Latest guidance and health advice - Luton Council

Stay alert, control the virus, save lives
We've all had to make sacrifices but it is vital that we all continue to do what we can to combat this deadly disease. Health officials in Luton are currently seeing a slight increase in the number of cases identified through NHS testing so we're urging everyone to be cautious and vigilant.
Lockdown may be easing but the crisis is not over and our advice to residents is:
  • stay at home as much as possible
  • if meeting up with others, do so outside
  • stick to the 2metre guidelines where possible
  • continue to wash hands regularly

Quick links

Government guidance

Keep a safe distance and limit contact with others
While the council’s advice is for you to stay at home as much as possible, please make sure you read and follow the government’s detailed guidance on what is and isn’t allowed.
If you do leave your home, you should follow the guidelines on staying safe outside your home at all times. Most importantly, this includes the key advice that you should keep your distance from anyone outside of your household  and wash your hands regularly.

Please also see our business pages for guidance for safety in the work place.
The above guidance only applies to those people who are fit and healthy. If you have certain health conditions you should follow the separate guidance below.

Clinically vulnerable groups

If you have certain health conditions you are considered 'clinically vulnerable', meaning you are at higher risk of severe illness from coronavirus.
As restrictions are eased, you should take particular care to minimise contact with others outside your should continue to take particular care to minimise contact with others outside your household if you are in this group.

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): nder 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

Never visit a clinically vulnerable person if you think you have coronavirus symptoms, however mild. Never visit a clinically vulnerable person if you have been advised to isolate by NHS Test and Trace because you have been in contact with a case.

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Clinically extremely vulnerable groups

People who are clinically extremely vulnerable should have received a letter telling them they’re in this group or been told by their GP and that they need to be shielded.

Previously, people in this group had been strongly advised to stay at home at all times and avoid any face-to-face contact with anyone else. This is called ‘shielding’.

The government has updated its guidance for people who are shielding.

People who are shielding remain vulnerable and should continue to take precautions but can now leave their home if they wish, as long as they are able to maintain strict social distancing.

If you choose to spend time outdoors, this can be with members of your own household. If you live alone, you can spend time outdoors with one person from another household. Ideally, this should be the same person each time.

From Monday 6 July those shielding from coronavirus can gather in groups of up to 6 people outdoors and form a ‘support bubble’ with another household. For more information on the changes, see the government’s clinical guidance explaine​r.

If you do go out, you should take extra care to minimise contact with others by keeping two metres apart.

The government will continue providing support to this group through the delivery of food, medicines and support from volunteers until the end of July when people will no longer be advised to shield.

The government has shared guidance for those that are shielding.

Guidance for people with symptoms of coronavirus - test and trace

The symptoms of coronavirus
What are the symptoms?

The most common symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) are recent onset of:
  • new continuous cough and/or
  • high temperature
  • loss of taste or smell

What should I do if I have symptoms?

In order to control the spread of the virus it is important you follow the guidance below if you have symptoms of coronavirus Please follow the four steps below:
  1. Isolate: as soon as you experience coronavirus symptoms, self-isolate for at least 7 days. Anyone else in your household must self-isolate for 14 days from when you started having symptoms
  2. Test: order a test immediately at or call 119 if you have no internet access. When you order a test, you will get information on the testing options available to you. See government guidance on testing for more information.
  3. Results: if your test is positive, you must complete the remainder of your 7-day self-isolation. Anyone in your household must also complete self-isolation for 14 days from when you started having symptoms. If your test is negative, you and other household members no longer need to self-isolate
  4. Share contacts: if you test positive for coronavirus, the NHS test and trace service will send you a text or email alert or call you with instructions of how to share details of people with whom you have had close, recent contact and places you have visited. It is important that you respond as soon as possible so that appropriate advice can be given to those who need it. You will be told to do this online via a secure website or you will be called by a contract tracer.

For more information see stay at home: guidance for households with possible coronavirus (COVID-19) infection.

