This page is being regularly updated with the latest NHS information on coronavirus (COVID-19) – to check when it was last updated scroll down to the bottom of the page, where there is also trust-specific information.
We can all help control the virus if we all stay alert. This means you must:
- stay at home as much as possible
- work from home if you can
- limit contact with other people
- keep your distance if you go out (2 metres apart where possible)
- wash your hands regularly
Do not leave home if you or anyone in your household has symptoms.
What to do if you have coronavirus symptoms
Continue to stay at home if you have either:
- a high temperature – this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)
- a new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual)
- a loss of, or change in, your normal sense of smell or taste (anosmia)
Do not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital. Stay at home.
Use the 111 online coronavirus service to find out what to do.
Only call 111 if you cannot get help online.
Get a test if you have symptoms
If you have symptoms, get a test to check if you have coronavirus as soon as possible.
The test needs to be done in the first 5 days of having symptoms.Get a test to check if you have coronavirus
Anyone in Hertfordshire with suspected coronavirus symptoms can book either a mail-order or drive-through test if they need one. For those who can’t go online to www.gov.uk/coronavirus to book a test, or for anyone who needs additional help, a new telephone call centre is available – ring 119 between 7am and 11pm or 18001 0300 303 2713 if you have hearing or speech difficulties.
The coronavirus call centre can help you to book a test, answer your enquiries about the testing process and what to do once you have your result, or chase up any delayed results.
Hertfordshire’s mobile test sites are all open between 10am and 4pm and are as follows:
- on Thursdays in Watford at the Central Watford leisure centre, WD17 3HA
- on Saturdays in Hertford at County Hall, Pegs Lane, SG13 8DQ
- on Sundays in Watford at the Central Watford leisure centre, WD17 3HA
- on Mondays in Stevenage, off Six Hills Way, SG1 2DF. Please follow the signs to the test centre, to ensure that you do not join a queue for the Household Waste Recycling Centre.
Please bring a phone to the test centre if you have one.
Staying at home if you have symptoms (self-isolation)
If your symptoms are mild, you’ll usually be advised to not leave your home for at least 10 days.
Anyone you live with should not leave your home for 14 days.
This is called self-isolation.
Find out more about self-isolation if you or someone you live with has coronavirus symptoms.
Advice for people at high risk
People who are identified as clinically extremely vulnerable may be at high risk of serious illness if they catch coronavirus (COVID-19). They have been advised to take additional action to prevent themselves from coming into contact with COVID-19 when transmission of coronavirus in the community is high.
Who is at high risk?
You may be at high risk from coronavirus if you:
- have had an organ transplant
- are having chemotherapy or antibody treatment for cancer, including immunotherapy
- are having an intense course of radiotherapy (radical radiotherapy) for lung cancer
- are having targeted cancer treatments that can affect the immune system (such as protein kinase inhibitors or PARP inhibitors)
- have blood or bone marrow cancer (such as leukaemia, lymphoma or myeloma)
- have had a bone marrow or stem cell transplant in the past 6 months, or are still taking immunosuppressant medicine
- have been told by a doctor they have a severe lung condition (such as cystic fibrosis, severe asthma or severe COPD)
- have a condition that means they have a very high risk of getting infections (such as SCID or sickle cell)
- are taking medicine that makes them much more likely to get infections (such as high doses of steroids or immunosuppressant medicine)
- have a serious heart condition and are pregnant
If you’re at high risk, you will have been contacted by the NHS.
What to do if you need medical help for another reason
If you need medical help not related to coronavirus, do not immediately go to places like a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital
- For health information and advice, first use the NHS website or check your GP surgery website.
- For urgent medical help, use the NHS 111 online service. Only call 111 if you’re unable to get help online.
- For life-threatening emergencies, call 999 for an ambulance.
Read more advice about getting medical help.
