Frequently asked questions
Coronavirus - what we all should do
We should all stay at home to help save lives, and only leave for very limited purposes. The Government have provided the following guidance on what you can and can’t do.
All the latest advice on what you should do if you have symptoms of coronavirus is available here.
What can I do to protect myself?
The best protection against any virus is:
- 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 immediately
- wash your hands with soap and water often – use hand sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available
- try to avoid close contact with people who are unwell
- Touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean
What are the signs and symptoms?
The best place to find up to date information about coronavirus including what it is can be found here.
The infection is mild for most people, including children. Older people, and people with pre-existing medical conditions (such as asthma, diabetes, and heart disease) may be at higher risk of more serious illness.
Where should I go for the most up to date information?
For up to date information about the current UK situation please go here.
Education, children and young people
What is the current position for schools?
The latest information on Schools can be found here.
The DfE has set up a helpline offering guidance for anyone with education related questions: 0800 046 8687 (Mon-Fri 8am-6pm) or DfE.firstname.lastname@example.org.
What shall I do if my child becomes ill?
The Covid-19 outbreak is a particularly worrying time for families and it can be confusing where to seek advice from when children become ill. The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health have developed some new resources to support parents/carers. These include:
- A clear helpful guide for accessing advice and help if a child is unwell (particularly important as there may be confusion where to take children in the current situation).
- Webpages with specific information about different conditions such as autism, diabetes, cancer, epilepsy and more, information on staying at home with children, medicines advice, guidance on visiting hospital and ways to discuss the current situation.
If your child has a medical condition or injury, it is important that they should continue to access treatment and attend medical appointments as recommended by their hospital, GP or healthcare professionals.
There is also some helpful wellbeing advice if you are supporting children and young people at this time.
Supporting those most at risk
I would like to volunteer to help people during the Covid-19 pandemic. How can I do this?
If you want to volunteer (and it is safe for you to do so) and you can’t find a local group covering your area, then you can ring us at ‘Here 2 Help Solihull’ on 0121 704 6811 or email email@example.com
You can also visit the Covid-19 page on the Council website to read our advice sheet produced by local communities and Solihull Council
I think a vulnerable adult is being abused. What do I do?
We are responding to safeguarding concerns as usual. Please report your concerns to Adult Social Care on 0121 704 8007 or if someone is in immediate danger call the police on 999.
I don’t receive support from adult social care but think I might need help now. What do I do?
We are currently prioritising urgent queries to make sure that we can support the people who are most at risk. If your query is urgent please contact our Adult Social Care Team on 0121 704 8007 or email firstname.lastname@example.org and we will work with you to organise the support you really need.
If your query is not urgent, try to ask family or friends for support. You can visit our website for information and advice, including information about community groups that might be able to support you.
I usually receive Adult Social Care support, but I’ve been told my non-essential support may reduce during the Covid-19 pandemic. Why is this and what should I do if I can’t manage?
There are major pressures on social care because of Covid-19. This means we are having to prioritise situations where there are risks to people’s safety. Some people’s care may be reduced, for example, in situations where family can support, or the care is not essential.
We will let you know before we change your support. If you have concerns in the meantime, please get in touch with us to discuss your situation further. You can email Adult Social Care email@example.com or ring us on 0121 704 8007.
For more information see our latest news item here.
My 85 year old relative is about to be discharged from hospital. What are you doing to support people once they leave hospital?
NHS and social work staff will agree with your relative (and family members) what care and support they need after leaving hospital. This care and support will be put in place so your relative can be discharged from hospital. This will happen as quickly as possible so that our hospitals are ready to look after people who contract coronavirus (COVID-19) and need hospital care.
Most people will return home. For a smaller number this means going to a temporary bed in a care home. This gives time for them to recover further with a view to them returning home or for further assessments to be completed.
