On this page you will find information on the latest situation, and links to further advice and information that Healthwatch has produced. You can access specific information about symptoms and self-isolating, and extra precautions for those who are considered to be the most vulnerable (referred to as "shielding"). Additional links are also provided to useful resources, including information which is available in other formats such as sign language and Easyread.
England has moved to Step 4
From Monday 19 July.
Many people have been vaccinated, but it is still possible to catch and spread COVID-19, even if you are fully vaccinated, and we are still in the third wave of this pandemic in the UK.
While cases are high and rising (particularly in Brighton and Hove), everybody needs to continue to act carefully and remain cautious. This is why the Government is keeping in place key protections:
- Meet up outside or if you’re indoors open windows or doors if you have visitors.
- You do not need to stay 2 metres apart from people you do not live with. There are also no limits on the number of people you can meet. But, you are advised to minimise the number of, proximity and duration of social contacts where possible. There are no longer limits on the number of people who can attend weddings, civil partnerships, funerals and other life events
- The Government is no longer instructing people to work from home if they can. However, the Government expects and recommends a gradual return over the summer.
- If you think you might have COVID-19 symptoms, take a PCR test and stay home.
- Government expects and recommends that people wear face coverings in crowded areas such as public transport.
- Check in with the NHS COVID-19 app when you’re out.
- Wash your hands regularly and for at least 20 seconds with soap.
- Get vaccinated if you are 18 or over. A recent PHE report shows that around 1 in 5 people who are double-vaccinated are still vulnerable to getting infected with the Delta variant and showing symptoms. However, vaccination reduces the risk of serious illness and hospitalisation.
- Follow border quarantine rules: for all arriving from red list countries and for those people not fully vaccinated arriving from amber list countries.
Click here to access information from Brighton and Hove City Council.
Clinically extremely vulnerable people are advised to follow the same guidance as everyone else. However, as someone who is at a higher risk of becoming seriously ill if you were to catch COVID-19, you should think particularly carefully about precautions you can continue to take. These precautions are included in the guidance for the clinically extremely vulnerable.
The measures described in updated guidance relate to visits with friends and family that take place within care home premises. Guidance relating to visits where the resident leaves the care home premises are described in guidance on visits out of care homes.
Detailed information about the COVID-19 vaccination is available on a separate webpage that you can access by clicking here.
Symptoms of coronavirus
Stay at home if you have:
- 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 of smell or taste
- if you have symptoms of coronavirus, you'll need to stay at home
- Read the advice about staying at home.
It has now been recognised that there are 21 commons symptoms of COVID-19.
- to test if you have symptoms, and to self isolate.
- you can still get the virus - and transmit it - after having been vaccinated although symptoms should be less severe, and transmittability should be lessen.
In addition to the main symptoms (loss of taste/smell, high temperature and a new and continuous cough)
- Unusual tiredness (fatigue)
- Sore throat
- Sudden confusion (delirium), especially in older people
- Skin rash
- Changes in the mouth or tongue (COVID tongue)
- Red and sore fingers or toes (COVID fingers/toes)
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pains
- Muscle pains
- Hoarse voice
- Skipping meals
- Abdominal pains
- Runny nose
Testing for coronavirus
Advice from Brighton and Hove Council is available here. A test for suspected COVID-19 is free and NHS treatment for COVID-19 is free for all, including overseas visitors who are not usually entitled to free treatment from the NHS
Book through the NHS website or by calling 119. Government advice is to keep trying to book, and a good time to try is 8.30pm when new slots are made available.
Testing for people with symptoms (PCR tests)
If you have any symptoms of COVID-19, you must self-isolate immediately.
If you have any symptoms of COVID-19 you should book a free PCR test and follow the self-isolation guidance. (Please note that the symptom-free (lateral flow) tests are not the right one to take if you have symptoms).
You and anyone you live with should stay at home and not have visitors until you get your test result. Please only leave your home to have a test.
Testing for people without symptoms (LFD tests)
Twice weekly rapid testing will find cases where people do not show symptoms and prevent the spread of infection. If you receive a positive result from a LFD you must self-isolate immediately and take a follow-up PCR test within 2 days.
There’s no need to book, just find a site near you, check the opening hours and collect your tests. You will usually be given two boxes of seven tests.
If you can’t get to a collect point or access tests through the other routes, you can order a box of home test kits online or through 119.
Book an assisted symptom-free test
If you don’t feel confident taking the test by yourself at home you can take an assisted test at participating pharmacies or at the dedicated testing centre at Hove Town Hall. These tests are taken under supervision of a member of staff who will then process your result for you on site within 30 minutes.
Find out more and book an assisted symptom-free test. Tests must be booked in advance at most pharmacies.
Age 18 to 29?
Brighton and Hove Council are offering an additional way for you to get a symptom-free PCR test while you're out and about.
