The difference between being at ‘increased risk’ and ‘highest risk’ of complications from Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Coronavirus (COVID-19) can make anyone seriously ill. But some people are at a higher risk and need to take extra steps to avoid becoming unwell.

On this page we outline who falls into the following categories and the advice they need to follow:

  1. People at increased risk
  2. People at the highest clinical risk (Shielded / vulnerable)
  3. The rest of the general population

 

PEOPLE AT INCREASED RISK

People may be at increased risk from Coronavirus (COVID-19) if they:

 

The advice for people who may be at increased risk from coronavirus is the same as for most other people – follow the guidance on social distancing. Which is to:

  1. Avoid contact with someone who is displaying symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19). These symptoms include high temperature and/or new and continuous cough;
  2. Avoid non-essential use of public transport when possible;
  3. Work from home, where possible. Your employer should support you to do this. Please refer to employer guidance for more information;
  4. Avoid large and small gatherings in public spaces, noting that pubs, restaurants, leisure centres and similar venues are currently shut as infections spread easily in closed spaces where people gather together;
  5. Avoid gatherings with friends and family. Keep in touch using remote technology such as phone, internet, and social media;
  6. Use telephone or online services to contact your GP or other essential services.

 Click here for the latest Public Health England Guidance on social distancing.

 

PEOPLE AT HIGHEST CLINICAL RISK (SHIELDED / VULNERABLE)

There are a group of people who are at the highest clinical risk from Coronavirus (COVID-19). These are sometimes called “shielded” or “extremely vulnerable” people.

People in this very high risk group should now have been contacted by NHS England or their own GP practice to advise of the guidance they need to follow. If you think you fall into one of the categories listed below and haven’t been contacted, please get in touch with your GP Practice.

People in this highest risk category include :

  • Solid organ transplant recipients;
  • People with specific cancers;
    • people with cancer who are undergoing active chemotherapy;
    • people with lung cancer who are undergoing radical radiotherapy;
    • people with cancers of the blood or bone marrow such as leukaemia, lymphoma or myeloma who are at any stage of treatment;
    • people having immunotherapy or other continuing antibody treatments for cancer;
    • people having other targeted cancer treatments which can affect the immune system, such as protein kinase inhibitors or PARP inhibitors;
    • people who have had bone marrow or stem cell transplants in the last 6 months, or who are still taking immunosuppression drugs;
  • People with severe respiratory conditions including all cystic fibrosis, severe asthma and severe COPD;
  • People with rare diseases and inborn errors of metabolism that significantly increase the risk of infections (such as SCID, homozygous sickle cell);
  • People on immunosuppression therapies sufficient to significantly increase risk of infection;
  • Women who are pregnant with significant heart disease, congenital or acquired.

People in this group need to take extra steps to avoid getting Coronavirus (COVID-19) by following the guidance on shielding. This approach minimises all interaction between those who are extremely vulnerable and others.

People in this group are strongly advised to stay at home at all times and avoid any face-to-face contact for a period of 12 weeks from the day they receive a letter. This period of time could change.

Visits from people who provide essential support to you such as healthcare, personal support with your daily needs or social care should continue, but carers and care workers must stay away if they have any of the symptoms of Coronavirus (COVID-19). All people coming to your home should wash their hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds on arrival to your house and often while they are there.

You should have an alternative list of people who can help you with your care if your main carer becomes unwell.

Wigan Council has set up a support hotline if needed which can be reached on 01942 489 018 or complete the referral form

If you think you have developed symptoms of COVID-19 such as a new, continuous cough or fever, seek clinical advice using the NHS 111 online coronavirus service or call NHS 111. Do this as soon as you get symptoms.

If you have someone else living with you, they are not required to adopt these protective shielding measures for themselves. They should do what they can to support you in shielding and they should stringently follow guidance on social distancing, reducing their contact outside the home. If you care for but don’t actually live with someone who is extremely vulnerable, you should still stringently follow guidance on social distancing.

Click here to see Public Health England’s latest guidance for people in the highest risk group.

 

THE GENERAL POPULATION

If you don’t fall into one of the categories described above you should be following social distancing measures. These are steps you take to reduce social interaction between people. This will help reduce the transmission of Coronavirus (COVID-19):

  1. Avoid contact with someone who is displaying symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19). These symptoms include high temperature and/or new and continuous cough;
  2. Avoid non-essential use of public transport when possible;
  3. Work from home, where possible. Your employer should support you to do this. Please refer to employer guidance for more information;
  4. Avoid large and small gatherings in public spaces, noting that pubs, restaurants, leisure centres and similar venues are currently shut as infections spread easily in closed spaces where people gather together;
  5. Avoid gatherings with friends and family. Keep in touch using remote technology such as phone, internet, and social media;
  6. Use telephone or online services to contact your GP or other essential services.

Click here for the latest Public Health England Guidance on social distancing.

 

You can read more information about Coronavirus (COVID-19) by clicking here.