decision-making process to assist with any response to possible further risks in the district and neighbouring authorities.

Actions taken may include additional targeted testing at high risk areas or groups, enhanced communications around the importance of social distancing, hand hygiene and other preventative measures, and detailed epidemiological work to understand where clusters of the virus are occurring.

What do I do if I am feeling unwell?

Do not go to your GP Surgery or any other medical setting. If you are showing symptoms of COVID-19, please self-isolate and, if you need further support, dial 111 to follow NHS guidance.  Full details can be found on the NHS website.

If you have difficulty breathing please phone 999 immediately.

If I am feeling unwell, can I be tested?

If you have developed symptoms within the last 72 hours you can be tested (the test is not effective otherwise). 

  • Symptomatic residents can apply via the NHS website, or by telephoning 119, to either be tested at a regional testing site, mobile testing unit, or receive a home testing kit
  • Essential workers can self-refer through the NHS website or employers are able to sign-up and refer  staff through the ‘employer referral portal’
  • Care homes can request whole-home testing for all residents (irrespective of symptoms) and asymptomatic staff via the Gov.uk website
  • Acute hospital patients and staff (including those who are asymptomatic, where indicated by clinical need) will be tested in the hospital setting

If I have to self-isolate, where can I go for support?

The Wokingham Borough Community Response (WBCR) was launched at the start of the pandemic and continues to support you if you need extra help at this time.

One Front Door, led by Citizens Advice Wokingham, is the fastest way to get the help you need as it works closely with Wokingham Borough Council and a range of local voluntary organisations such as the Wokingham Volunteer Centre, First Days, Involve, Link Visiting Scheme, Age UK Berkshire - to name a few. We all came together at the start of the pandemic to create WBCR, a unique support network, and an additional support net to the NHS and social services.

You can contact One Front Door 24/7 via its website, or call the team on 0300 330 1189 Monday to Fridays 9am to 5pm, and Saturday, 9am to 1pm. You can also leave a voicemail out of hours. If you are hard of hearing, you can use the text relay service by calling 03444 111 445.

If I feel my emotional wellbeing is declining, is there someone I can speak to?

Yes, full details of our services are available in the Emotional and mental health section of our website.

Can I still go to work?

No, you should not go into a work setting if you are showing symptoms or if you have been told to self-isolation. However you can work from home if you are able to do so and if you feel well enough.

If you are unable to work, you should inform your employer that you are self-isolating and they will be able to advise you on your pay arrangements.

If you are self-employed, Citizens Advice can advise on the financial support that’s available. Dial 0300 330 1189 (if prompted, enter 0118 978 7258) or contact them via email on admin@citizensadvicewokingham.org.uk

You may also be eligible for a Test and Trace support payment of £500 if you have been advised to self-isolate. Find out more on our website.

What should other members of my household do?

If someone within the household is showing symptoms, all members of the household should also self-isolate to minimise the spread of the infection to others. More information on self-isolation can be found on the NHS website.

If someone in my household is showing symptoms, should I still send my child to school?

No. Any member of the same household as the person with symptoms must also self-isolate, including children.

If the household member has developed symptoms within the last 72 hours, they can self-refer for testing through the NHS website.

You should report your child’s self-isolation to the Head Teacher of the school, who will be able to provide further guidance and support in respect of return to school as appropriate.

I am a carer for a vulnerable person, but I am now unable to continue with this, what should I do?

If you feel you are unable to continue to care for a vulnerable person, you should contact Adult Services on the below details:

  • New customer to Wokingham Borough Council – Adult Social Care Duty on 0300 3651234
  • Existing customer to Wokingham Borough Council – Brokerage and Professional Support Duty on 0118 974 6832

I am concerned about someone who is homeless – what can I do?

Guidance and details of support are available on our website.

I have a business in Wokingham and need help and support.  What should I do?

Full guidance and details of support are available on our website.

I have a business in Wokingham, what should I be doing to support Test and Trace?

You can help trace and stop the spread of the virus by displaying a QR code on your premises.

