As the current situation regarding Coronavirus (COVID-19) evolves, both globally and in our county of Northumberland, with it comes many questions that need answers. Where possible, we have provided the answers to your questions here.

This information was last updated on 10 July 2020.

 

Latest information and advice:

Latest Government announcements:

Your questions answered:

We can all play a part by:

  • Following public health authorities’ advice, for example on hand washing
  • Reducing the impact and spread of misinformation by using trusted sources, such as that on www.nhs.uk/ and www.gov.uk/
  • Checking and following the latest FCO travel advice when travelling and planning to travel
  • Ensuring you and your family’s vaccinations are up to date as this will help - reduce the pressure on the NHS and social care, through reducing vaccine-preventable diseases
  • Checking on elderly or vulnerable family, friends and neighbours - while still following social distancing and shielding guidelines
  • ​Using NHS 111 online coronavirus service in the first instance if you have any concerns.
  • Understanding the pressures the health and social care systems may be under, and receptive to changes that may be needed to the provision of care to you and your family.
  • Accepting that the advice for managing COVID-19 for most people will be self isolation at home and simple over the counter medicines
  • Checking for new advice as the situation changes

Useful links to helpful information


The government have created a helpful FAQs webpage so you can clearly see the rules we should be following during the coronavirus pandemic.

We can all help control the virus if we all stay alert. This means you must:

  • stay at home as much as possible
  • work from home if you can
  • limit contact with other people
  • keep your distance if you go out (2 metres apart where possible)
  • wash your hands regularly
Do not leave home if you or anyone in your household has symptoms.

 

Latest Government FAQs:


The links above will open in a new tab, and will take you to the gov.uk website.

The information in this section was last updated on 10 July 2020
The government have put together expert guidance on travelling overseas during the coronavirus pandemic.

Please click here for travel advice. This link will open in a new tab, and will take you to the gov.uk website.
We are aware that the Department for Health and Social Care are setting up a number of rotating COVID-19 mobile testing sites across Northumberland, supported by the military.

This information was last updated on 10 July 2020.

 

NHS Test and Trace

If you test positive for coronavirus, the NHS Test and Trace system will ask you to share your most recent contacts with them. This allows your contacts to be 'traced' via this service, and they will be informed that they have recently been in contact with someone who has tested positive for the virus. They can then self-isolate for 14 days to stop the spread.

Please click here for more information from the gov.uk site.

Please click here for NHS Test and Trace.
 

 

Testing

The council is not involved in the set-up or operation of tests, including their locations.

You MUST follow the registration process and book an appointment for a test. You can’t turn up to get a test without an appointment.
 
PLEASE NOTE: You may be offered an available slot which may not be near where you live. 
 
This section provides information regarding financial support for Northumberland residents during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

 

Assistance for Northumberland Residents

Whilst it is right that the government has taken action to ensure that all those employed receive statutory sick pay and are paid if they need to self-isolate, what action is being taken to protect those with zero-hour contracts and the self-employed?
 
All individuals will be offered the opportunity to be supported to access benefits in line with government guidance.
 
Click here to learn more about claiming benefits during the coronavirus outbreak. This page includes information about statutory sick pay, universal credit, jobcentre appointments, and more.
 

 

Council Tax Support, Housing Benefit, and Universal Credit

Residents can make an application for:
If residents are otherwise experiencing hardship but are not entitled to benefits they may choose to contact the Northumberland Community Bank.
 
Northumberland Emergency Transition Support (NETS) provides crisis support to residents of Northumberland. Details of the support available and the application process can be found here.
 
Residents can also telephone 0345 600 6400 and follow the options for Benefits then NETS team. Lines are open from 8.30am to 5pm Monday to Thursday and 8.30am to 4.30pm on Friday.

 

The Hardship Fund

The Government’s Hardship Fund will be used to reduce bills further for those already receiving council tax support, new claimants of council tax support and to establish a hardship fund in the county.
 
PLEASE NOTE: Residents already receiving support through the Council Tax Reduction Scheme don’t need to contact us, as the additional help will be automatically applied to bills in the next few weeks.
 
The Council Tax Hardship Fund will be allocated to qualifying residents. This is an additional £150 of funding for those who already receive support due to their financial situation.
 
The scheme will help towards the cost of Council Tax for people on a low income or those who claim certain benefits including Universal Credit. It means that those who may have lost work or money due to coronavirus, could now benefit from this means of help.
 

 

Mortgage holidays - am I entitled?

The government has announced a 3 month mortgage payment holiday. Residents are advised to contact their mortgage provider.
This section provides information regarding financial support for Northumberland businesses during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

Assistance for Northumberland Businesses

Please visit our dedicated Northumberland business hub section of our website to access all of the support available. 
This section provides Northumberland residents with some of the answers to their COVID-19 questions. These questions relate to the virus itself.

What is coronavirus?

A coronavirus is a type of virus. As a group, coronaviruses are common across the world. COVID-19 is a disease caused by a new coronavirus. Public Health England (PHE) have a comprehensive guide on what COVID-19 is and this is available, together with their associated professional advice.

Is coronavirus the same as COVID-19?

Coronaviruses are a family of viruses which cause a range of diseases. COVID-19 is the name given to the disease caused by a new coronavirus which had not previously been identified.

