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Covid 19 (Coronavirus) - Information for Shine Members: November 2020

2nd November 2020


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Regular updates on Covid-19 (Coronavirus) can be found below.

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COVID-19 (Coronavirus)


5th November 2020

A few hours before lockdown measures were due to start in England the government changed their advice and announced that shielding measures would in fact be recommended for extremely clinically vulnerable/high risk individuals. 

The people classed as clinically extremely vulnerable people are mainly those with severe lung and immune disorders and diseases, but it also includes some people whose risk has been assessed as high by their doctors based their individual medical circumstances. Those who need to shield will be sent a letter instructing them to do so. In the case of clinically extremely vulnerable children, a letter will be sent to their parents/guardians by their doctor, and these children are advised not to attend school. The government guidance on shielding and protecting extremely vulnerable persons has more information. Unlike the coronavirus lockdown restrictions shielding guidance is not legally binding, it isn’t breaking the law if you do not shield when asked but you would be taking a very high risk and so should discuss with your doctor if you do not intend to follow shielding instructions that you have been sent. 

Shielding is designed to prevent those most at risk of serious complications from catching coronavirus. Spina bifida and/or hydrocephalus have not specifically been linked to a high risk of developing severe COVID-19 disease, so you/your child do not need to shield unless you have been asked to do so by a doctor. 

Spina bifida is a condition with a broad spectrum from minimally to severely affected. If you have spina bifida, you’re not automatically more at risk of coronavirus complications. The risk is only known to be raised in spina bifida by also having other conditions that increase risk e.g. high blood pressure, obesity, or conditions affecting breathing or lung expansion. These conditions would raise your risk to moderate or clinically vulnerable, the group who do not need to shield but do need to take extra care with hygiene and distancing to protect themselves.   

We have seen no research or advice to suggest that people with spina bifida or hydrocephalus, without other complicating conditions would automatically be categorized in either the extremely vulnerable/high risk group or the vulnerable/moderate risk group. 


2nd November 2020

Coronavirus cases are rising sharply, the government has therefore announced that from midnight on Thursday 5th of November England will follow Wales and Northern Ireland into national lockdown. 

The government website has more detailed information and guidance about the new national restrictions. There are significant differences from the lockdown in March so it’s important to read the information carefully to see what you can and can’t do, what will remain open, and what financial support is available.  

The Welsh government website has details of the lockdown restrictions in Wales. The NIDirect website also has information about what coronavirus regulations in Northern Ireland are in force. 

The government have said that wherever possible medical appointments will still go ahead so unless you hear that your routine appointments have been cancelled they should still happen but it may be worth calling ahead to double check if you’re travelling a long distance. Please do seek help in an emergency, such as a suspected shunt blockage, it is very important not to delay getting emergency care. The NHS website have a helpful guide to using the NHS and other health services during the pandemic.  

To keep yourself and your loved ones safe, it is important to follow the restrictions carefully and if you do need to leave your home make sure to keep social distancing, follow good hygiene practices, and wear a mask if and when you can in public places.  

It is worth checking out our September update for tips on getting stocked for the lockdown restrictions to come into force, there’s no need to panic buy but there are ideas in the update for useful things to stock up to make sure you have everything you need and want. 

There are currently no plans to reinstate the formal shielding programme, but the government website has information about protecting extremely vulnerable persons from COVID- 19. You can still find help and support from your local council and the Royal Voluntary Service/NHS Volunteer programme is still running and can help you getting groceries and medicines, and other essential supplies you can call 0808 196 3646 (8am to 8pm). 

We know this is a very uncertain and anxious time, if you’re struggling with your mental health there is some fantastic information and advice on the NHS Every Mind Matters website. The Samaritans helpline is always open 24/7 if you need immediate support 116 123, and to text with a crisis support volunteer at any time you can text SHOUT to 85258.       

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