Customers are required to scan the QR codes that are set up in premises which records the individual’s location on the NHS app. You should promote and assist this service with requests for data if needed.  This could help contain clusters or outbreaks.  

I have a business in Wokingham, where can I find guidance on Covid-19 prevention in the workplace?

Enquiries regarding Covid-19, prevention in the workplace and health and safety can be directed to the Environmental Health service by phoning 01635 503242 (9am to 5pm, seven days per week), or via email on EHadvice@westberks.gov.uk.

Alternatively, you can read further information on the Public Protection Partnership (PPP) website or via this document.

I have a business in Wokingham and suspect I have an outbreak (two or more cases), who do I contact?

Enquiries regarding a suspected case or outbreak of Covid-19 in the workplace can be directed into the Environmental Health service by phoning 01635 503242 (9am to 5pm, seven days per week) or via email on EHadvice@westberks.gov.uk.  Alternatively, you can visit the PPP website for more information.

Further guidance and details of support is available from our team. Please contact us on public.health@wokingham.gov.uk or 0800 212111.

An employee has tested positive for Covid-19, what should I do?

All confirmed cases of Covid-19 should be reported to the Public Protection Partnership (PPP) Environment Health team. You can contact them by phone on 01635 503242 (9am to 5pm, seven days per week) or email CV19notifications@westberks.gov.uk.

Alternatively, you can email EHadvice@westberks.gov.uk, public.health@wokingham.gov.uk, or visit the PPP website.

Please refer to our dedicated Covid-19 page on our website.

I would like some advice on how to implement a Covid-19 policy – how can I get this?

Full guidance and support is available through the Public Health Team. You can email them on

public.health@wokingham.gov.uk or phone on 0800 212111.

I would like some advice on how to complete a Covid-19 Risk Assessment – where do I find this?

Advice, guidance and a template are available on the PPP website.

Where can I find multilingual advice?

You can find this on the Doctors of the World website.

What is a Covid Community Information Champion and can anyone sign up?

Covid Community Information Champions are volunteers who will help to provide Wokingham Borough residents, including friends, family and other community members, with up-to-date and accurate information on Covid-19. We’re specifically inviting representatives from key groups to sign-up to become Champions, although the scheme is open to all.

What will my role as a Covid Community Information Champion involve?

You will be empowered to become a point of contact within your community (family, friends, neighbourhood, place of worship, community organisation etc.) and will be able to pass on the key Covid-19 messages to your contacts.

All you will need to do is share the information we send you with your community - friends, family, colleagues or other contacts - in whichever way you want.

As a Champion, you may also receive information from your community and contacts and we ask that you pass that back to us via the online reporting methods available.

How will I receive the information I need to share with my friends, family, and community?

Your welcome pack will be full of useful information on Covid-19, including social distancing rules, self-isolation guidance, the support available from Wokingham Borough Community Response, and more.

As a Covid Community Information Champion, you’ll be signed up to receive a weekly e-bulletin with the latest key messages and insights from our Public Health team. You will also be sent links to social media assets that you will be able to use in any online community groups.

We are in the progress of organising virtual video conference sessions for Champions to join.

Will we be able to feedback on what is and isn’t working?

Absolutely. Champions will have the opportunity to feedback and submit any questions they might have via an online feedback form. We’ll use these insights to help shape our weekly e-bulletins and also look to arrange a video conference session where we can address any commonly asked questions. 

Will I be responsible for enforcing against any breaches of social distancing rules?

No – this is not an enforcement or regulatory role. We have a team of trained officers who are helping with this. However, if you do know of any breaches of social distancing rules, whether they’re committed by a business, venue, or person, you can report it on our website here. 

How can I apply to become a Covid Community Information Champion?

Simply enter your email here and select ‘Covid Community Information Champions’ on the next page. You’ll receive your first e-bulletin in the next couple of weeks, including a link to a handy information pack. 

What happens if I want to withdraw from being a Covid Community Information Champion?

That’s no problem. Simply unsubscribe from the emails that we send you by clicking the button at the bottom and we will ensure that your information is removed from the database.

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