Wash Hands. Cover Face. Make Space

As patients and citizens, it is vital that we all follow the advice and do our bit to help minimise the spread of the illness.


COVID-19 is a new illness that can affect your lungs and airways. It’s caused by a virus called coronavirus.

Because this is a new illness it has been able to spread quickly, which is why the Government and the NHS are taking significant steps to combat it.

The main symptoms of coronavirus are:

  • 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)
  • Loss or change to sense of smell or taste

If you have symptoms, you should self-isolate and get tested. Follow this link for details. You’ll be asked to list people you’ve been close to so they can get tested too.

The sooner you get tested, the sooner you will know how long you must self-isolate for.

To protect others, do not go to places like a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital. Stay at home.

What you need to know

Everyone is adapting to deal with the pandemic as best as possible. That means your local GP will not be operating as normal.

Their focus will be primarily on urgent care, which may mean that some normal services are not available at this time. This may include routine health checks, baby clinics and minor surgery.

Staff will be wearing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). This an NHS requirement to keep staff and patients safe. All patients must also wear a mask or face covering.

All GP practices have switched to as ‘telephone first’ approach, and will only ask you to make an unperson appointment in specific circumstances.

Please do not go to your GP without having arranged an appointment.

As well as phone consultations and reviews, your GP may also offer other services you can use from home, such as online consultations.

Rather than needing to visit your GP to collect a prescription, you can have it sent directly to a pharmacy. Many can also deliver. Contact your GP directly to nominate a pharmacy.

Using remote services will reduce the need for visits to your local surgery, and help reduce the risk of infection spreading.


Links and Resources

Coronavirus overview

Background information, advice and guidance from the NHS.


Check if you have Coronavirus symptoms

Use the NHS Coronavirus service to check your symptoms and find out what to do next.


Testing and Tracing

Get a test if you have coronavirus symptoms, understand your test result and find out what to do if you’re contacted by NHS Test and Trace.


Who is at greatest risk?

Some groups of people at at greater risk of getting coronavirus, and are strongly encouraged to avoid face-to-face contact.


Get an isolation note for your employer

If you’re unwell and can’t work, you can get an isolation note to give to your employer through the NHS website. You do not need to see a GP or Nurse for this.


Coronavirus updates in sign language

Important information in British Sign Language from SignHealth, the Deaf Health Charity.


Community Support

Find our about volunteer services, help if your self isolating and advice for residents and small business from Durham County Council.