Shielding

 

What is shielding?

Shielding is a measure to protect people who are clinically at high risk from the coronavirus, by supporting them to self-isolate to minimise all interaction with others.

The Scottish Government paused shielding from 1 August. A shielding list has been created to provide extra advice and support.  

Cases are now rising across Scotland, the Scottish government has announced that we will have 5 protection levels in Scotland.

Protection levels will be set in response to infection data in local areas. There is different guidance for each protection level. You should follow the guidance for your area’s protection level. 

The Chief Medical Officer wrote to everyone on the shielding list during the week beginning 4 January to set out further advice.  The advice is now that you should stay home as much as possible but you can still go out for exercise and essential shopping or medicines. And that you should minimise contact with people outside your own household if you can. You should also not take public transport. 

There is extra advice for people considered at higher risk from coronavirus. You should follow the protection level guidance for the general population as a minimum. The Scottish Government is also giving those at higher risk extra advice for areas like work, school, shopping and contact with others. You can find this extra advice in the table below:

For more information please see the Scottish Government page on shielding

What is the shielding list?

Being on the shielding list does not mean that you have to stay at home all the time, however being on the list means you will get extra advice and support, such as; 

  • advice and support for shopping
  • advice and support on seeing other people

The Scottish Government will soon send you some information to help you make a personal plan. 

If you do not want to be on the shielding list you can ask your GP to take you off the list, it is important to think about things and make the right decision for you.

You can find the latest shielding information on mygov.scot website.

Guide support

You can continue to provide guide support to someone who is shielding. You do not have to live with them or be in their extended household group. 

Do not support someone if you have any symptoms or have been exposed to someone with symptoms.

Staying safe with daily activities

All levels: we will not ask you to distance from people within your own homes or to stop taking outdoor exercise.
 

  Level 0 Level 1 Level 2 Level 3 Level 4
Contact with others Follow the level advice to the general population Follow the level advice to the general population Reduce the number of people or households you have face to face contact with 
Avoid one metre zones
Limit meeting people outside your own household, avoid indoor public spaces Minimise contact with people outside your own household if you can You should not take public transport
 
Shopping
Strictly follow the guidelines when shopping

Strictly follow the guidelines when shopping

Strictly follow the guidelines when shopping

Strictly follow the guidelines when shopping and limiting the number of times you go to a shop

Shop at quieter times

Strictly follow the guidelines when shopping and limiting the number of times you go to a shop Shop at quieter times
 
If you cannot work from home

Following a workplace risk assessment, your employer should make the necessary adjustments to your workplace to protect you

You can discuss getting a fit note with your GP or clinician if you still feel unsafe

Following a workplace risk assessment, your employer should make the necessary adjustments to your workplace to protect you

You can discuss getting a fit note with your GP or clinician if you still feel unsafe

Following a workplace risk assessment, your employer should make the necessary adjustments to your workplace to protect you

You can discuss getting a fit note with your GP or clinician if you still feel unsafe

Speak to your employer to ensure all appropriate protections are in place If they are not, discuss getting a fit note with your GP or clinician
 
The Chief Medical Officer will issue a 2-week fit note. This will protect you from coronavirus while you speak to your GP or consultant to get a personal fit note if needed
 
School/Formal Childcare Follow the level advice to the general population Follow the level advice to the general population Follow the level advice to the general population Parents or guardians should discuss with their GP or clinician whether children should still attend
 
Children on the shielding list should not attend in person

  

Children and young people

Children and young people who are shielding 

Recent changes to our shielding advice apply to children and young people who have been asked to shield.  

Children on the shielding list should not attend school in person. 

The advice on going outdoors applies to children and young people. It is important that, if needed, a parent or carer stays with them. This is to make sure that they stay 2 metres away from other people. Make sure they wash their hands for at least 20 seconds as soon as they come back in. 

 

Employment

The Scottish Government advise if you cannot work from home, if you live or work in an area in lockdown, you should not go to work.  The letter you will receive from the Chief Medical Officer acts as a fit note for as long as lockdown restrictions are in place. 