If you are in contact with someone who has tested positive

If you are contacted by the NHS test and trace service because you have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for coronavirus you will be alerted by the NHS test and trace service.

The alert will usually come by text, email or phone call. You should then log on to the NHS test and trace website or a trained call handler will talk you through what you must do.

You will be told to begin self-isolation for 14 days from your last contact with the person who has tested positive.

Your household doesn’t need to self-isolate with you, if you do not have symptoms, but they must take extra care to follow the guidance on social distancing and handwashing and avoid contact with you at home.

If you develop symptoms of coronavirus you must book a test and other members of your household must self-isolate immediately at home for 14 days (see above).

Protect yourself from test and trace scams

Bedfordshire Police is asking the public to stay vigilant of NHS Test and Trace scams. Genuine contact tracers will never ask you to provide any financial information such as bank details or passwords and PINs.

  • Contact tracers will only call you from the number 0300 013 5000.
  • Anyone who does not wish to talk over the phone can request the NHS Test and Trace service to send an email or text instead, inviting them to log into the web-based service.

The NHS Test and Trace service will never ask you:

  • to dial a premium rate number to speak to them (for example, those starting 09 or 087)
  • to make any form of payment or purchase a product or any kind
  • for any details about your bank account
  • for your social media identities or login details, or those of your contacts
  • for any passwords or PINs, or ask you to set up any passwords or PINs over the phone
  • to download any software to your PC or ask you to hand over control of your PC, smartphone or tablet to anyone else
  • to access any website that does not belong to the government or NHS

For more information see Coronovirus related scams - how to protect yourself.

More information on test and trace

NHS test and traceLatest government guidance NHS test and trace: how it works lays out the parameters of test and trace method to control the spread of coronavirus. Also see guidance for contacts of people with possible or confirmed coronavirus (COVID-19) infection who do not live with the person.

How can you reduce your chances of getting coronavirus?

Regularly wash your hands

  • Wash your hands often (see more below)
  • Use a tissue for coughs
  • Avoid touching your face
Corona symptoms

Handwashing guidance

Washing your hands is still the most important thing we can do to stop the spread of coronavirus. Please follow Public Health England advice to:
  • wash your hands with soap and water often – do this for at least 20 seconds
  • always wash your hands when you get home or into work
  • use hand sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available
  • 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 straight away and wash your hands afterwards
  • try to avoid close contact with people who are unwell
For the safest and most thorough handwashing method, watch this NHS video.

Face coverings

The government has updated its guidance asking people to wear face coverings in places where:
  • it is hard to maintain social distancing measures
  • you will come into contact with people you do not normally meet
From 15 June, face coverings are required while using public transport in England. Guidance remains to work from home if you can and avoid public transport wherever possible - walk, cycle or drive, but if this is not an option, you must wear a face covering on your journey.
They do not need to be worn:
  • outdoors​
  • while exercising
  • in schools
  • in workplaces such as offices and retail
  • by those who may find them difficult to wear, such as children under two or primary aged children who cannot use them without assistance
  • by or those who may have problems breathing while wearing a face covering such as those suffering with Asthma. See Asthma UK advice.
You can make face coverings at home, using scarves or other textile items that many will already own.

Where to get medical help

You do not need to contact NHS 111 to tell them you’re staying at home. They won't be testing people who are self-isolating with mild symptoms. 
Use the NHS 111 online coronavirus service if:
  • you feel you cannot cope with your symptoms at home
  • your condition gets worse
  • your symptoms do not get better after seven days
Only call NHS 111 if you cannot get help online.
The latest online health advice from the NHS can be found using the button below. This includes:
  • stay at home advice including how long to stay at home
  • how to avoid catching and spreading coronavirus
  • travel advice
  • treatment for coronavirus

Coronavirus health checker tool

The NHS is asking people with potential coronavirus symptoms to:
  • complete a new coronavirus status checker
  • answer a short series of questions that will tell the NHS about their experience
This checker will help the NHS coordinate its response and build up additional data on the COVID-19 outbreak.
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