Coronavirus - what you need to know

What is coronavirus?

Coronavirus (COVID-19) is a new respiratory illness that has not previously been seen in humans. The risk of getting the illness in the UK is high.

A coronavirus is a type of virus with symptoms typically including a fever and a cough that may develop to a severe pneumonia resulting in shortness of breath. People with weakened immune systems, older people, and those with long-term conditions like diabetes, cancer and chronic lung disease are more at risk.

But 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.

Current advice if you or someone you know has symptoms

If you or someone you know is displaying symptoms of coronavirus please do not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital. The latest advice on what to do is available on the NHS website. 

Visit the NHS website for coronavirus advice

This page also includes a link to the NHS 111 online coronavirus service.

Wearing a face covering in our hospitals

People infected with Covid-19 can have very mild or no respiratory symptoms and can transmit the virus to others without being aware of it. 

In line with recent recommendations from the World Health Organisation, we are introducing new measures at Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust to keep visitors, patients, and staff safe. 

You will need to wear a face covering when you come to hospital as a visitor or outpatient. 

More information can be found here 

There are some circumstances where peoeple may not be able to wear a face covering. Government guidance can be found here.  

Visiting our hospitals and clinics

The national suspension on visiting hospitals has now been lifted, however please check whether your local hospital or clinic is allowing visitors at this time, and the measures you will need to take to help keep everyone safe.

Practical considerations to support visiting 

  • Before visiting please contact the hospital/unit/clinic to discuss the local arrangements for visiting.
  • The number of visitors is limited to one close family contact or somebody important to the patient. However, where it is possible to maintain social distancing throughout the visit, a second additional visitor could be permitted.
  • Staff will explain what to expect when visiting, and will give you practical advice about social distancing, wearing personal protective equipment and handwashing.
  • Visitors must wear masks or face coverings at all times, unless you are exempt from wearing one. The list of reasons for not wearing a facemask can be found here

The health, safety and wellbeing of our patients, communities and individuals and teams remain our absolute priority.

If you have an appointment, our hospitals and clinics are running, however we are taking precautions in line with the rest of the NHS. Please attend your appointment as normal unless we have contacted you to make alternative arrangements or if you, or someone you live with, have:

  • a new, continuous cough
  • a temperature (fever) of 37.8 degrees celsius or more 

If someone you live with is displaying symptoms you should self isolate for 14 days from the day the first person showed symptoms. Follow the latest advice, which you can find here

If you have an appointment with our Child and Adult Mental Health Services (CAMHS) please see their websites for specific information about appointments:

Visit the Hampshire CAMHS website

Visit the Sussex CAMHS website

Where can I get the latest information?

Public Health England (PHE) is leading the national COVID-19 response and providing messaging and advice to the public. You can read the latest Department of Health and Social Care and Public Health England advice here

Locally, the Public Health Teams at West Sussex County CouncilEast Sussex County Council and Brighton & Hove City Council are working closely with PHE to monitor and respond to the situation.

Information about countries and specified areas affected by COVID-19, along with information for travellers returning to the UK, is available here

PHE also has a suite of guidance available for healthcare professionals in clinical settings

It can be really difficult to know what to do if your child is ill, even more so in this situation. The NHS has put together this useful guidance to help you if you think your child might need to see a doctor during the pandemic. 

What can I do to protect myself?

Your health, safety and wellbeing, that of our patients, communities and staff across our organisation remains our absolute priority. You can help prevent the spread of germs and infection by following PHE advice:

  • Always carry tissues with you and use them to catch your cough or sneeze. Then bin the tissue and wash your hands. If you don't have a tissue use your sleeve, not your hands. 
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after using public transport, and when you get home or into work.
  • Use hand 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.

Follow the latest guidance on social distancing and self isolation to limit the spread of Covid-19, and help protect the most vulnerable people in our communities and our NHS.

Coping with Covid-19 and the heat

Whilst many of us welcome the warmth of summer, high temperatures can have significant health consequences. The current Covid-19 pandemic will amplify the health risks from heat, and we will need to act differently to prevent heat related harm to our health.

Many people who are most at risk of developing serious health complications due to Covid-19 are also at risk during high temperatures, such as older people and those with chronic heart and lung problems. As with Covid-19, heat affects the heart, lungs, kidneys, and is also associated with systemic inflammation.

Due to Covid-19 restrictions, and concerns about contracting the virus, more people will likely be indoors and/or shielding and may need additional health and social care support to cope with the hot weather. People who are managing a Covid-19 infection at home may struggle to keep cool, particularly if they are running a fever.

Public Health England has put together some helpful guidance on managing your health in the heat during the pandemic:

Beat the heat: Coping with heat and coronavirus

Useful information 

There's a lot of information out there and we know that it can sometimes feel a bit overwhelming. It's important to acknowledge how you are feeling emotionally as well as looking out for your physical health, so we've pulled together some useful advice and guidance to help you do just that.

Looking after your mental health

Advice for family, friend and staff carers

Information for people with a learning disability

Information for autistic people

Information for service users

In conjunction with our Experts by Experience we have put together some information responding to frequently asked questions. We hope this is useful for you.

For individual arrangements relating to the service you use, please contact your care co-ordinator or lead practitioner for more information. 

Information for service users

Information for staff

We're regularly updating our staff intranet with the latest information and clinical guidance. You will find a link on the intranet homepage.

We've also put together a list of frequently asked questions to help you. These are available on the staff intranet but we are aware that some of you may not always have access to this page, so we've added them here as well. 

*Updated 25 August* Read the frequently asked questions

If you need any further information or guidance please contact your line manager in the first instance.