This letter is called a shielding notification and can be shown to your employer without the need for a GP fit note. 

If you are not attending your workplace, your employer, at their discretion, may be able to furlough you through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme which has now been extended until April 2021. If you are furloughed, HMRC will give a grant to your employer to cover 80% of your normal salary, and your employer will need to pay National Insurance and pension contributions. You should discuss this directly with your employer.  

You may be eligible for Statutory Sick Pay, Universal Credit, or other benefits, during this period.  To find out further information about what benefits you may be entitled to, speak to your employer, or visit www.gov.uk/browse/benefits, there is also further information on our webpages https://www.aberdeencity.gov.uk/services/coronavirus-covid-19/information-claiming-benefits 

Some employers may offer additional financial support for employees who are off work for coronavirus-related reasons which may be set out in your terms and conditions of employment.  To find out what financial support you will get, you should contact your employer.   

 

The Job Retention Scheme does not apply if you are self-employed or to any income from self-employment. However, you may qualify for support under the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme. The online service for this grant is available at www.gov.uk. 

 

If you have any concerns you should discuss these with your manager or your employer. You can also get further advice from: 

  • Occupational Health services provided by your employer, where available 
  • a Health and Safety representative in your workplace 
  • your workplace’s Human Resources (HR) department 
  • your trade union or professional body 
  • Scottish Hazards provide a confidential service for workers. You can contact them for workplace health and safety advice and support. You can call them for free on 0800 0015 022. 

Priority Access to Online Supermarket Slots 

Anyone who has been placed on the shielding list by the Chief Medical Officer is entitled to register for priority access to an online supermarket delivery slot. If you have been placed on the shielding list, you will have received a letter from the Chief Medical Officer. You may have previously signed up to priority access to an online supermarket delivery slot prior to 31 July 2020, if you haven’t already signed up you are still able to via the Scottish Government Shielding text messaging service or via our Aberdeen City Support Line. Further information is available under our Frequently Asked Questions.  

Frequently asked questions on shielding:

The SMS Shielding Service has been set up to give you the latest updates about shielding.

If you have not already, you can join the SMS Shielding Service by sending a text from your mobile phone to 0786 006 4525. The text you send should only include your CHI number.

Your CHI number is the ten-digit number shown towards the top of this letter.

Once we’ve got your CHI number, we’ll send you a text to confirm that you’ve joined the service and give instructions on how to register for support with food access.

When you contact the SMS Shielding Service or your local authority helpline, you will be asked for your ten digit CHI number to help identify you. Your CHI number can be found at the top of the letter you will have received. 

No. We are not advising people to start shielding again. It is important to strictly follow the protection level guidance for your area and maintain regular hand washing, physical distancing and face coverings. 

As you are in the highest protection level we are advising you to take some extra precautions to ensure your safety.  This includes:

  • Minimise contact with people outside your own household if you can
  • You should not take public transport
  • Strictly follow the guidelines when shopping and limiting the number of times you go to a shop
  • Shop at quieter times
  • The Chief Medical Officer will issue a fit note. 
  • Children on the shielding list should not attend school or college in person

Those of you who are at highest risk from coronavirus will be feeling particularly anxious. Keeping you safe is at the forefront of decision-making. This is why we have provided extra guidance to ensure that you are supported in making the best choices for you. 

We know that shielding has had a huge negative impact on people’s mental and physical health. These new protection levels are designed to help reduce the spread of the virus in our communities and are an extra level of protection for you. Introducing these protection levels is the best way to protect you. 
 

 

You will be contacted by Test and Protect if you have tested positive or have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive. If this happens, you should follow the instructions and self-isolate. Your local authority can offer essential practical support if it’s required - for example help with delivery of food and other essentials. A new financial support payment of £500 will become available for workers on low incomes who aren’t able to work at home.
 

