Coronavirus can make anyone seriously ill. But some people are at a higher risk and need to take extra steps to avoid becoming unwell.
Patients most at risk are called 'shielded' people
This includes people who:
- have had an organ transplant
- are having certain types of cancer treatment
- have blood or bone marrow cancer, such as leukaemia
- have a severe lung condition, such as cystic fibrosis or severe asthma
- have a condition or are taking medicine that makes them much more likely to get infections
- are pregnant and have a serious heart condition
Shielding is a measure to protect people who are clinically extremely vulnerable by minimising all interaction between those who are extremely vulnerable and others. We are strongly advising people with serious underlying health conditions which put them at very high risk of severe illness from coronavirus (COVID-19), to rigorously follow shielding measures in order to keep themselves safe. Click here for advice on shielding. If you are in this category you will have received a letter or a text message from NHS England asking you to shieled yourself and giving you information on how to register for extra support should you need it.
People at moderate risk
This group includes those who are:
- aged 70 or older (regardless of medical conditions)
- under 70 with an underlying health condition listed below (ie anyone instructed to get a flu jab as an adult each year on medical grounds):
- chronic (long-term) 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), a learning disability or cerebral palsy
- problems with your spleen – for example, sickle cell disease or if you have had your spleen removed
- a weakened immune system as the result of conditions such as HIV and AIDS, or medicines such as steroid tablets or chemotherapy
- being seriously overweight (a body mass index (BMI) of 40 or above)
- those who are pregnant
People in this group should be particularly stringent at following social distancing guidelines. You are not eligible for the Government Shielding Support program but there are plenty of local organisations who should be able to help you during this difficult time.
Current Employment Guidance
If you are in a very high risk category then you will receive a letter from NHS Business Services or from your hospital specialist department advising that you need to take action (shield). You can show this to your employer and will not need a separate 'sick note'.
- You can get a self-certification note for seven days from here
- You can obtain an isolation note from here
- DWP are currently not requiring fit notes.
- Self isolation advice is available here