Coronavirus Information

Coronavirus Information Northumberland

As the coronavirus situation is changing constantly in the UK, we are directing you to the main sources of the latest information and advice.

Our team is working from home as of 23 March but we are still here for you and replying to all emails and calls – please bear with us if it takes us a little longer to get back to you.

The main symptoms of coronavirus are: a cough, a high temperature and shortness of breath. If you have any of these symptoms you should stay at home and self isolate.


You can find the latest information on our Coronavirus Page HERE


A Childrens’ Guide to Coronavirus

We know many children will be anxious or worried about the coronavirus outbreak and that many will have questions about everything that is happening at the moment. The Children’s Commissioner for England has put together a short guide to help explain to children, in language they can understand, some of the issues surrounding coronavirus.

It has also created a page full of advice, information, suggestions and resources for parents, educators and other professionals who work with children, to help during the pandemic.



Coronavirus: Guidelines for Safe Shopping

No reported cases of COVID-19 have been linked to contaminated food. The main risk to shoppers is coming into contact with an infected person. You are urged to wash your hands frequently, maintain good hygiene practices and minimise contact with people outside of your household. This guide will help you to stay safe and protect others when shopping for essentials. Please note that this guide is based upon current advice at the time of publication (27 March 2020).

View the safe shopping guide

Coronavirus: What is Shielding?

People that have been identified from their medical records as being at highest risk of severe illness resulting in hospitalisation if they catch coronavirus (Covid-19) have been contacted by the government to start ‘shielding’ themselves.

The letter strongly advises people to rigorously follow the guidance, which includes staying at home at all times for at least 12 weeks.

The following Q&A, based on information provided by government aims to help you get some of the answers you need.

What does ‘shielding’ mean? 

Shielding is the word used to describe how to protect those at highest risk of severe illness if they catch coronavirus. You can shield yourself following the government guidance, and shield others by minimising all interaction between yourself and those who are most at risk.

How do I shield myself?

If you think you have a condition which makes you extremely vulnerable or have received a letter from NHS England you are strongly advised to shield yourself, to reduce the chance of getting coronavirus (COVID-19). This means following the face-to-face distancing measures below:

  1. Strictly avoid contact with someone who is displaying symptoms of coronavirus
  2. These symptoms include high temperature and/or new and continuous cough
  3. Do not leave your house
  4. Do not attend any gatherings. This includes gatherings of friends and families in private spaces, for example, family homes, weddings and religious services
  5. Do not go out for shopping, leisure or travel and, when arranging food or medication deliveries, these should be left at the door to minimise contact
  6. Keep in touch using remote technology such as phone, internet, and social media


Do use telephone or online services to contact your GP or other essential services.

How long do I shield myself for?

You are strongly advised to stay at home at all times and avoid any face-to-face contact for a period of at least 12 weeks from the day you receive your letter.

How do I get food and medication if I’m shielding?

Ask family, friends and neighbours to support you and use online services. The Government has also set up a dedicated website and helpline where you can go for wider support. Please register now if you have received the letter so that the government can start putting in place people to help:

Tel: 0800 028 8327

This service can help answer any questions you may have, such as:

How do I get food shopping?

How do I buy medicine?

How do I pick up prescriptions?

I haven’t received a letter, but I think I am in the high-risk group – what should I do?

If you have not received a letter by 30 March, but feel you are within the high-risk category, you should contact your GP or hospital team. If you are unsure, check the list on the website to see if you are in the most at risk/ extremely vulnerable group.

I’m worried that shielding is going to affect my mental health – what do I do?

Try to stay in touch with those around you over the phone, by post or online. Let people know how you would like to stay in touch and build that into your routine. This is important in looking after your mental wellbeing and you may find it helpful to talk to them about how you are feeling if you want to.

Remember, it is okay to share your concerns with others you trust and in doing so you may end up providing support to them too. Or you might want to try an NHS recommended helpline.