If your relative goes home with support, staff from NHS University Hospitals Birmingham Community Health Services and the Council’s Adult Care and Support team will phone, or in some cases visit, them to ensure the service is appropriate. This will usually happen within the first 24 hours. At this time we will consider any changes or additional support that may be needed and ensure this is implemented.
Initial services will be considered short term and, when your relative’s needs have stabilised, we will work with them to develop a long term plan.
I have had a text notification and/or letter saying that I’m particularly vulnerable to Covid-19 on medical grounds. I don’t have anyone to help me with essential supplies, who should I contact for help?
If you or a family member is one of the 1.5 million people that the government has identified as being particularly vulnerable to COVID-19 on medical grounds you should have received a letter from your GP, titled “IMPORTANT ADVICE TO KEEP YOU SAFE FROM CORONAVIRUS”.
This is because the NHS has identified you, or the named person you care for, as someone at risk of severe illness if you catch COVID-19 and it outlines the special precautions you need to take to keep safe and contains important contact information.
If you are able to use existing help and support, please continue to do this. If you need additional support, please register online or by phone. The details are in the fourth paragraph of the letter. You can ask someone else, for example, a family member or friend to do this for you.
Read the government guidance about shielding and protecting extremely vulnerable people here.
Looking after your physical and mental health
What can I do to stay fit at home?
It is important to look after your physical and mental health at this time by staying active, connecting with people, deciding your routine, getting as much sunlight, fresh air and nature as you can, knowing where to access support and finding ways to relax and be creative. Here is some useful guidance.
I’m worried about my mental health because of coronavirus, what can I do?
You might be worried about coronavirus and how it could affect your life, the NHS’s on-line guide gives lots of tips and advice to looking after your mental health during COVID.
A new mental health support service has launched by the local NHS for the following groups:
- 0-18 year olds in Birmingham
- 0-19 year olds in Solihull
- Over 18s in Birmingham and Solihull
- Key workers.
The services, which are provided by a range of local organisations, offer emotional help, guidance and reassurance to people in Birmingham and Solihull who may be finding the current situation we are living with overwhelming. Find out more about how to access it here.
MIND also has some information to help you cope covering the following:
MIND’s Infoline provides an information and signposting service and is open 9am to 6pm, Monday to Friday (except for bank holidays). Call on 0300 123 3393.
Samaritans has gathered some resources that maybe helpful and are committed to helping those who are struggling however they can.
Call Samaritans free, day or night, 365 day a year on 116 123.
How can I stay active during this time?
We're all now spending a lot more time at home and that means it’s getting harder to keep active. We have put together some ideas and tips to help you & your family get active at home, if well enough.
Coronavirus is making me anxious, how can I keep calm?
Try to avoid speculation and refer to trusted sources (such as www.gov.uk ) on the outbreak. Rumor and speculation can create anxiety and accessing good quality information about the virus can help you feel more in control.
Keep in regular contact with friends and family by phone, video calling or social media.
Be aware of and avoid increasing habits that may not be helpful in the long term, like smoking and drinking.
How can I stop smoking?
There has never been a better time to quit. Smokers are more susceptible to viruses and smoking can worsen or prolong the symptoms of respiratory conditions. Stopping will give your immune system a boost and protect others from the impact of passive smoking when families are spending more time together.
You can self-refer to Gateway using the Freephone number 0800 599 9880 to start your quit journey today by phone or Skype
I’m worried about my drinking, is there anywhere I can get help?
If you are need of support or advice around alcohol please contact the Solihull Integrated Addiction Service in confidence on 0121 301 4141 or mail SIAS in confidence to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Things are getting tough at home, what can I do?
This is a challenging time for everyone as we are required to spend extensive time in our homes. If you feel unsafe at home and are concerned about the behaviour of a partner, ex-partner or family member, there is information, advice and help available.
In an emergency you should ring 999.
Ask us a question
If you have a question about how the coronavirus may affect you, your family or your business please get in touch.
Ask us a question
Answers to the most common questions we receive will be included on this page.