Covid cases are rising fastest in younger people in Brighton & Hove so we’re asking everyone aged 18 to 29 to take a symptom-free PCR test.
We’re got mobile test sites available so you can drop-in and test while you’re out and about at:
- Peace Statue, Hove seafront, BN3 2WN (usually open 12noon until 7pm)
- Jubilee Square, Jubilee Street, Brighton BN1 1GE (usually open 10am until 5pm Monday to Saturday, and 11am until 5pm Sunday)
How to book a free community test
Test and Trace mobile phone app
The app provides advice and outlines actions you need to take around self-isolating or getting a test. It also informs users if the local area becomes high risk. Many venues will need to display their own QR code poster so customers can check in quickly and easily.
Download now from:
Google Play Store: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details...
Apple App Store: https://apps.apple.com/us/app/id1520427663
Find out more: https://covid19.nhs.uk
A video with BSL sign language which explains the app is available here
Healthwatch England has produced guidance for patients which you can access here
Our local hospitals
For up to date information on our local hospitals and Trusts please click the links below. Please note visitor restrictions are now in operation across all hospital sites and surgical masks must continue to be worn.
Royal Sussex County Hospital - click here. A number of appointments are now being conducted online or over the phone, whilst others are being postponed.
Information from Brighton and Hove City Council
Updated information is being issued by Brighton & Hove Council. Information is available in British Sign Language.
Vulnerable people can get additional COVID-19 related support including emergency food bank referrals, shopping and medicine collection from the community advice and support hub.
- If you, or someone you know needs support to get essential supplies like food or medication and you don't have family, friends or a support/care worker to help you, go to: new.brighton-hove.gov.uk/coronavirushel
- If you have no way of getting online and no one to help you, call 01273 293117, and press option 2 (Monday to Friday, 10am to 4.30pm)
- It is now possible for people refer themselves for help from an NHS volunteer. This website will provide you with further information if you are self-isolating and are in need of support.
Areas covered include schools, food poverty, services for homeless people and those who are rough sleeping, Council Tax help, support for business, support for vulnerable adults and much more.
Information in accessible formats
Keeping Busy – during lockdown
- Mencap have lots of new creative ideas and resources on their website. Plus Easy read information on COVID-19
- Beyond Words is providing free picture stories and illustrated guides to support people with learning disabilities and autism through the coronavirus pandemic
- Resources from Learning Disability England
- Public Health England stay at home guidance, translated and in easy read
- NHS guidelines translated into up to 50 languages by Doctors of the World and find video advice here
- The NHS have also created easy read posters like this so people know when and how to get a test for coronavirus.
- The handwashing rap, produced to help people who have a learning disability
- Going for a virus test
- YouTube – having a swab test, wearing a face mask, how the shops are different and explaining the new normal from SABNHS Trust
- Government information on being discharged from hospital
- Brighton and Hove Specialist Community Disability Service has compiled information on shopping and wellbeing for people with learning disabilities
- Photosymbols - Easy read Coronavirus posters
- Learning Disability England - host A Coronavirus hub
- Opening Doors – wellbeing plans
- Easy Health - easy read leaflets in one place
- Down’s Syndrome Association - Support and information for individuals and families: Click here to visit our coronavirus hub
- Signhealth has made their InterpreterNow remote BSL interpretation service available for free across all healthcare services
- Signhealth is providing a video of summaries of key coronavirus guidance in BSL
- Signhealth advice for testing
- Information has produced by Sussex Interpreting Services
- To access the NHS 111 BSL online services click here
For people with aphasia
- Information produced by Speakeasy is available here
- Ageing Well services- including a directory specifically with supermarket opening times and dedicated shopping times for older people, carers, vulnerable people and NHS workers http://ageingwellbh.org/
- Support for people experiencing homelessness (Groundswell)
- Guidance for carers (Carers UK)
- Supporting yourself and your team's wellbeing (Mind)
- Coronavirus (COVID-19) and HIV
- Story book to help explain Covid-19 to children and young people
- The World Health Organisation has produced a Myth Busting guide about the virus which you can read here.
Healthwatch Brighton and Hove updates, advice and information
You can access the following Healthwatch information:
- Our regular bulletins providing updates on COVID, and health and social care services are posted in the news section of on our website
- Vaccination information
- How to request help for a vulnerable people (for yourself or someone else). Please click here
- Advice about seeing a dentist.
- Advice about seeing a GP.
- And how to arrange the collection of prescriptions.
- Advice about avoiding scams, and how to report these.
- We have also produced a list of commonly asked questions.
- Tips and advice about keeping active indoors and looking after your mental health.
- Maternity and pregnancy
Healthwatch England has produced information for you and your loved ones discuss your preferences for end of life care. This is especially important if you have been identified as high risk of severe illness if you catch Covid-19.
If you have any additional questions do please get in touch by emailing email@example.com or calling 01273 234040