Self-isolation can be difficult, but it's essential for stopping the spread of coronavirus. If you're instructed to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace, you are legally required to do so and could be fined if you don't.
If you test positive
If you have tested positive for Covid-19, you must stay at home. NHS Test and Trace will tell you how long for.
If you have been in close contact with someone else who has tested positive, you will need to self-isolate unless:
- you are fully vaccinated (this means that you have been vaccinated with an MHRA approved Covid-19 vaccine in the UK and at least 15 days have passed since you received the recommended doses)
- you are below the age of 18 years 6 months
- you have taken part in or are currently part of an approved Covid-19 vaccine trial
- you are not able to get vaccinated for medical reasons
All close contacts should take daily lateral flow tests for 7 days and report your results. If your lateral flow test is positive, you must self-isolate. If you develop symptoms, you should arrange a PCR test - even if you have had a negative lateral flow test result.
If you have been told to self-isolate, you must not leave your home. Do not:
- Go to work or school
- Go out to get food or medicine - order online or ask someone to bring it to your home
- Have visitors in your home - except for people providing essential care
- Go outside to exercise, other than in your own private garden
NHS Test and Trace will tell you how long you need to self-isolate for and whether the people you live with also need to self-isolate.
If you are self-isolating because someone else in your household has tested positive, limit your contact with that person as much as you can. If possible, they should:
- Use their own bathroom and towels and clean after each use
- Use the kitchen separately
- Eat in their own room and wash their own cutlery and crockery
- Stay in their room and isolate from the rest of the household
Everyone in the household should wash their hands regularly and open windows as much as possible.
If you feel unwell, follow the NHS advice for treating coronavirus symptoms at home.
If you can, order online or ask a family member, friend or neighbour who you know and trust to deliver essentials like food and medication.
If you can't, check the Directory of Covid-19 support in your community for local businesses and voluntary organisations that can help you.
You can also request help from the Council. For emergency support, call 0191 433 7112 or Freephone 0800 953 7112.
Remember to stay vigilant. Although most people have good intentions and genuinely want to help, there are people who want to exploit the situation so don't hand over money or your credit/debit card to anyone you don't know or trust. Find out more about coronavirus scams.
If you can't work while you're self-isolating, your employer should tell you if you're covered by their sick leave or special leave policy. You can get an isolation note to send your employer as proof that you need to be off work.
If you can't get sick pay from your employer, you might be entitled to Statutory Sick Pay or another type of financial support.
If you have lost income because of self-isolation, you may be eligible for a payment of £500 through the NHS Test and Trace Support Payment Scheme.
To protect your health and wellbeing during self-isolation:
Movement can help to boost your mood. Sport England has some great suggestions for exercising at home, from yoga and Pilates courses to cardio and strengthening programmes.
If you're unwell with coronavirus symptoms, you may not feel like exercising but even a gentle walk around the garden could help.
Have a routine
Develop a daily routine that works for you. This could include regular waking up and bedtimes, planned mealtimes and time to be physically active.
Self-isolation can be challenging, but remember that every day you stay at home reduces the risk of infection for those in your community.
Take some time each day to focus on how you're feeling and consider learning some mindfulness techniques.
Continue with your current interests or explore new ones. Now could be the time to restart a hobby that you used to enjoy but haven't had time for.
Keep in touch with friends and family with regular phone calls and text messages. It's good to talk.
Our community support hubs are here to help. Contact us online or call 0191 433 7112.