I'm worried about coronavirus, where can I get help and support?

Click here to access the range of information sources on COVID-19 provided by Public Health England and the government.

This section provides Northumberland residents with some of the answers to their education and school related questions, in light of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

Please click here for all the latest information and frequently asked questions regarding schools and COVID-19.

This section provides Northumberland residents with some answers to their questions in relation to safeguarding and how it is impacted by coronavirus (COVID-19).

Click here for Safeguarding Adults information & advice regarding coronavrius (COVID-19).

Click here for Safeguarding Children information & advice regarding coronavirus (COVID-19).

A number of online groups are appearing, suggesting that people contact them if they require assisstance. Whilst we are sure the intentions of people setting these up is genuine, how do we ensure that the safeguarding of vulnerable people is not compromised?

We have made contact with key groups to ensure that support is provided in a co-ordinated way, and that the vulnerability of our communities is protected wherever possible. We are aware that some individuals may not have good natured intentions and if we become aware of these we will notify the police accordingly.

This section provides Northumberland residents with some answers to their health and wellbeing questions, in relation to coronavirus (COVID-19).

Where can I get general advice about my health and wellbeing at this time?

We recommend that you seek general advice online from NHS.uk and NHS 111 online.

This section provides Northumberland residents with some answers to their social care questions, in relation to coronavirus (COVID-19).

How do we provide home care to residents, including those we do not yet know about, without compromising the health of residents and staff?

A robust plan is in place to ensure that those residents that need support receive it.

We are working with partner agencies to ensure that we minimise visits to each individual (i.e 1 visit instead of 3 separate agencies) and have met with carer providers to identify people they are working with that were not known to our service, so we can provide advice and support. 

What provisions are in place to protect the most vulnerable of our residents in residential care homes and sheltered accomodation?

Public Health, Adult and Children's social care, and Housing colleagues are working closely to ensure that there is strong communication, resources, and support available across the county, promoting good public health messages and ensuring that workers and residents are aware of the current resources available to them. 

How are we going to support families of those in 'at-risk' age and medical groups to care for their relatives, stay safe themselves and continue in their employment?

The Council has a lead role in providing support to those residents who are 'shielding'. Click here for information about how to access national support. 

Northumberland Communities Together has been launched in response to the Coronavirus pandemic. It will make sure our residents are kept safe and well throughout this crisis, and provide coordination to support individual volunteers, voluntary groups and communities across our county. Click here to learn more about Northumberland Communities Together, such as how they may be able to help you by delivering food and medicine.
 
The ‘How can I get help?’ section on our website features information about personal support, bereavement support, employment support and financial support during the Coronavirus pandemic. Click here to visit 'How can I get help?' web page. 

What is going to happen with community outreach programmes, particularly for those with physical and mental disabilities?

Senior managers reviewed all our services to assess which should be temporarily suspended or delivered differently within communities. Critical services will be maintained at all times, although these may need to be delivered differently.

Are there any plans to close the day centres that vulnerable and disabled adults go to?

As a result of Public Health advice about social distancing, many of the people who usually attend day services told us that they did not want to continue going during the crisis. Most of the organisations providing day services have decided as a result to suspend their operations, and the Council has also suspended operation of its own day services. 

We have reviewed the needs of all people who usually attend day services which have suspended their operation. Where day services provided a person with essential personal care or other support, we have made sure it will continue to be provided in other ways. 

The Council highly values the range of day services for people with care and support needs in the county, and is taking steps to ensure that their future is not at risk because of the COVID-19 emergency. 
This page provides Northumberland residents with some answers to their communication related questions during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Does the council have any social media pages that I should follow, which may be useful during this period?

The council's public Facebook and Twitter pages will provide comprehensive updates as they are known. The staff Facebook page will also have useful information. 

This section providers Northumberland residents with the answers to some of their housing questions in relation to coronavirus (COVID-19).

Are there any plans to give tenants a rent and council tax holiday if they are unable to work?

There currently no plans to give tenants a rent and council tax holiday, but this will be reviewed in line with any national guidance recieved, and the council will carefully consider how they communicate with residents over any outstanding rent/council tax at this time.

Will there be a guarantee that tenants will not face eviction if they are unable to pay their rent due to illness, self-isolation, or unpaid leave?

We would like to reassure tenants that we will not be evicting people who are in rent arrears as a direct result of the coronavirus.

What support are we offering house owners and private landlords?

We are currently reviewing the infromation available to house owners and private landlords, but directing residents to the nationally available guidance. The Private Sector Housing Team has identified key services which we will aim to deliver for as long as possible, in order to support private landlords and their tenants. Click here to view these key services.

The above document includes links to important information for Private Landlords in relation to keeping themselves and their tenants safe, as well as information regarding new emergency legislation for eviction proceedings. The Private Sector Housing Team's contact details are also included for customers who have specific questions about how we may be able to help. 

What measures are we putting in place to ensure that residents know what benefits they are entitled to and how to claim them? For instance, Universal Credit claimants can also claim Housing Benefit. 

Our teams are well placed to advise residents over the phone on the the potential benefits they be entitled to and to conduct a claim on their behalf.