Coronavirus (COVID-19) - What you need to know
Swindon: It's up to all of us
- Introduction from our Director of Public Health
- What you need to do to help prevent coronavirus spreading in Swindon
Introduction from our Director of Public Health - updated Tuesday, 27 October 2020
Every area of England now falls into three categories – medium, high or very high, depending on the local rate of infection. As Swindon’s infection rate currently remains significantly below the average in England, it falls under the 'medium' alert level and consists of the existing national measures which came into force on 25 September. If you plan to travel outside of Swindon, make sure you have checked the alert level of the area you are visiting using this postcode checker, as restrictions could be different.
As of 22 October, the case rate in Swindon was 68.9 cases per 100,000 compared to the average case rate across the South West region of 88.8 per 100,000 and 177.2 per 100,000 for England as a whole. However, we can’t be lulled into a false sense of security that Swindon is set to avoid reaching the ‘high’ or ‘very high’ COVID Alert Levels. That could quickly become a very real prospect if we allow complacency to set in.
Keeping the case rate down depends on each of us continuing to apply ‘Hands. Face. Space’:
- Hands – wash your hands regularly for 20 seconds
- Face – wear a face covering indoors where social distancing may be difficult, and where you will come into contact with people you do not normally meet
- Space – stay two metres apart from people you do not live with where possible, or one metre with extra precautions (such as wearing face coverings or increasing ventilation indoors)
COVID-19 will remain a clear and present danger for some time to come, particularly over the winter months and with cases currently rising in many parts of the country.
What you need to do to help prevent coronavirus spreading in Swindon
1. When you leave home you must:
- wash your hands - keep washing your hands regularly for more than 20 seconds
- cover your face - wear a face covering over your nose and mouth in enclosed spaces. GOV.UK has more information about face coverings, including:
- where you need to wear one
- a list of exemptions
- tips on how to make your own
- make space - stay at least a metre away from people not in your household, preferably two metres where possible
When you are at home, it is important that you minimise contact with others outside of your household in order to reduce the spread of coronavirus. Any contact with others should be limited and the steps above adhered to.
2. If you have symptoms:
- self-isolate - do not leave home for at least ten days
- get tested - book a test online at the NHS website or by calling 119. Those living in your household should self-isolate for 14 days if you or any members of the household receive a positive test.
- stay at home - staying at home means not going out for any reason, including to work or to the shops, and not having anyone else come into your home
If you are self-isolating, we can help you with emergency household supplies. Please call Customer Services on 01793 445500 from Monday to Friday, 9.00am to 5.00pm (closes 4.00pm on Tuesdays).
If you’re on a low income, unable to work from home and will lose income because you are required to self-isolate, you may be eligible for a £500 Test and Trace Support payment.
3. Look out for these symptoms:
- high temperature
- loss or change to sense of taste
- loss or change to sense of smell
You must book a COVID-19 test if you experience any of these symptoms, even if your symptoms are mild. We have three testing sites in Swindon at:
- Wroughton Park and Ride site
- Civic Annexe
- Broadgreen Community Centre
4. Avoid car sharing, but if you have to:
- wear a face covering
- sit as far away as possible
- only car share with the same small group
- keep windows open throughout the journey
- wash hands before and after the journey
- clean the car before and after every journey, including internal and external handles
5. Meeting and socialising with friends and family
When meeting friends and family it is still very important you take precautions to keep yourself and others safe.
When meeting with people you don’t live with (or have formed a support bubble with) you can socialise in groups of up to six. You should continue to maintain social distancing with anyone you do not live with.
There is further guidance on meeting with others safely on the GOV.UK website, which includes details of exemptions from this limit, including for larger households and support bubbles.
You can stay overnight in someone else’s home, but only if you do not form a gathering of more than six people. This limit does not apply if you are in a support bubble with the person whose home you are staying in.
It is also important that you:
- do not gather for photos or share items like utensils
- avoid sharing food or drink where possible
6. Information for schools and early years return in September
The Chief Medical Officers from all four nations in the UK have made it clear that the overall risks to children from coronavirus in relation to education settings is low and that the risks associated with not being in school outweigh those of being in school. The Government has also published information on what parents and carers need to know about early years providers, schools and colleges during the coronavirus outbreak.
Measures have been put in place by schools to ensure the safety of students. For specific information on your child’s school, visit their website or contact them directly if they have not already contacted you.
It’s understandable there may be some anxiety from parents and from students about attending school. We are asking anyone who is feeling anxious or who is unable to find any of the information they need, to call the Early Help Team for advice on 01793 465050.
7. Read the latest information on what you can and can't do
The Government has published guidance on staying alert and staying safe outside your home. The GOV.UK website provides key questions and answers to what you should and should not do, including when socialising both indoors and outdoors.
If you are returning to the UK from a trip or holiday abroad, please read the travel advice at the GOV.UK website. This includes:.
- tips for things to do before you travel
- what to be aware of while you’re away
- what you need to do when you return
For the latest updates on the situation in Swindon, please follow the council’s Facebook and Twitter pages. You can also sign up to regular newsletters.