Specific information for East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust patients and visitors
The information below covers the following sections:
- What you can expect
- Minor injuries and illnesses
- Visiting inpatients at our hospitals
- How to stay in touch with patients
- Advice for parents and carers of children
- Offers of support
- Coronavirus deaths
- Play Your Part
What you can expect
In line with national guidance, everyone attending hospital must wear a face covering. Face masks will be provided at hospital entrances when necessary, along with bins to dispose of them safely when leaving.
The trust is asking people not to wear gloves, but to ensure good handwashing or sanitising – with sanitiser available at entrances too.
People should wash their hands or use hand sanitiser before putting their face covering on and after taking it off, and it is important that people don’t touch their face covering.
Staff working in the trust’s hospitals will also be wearing face masks.
One-way systems and ‘footsteps’ on the floor have been introduced to maintain social distancing, as well as stickers on chairs to maintain social distancing between patients when waiting to be seen.
Some services have continued throughout the pandemic, many by using telephone or video consultations where medically appropriate, while others have had their appointments cancelled. Services are restarting, so those who require a face-to-face appointment will receive a letter with an offer of an appointment.
Please attend your face-to-face appointment alone wherever possible. Children should be accompanied by one adult only.
For more information about what to expect when attending your appointment click here.
Minor injuries and illnesses
Patients with minor injuries or illnesses are asked to use the NHS111 online service or call 111 to determine whether they need hospital treatment and, if so, will be directed to the Urgent Care Centre at Welwyn Garden City’s New QEII Hospital (AL7 4HQ).
Lister Hospital in Stevenage is currently not treating patients with minor injuries or illnesses.
For more information, including examples of minor injuries and illnesses, click here.
Visiting inpatients at our hospitals
Visiting inpatients in our hospitals continues to be suspended, unless there are exceptional circumstances. For more information, including guidance on maternity, please click here.
Any changes to this policy will be updated on this page.
How to stay in touch with patients
East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust is offering a service to help connect families with their loved ones who are being treated in hospital.
Stay in Touch is an online form where families can leave messages and photos for patients at Lister Hospital, Stevenage and Mount Vernon Cancer Centre, Northwood. These messages are printed and delivered to patients on weekdays, Monday to Friday.
More information can be found here: Stay in Touch
Tablets are also being used so patients can see their loved ones by video call.
Advice for parents and carers of children
The safety of our patients is our primary concern, whether they are young or old.
In the current circumstances, children should not visit hospitals, unless they are a patient.
We understand that this can be difficult if no other childcare alternatives are available, such as for single parents, or in the case of end of life. In such cases, a risk assessment would need to be done which can be discussed with the medical and nursing team of the appropriate ward.
We appreciate some children aged five years and under, or those with behavioural and learning difficulties, may find it difficult to wear a face mask or covering.
Children aged five years and older should be able to tolerate a face mask or covering and be encouraged to wear them. Older children are also expected to wear a face mask or covering when they come to hospital.
Parents and guardians should encourage and support children to wear face masks or coverings prior to coming to hospital.
All children aged under 11 years wearing a face mask or covering must be supervised at all times.
Offers of support
Many local people have kindly offered support to our healthcare professionals with donations of food or other items. While we appreciate these offers, we need to ensure we are complying with the appropriate guidelines to keep both donors and our staff safe. Please email any offers of goods and services to email@example.com – a member of the team will be in touch.
Coronavirus (COVID-19) deaths (as of 21 September 2020)
The total number of deaths announced by the trust is 166. For more information visit the NHS England website.
Our thoughts and condolences remain with the patients’ families and loved ones.
Play Your Part
Organisations across Hertfordshire including our trust are appealing to the public to play their part in preventing outbreaks of COVID-19 in the county with a campaign that encourages people to take personal responsibility for protecting their community by following four simple actions:
- Wash your hands
- Stay socially distanced
- Wear a face covering when required
- Isolate and get tested if they get symptoms
Please play your part to keep each other safe. For more information about the campaign click here.