CAB logo

Citizens Advice Northumberland Changes to Services

Face to face advice services are suspended until further notice. This includes all drop in/appointment service, outreach services and face to face help to claim, debt, energy and health advice service.

Face to face resources have been shifted to telephone and digital services operating from all premises in small clusters and where possible from home in order to minimise the risk of infection spreading.

Citizens Advice services will be available to all for whatever they need, but will be focused on those clients requiring advice on welfare benefits, debt and budgeting advice, housing and employment, energy and health. Please check website information before calling where possible to reduce waiting times on the phone and use the Google form on the website.

During this time services can be accessed in the following ways:

Clients requiring advice on any of general enquiry areas Adviceline Service 9.30am-4.30pm Mon-Fri.

Telephone 03444 111 444


Clients requiring advice on debt/money/financial capability 01670 339960

text “DEBT” to 81400 and we will call you back


Clients requiring advice on energy/fuel poverty 01670 339660


Clients requiring advice on FBD employability service  


Emergency Partner referral 01670 339960
For general Covid-19 information, updates or those can self-help NCAB website

National Citizens Advice website


Webchat advice service available on all enquiry areas National Citizens Advice website


Universal Credit Help to Claim Service can be accessed in the following ways Citizens Advice Universal Credit Adviceline 9.00-5.00pm Mon-Fri Telephone 0800 1448444 Webchat Get help applying for Universal Credit

Textphone 0800 144 8 444

Non-urgent partner referrals or client requests for callbacks or advice Access to our partner and client advice via our websites email advice form

If we have any further changes to our service delivery, we will inform all of our partners as soon as possible.

Call-out for people to lend a hand for the NHS

Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust is appealing to people who could provide an extra pair of helping hands in these unprecedented times to come forward.

As nationally the NHS looks for volunteers, the trust, which has a hugely-valued volunteer service, is calling on those fit and able between the ages of 16 and 68 to support staff working in hospitals and in the community across Northumberland and North Tyneside to get in touch.

Recognised nationally for the quality of its volunteering programmes, Northumbria, like many NHS organisations, has seen numbers dwindle due to the national guidelines to protect over 70s and those with underlying health conditions.

People do not need medical or care experience, just a commitment to help the NHS cope with the increase in demand as a result of coronavirus.

On a busy ward this could include helping to change beds, making a cuppa, chatting to patients or running errands to help staff speed up processes. Within the community, this could mean linking with other groups to support community health services or those who are socially isolated.

Volunteers would not be asked to carry out the duties of paid staff.

Sir James Mackey, Chief Executive of Northumbria Healthcare said “Quite simply, the NHS here in Northumberland and North Tyneside needs your help. We greatly value the contribution of our hundreds of volunteers and the support they provide to our patients and staff in our hospitals and in the community.

“Sadly, many of our current volunteers have been asked to stand down due to the national guidance. This is absolutely the right thing to do to protect them and their families and, already, we are deeply missing them. As we prepare for more and more patients to need our help, the time is now for us to ask the general public to come forward to support us at this incredibly busy time.

“Please be assured that we only be asking people to provide an extra pair of helping hands which will make a massive difference to our patients and staff during this difficult period.”

People volunteering their time at Northumbria Healthcare must:

  • Be aged between 16 and 68
  • Be fit and well with no underlying health conditions or live, or care for, anyone who does
  • Be subject to checks by the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS)
  • Not have symptoms of a high temperature and/or persistent cough

Northumbria Healthcare already works in partnership with Helpforce to ensure volunteering is an integral part of healthcare and makes a positive difference for patients, volunteers and NHS staff.

Sir Thomas Hughes-Hallett, founder of Helpforce, said “As we face unprecedented changes to our way of life, we are working hard with Northumbria Healthcare and our colleagues across our health and care services by looking at practical ways volunteers can help take the strain off frontline services.

“Keeping you and your loved ones safe is an absolute priority, but we must not forget those alone and at higher risk. Please be confident that we are dedicated to doing more and helping our partners to do the same.”

To volunteer or for more information, contact, 0191 203 1511 or 07768 570178.