Stay home. Save lives.

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.

To reduce the risk of infection spreading, you should only leave your home if it is essential. For example:

  • Shopping for basic necessities like food and medicine, which must be as infrequent as possible.
  • One form of exercise a day, either alone or with members of your household.
  • Any medical need, including to donate blood, avoid or escape risk of injury or harm, or to provide care or to help a vulnerable person.
  • Travelling for work purposes, but only where you cannot work from home.

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)

To check your symptoms and find out what to do, please use the NHS Coronavirus service at this link.

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 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.


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.


Our guide to self isolation, social distancing and shielding

What do the terms mean, and what should you be doing?


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.