Groups at higher risk of having too little vitamin D include: 

  • people who have low or no exposure to the sun, for example if you spend most of your time indoors or cover your skin for cultural reasons
  • people from minority ethnic groups with dark skin such as those of African, African-Caribbean and South Asian origin, who require more sun exposure to make as much vitamin D
  • all pregnant and breastfeeding women
  • infants and children under 5 years old

If you are a resident in a care home, your GP or nurse will discuss with you whether vitamin D will be of benefit to you. 
 

Our main source of vitamin D is sunlight. In Scotland, we only get enough of the right kind of sunlight for our bodies to make vitamin D during roughly half the year (April to September).  From October to March, we rely on food and supplements to get enough vitamin D. Only a small number of foods contain vitamin D, such as oily fish, red meat and egg yolks, so it is difficult to get enough from food alone.  

Without enough vitamin D, children can be at risk of developing rickets, which causes weak and badly formed bones. In adulthood and later life, a lack of vitamin D can lead to osteomalacia (softening of the bones) and a greater risk of broken bones.
 

You should get a letter inviting you and anyone you live with for a free flu vaccine. It is important that you get this vaccine. Travel to and from a vaccination centre counts as essential travel. The flu vaccine will not protect against coronavirus, but it will help protect against this year’s flu. 

NHS Inform have a tool that helps people find out quickly, where they can get their flu vaccine 
You can also contact your GP if you have not received a letter in the next few weeks
 

Please contact the Aberdeen City Support Line on 0800 0304 713

Sign up for the shielding text message service. If you have not already signed up, you can do so by texting your 10 digit CHI number to 07860 064525. You can find your CHI number on the shielding letters you have received.

The Scottish government is not currently planning to re-introduce food boxes. This is because the advice is not to stop going to shops, though you are being advised to limit the number of times you visit shops, consider shopping at quieter times, and where possible shop on-line.   

Since the first lockdown last year, supermarkets have put in place a number of measures to make them safer.  They have also increased their capacity to provide a wide range of ways to shop, including on-line delivery, click and collect, home deliveries, phone ordering, grocery boxes, and gift cards so someone else can shop for you, further information is found below. 

You can still sign up for priority access to on-line supermarket delivery slots and this offer will remain open.   

If you need support with getting grocercies you can contact the Support Line on 0800 0800  0304 713 

Local services are helping pharmacies to deliver prescriptions, prioritising those who are not currently able to leave the house.  Prescriptions will continue to cover the same length of time as usual. If you do not currently have your prescriptions collected or delivered, you can arrange this by:  

  • Asking someone who can pick up your prescription from the local pharmacy, and leave them at your door for you (this is the best option, if possible); 
  • Contact the Aberdeen City Helpline on 0800 0304 713 who will be able to arrange for your medicines to be delivered to your home; 
  • If you get medicines or equipment from your hospital care team, they will make arrangements to have them delivered to you. 

If you need to change your prescription, please telephone your GP. Your GP may wish to discuss this with you and will then send your prescription on to the pharmacy.  

If your arranged prescription delivery does not turn up, please contact the Aberdeen City Support Line on 0800 0304 713.

If you would like to change the date and/or time of your prescription delivery, please contact the Aberdeen City Support Line on 0800 0304713.

Customers can choose ‘click and collect’ services at any supermarket where available – if you need help collecting your order, please contact the Aberdeen City Support Line 0800 0304 713 
Morrisons have introduced a telephone ordering service for vulnerable people who do not use online shopping – their number is 0345 322 0000
Morrisons are also offering ‘Food boxes’ which will be delivered direct to your home and these are ordered on-line or you can choose the Morrison’s ‘Door Step Delivery’ by phoning 0345 611 6111 (option 5).
Marks & Spencer are offering a selection of different ‘Food Boxes’ and these can be ordered on-line and delivered direct to your home
The following supermarkets are offering a  ‘Volunteer Shopping Card’ if you rely on friends and family to get your shopping; 

  • Marks and Spencer's
  • Asda
  • Tesco
  • Sainsbury

This card will help you get funds to those who are getting your essentials for you. This is a contactless, safe and secure way to shop for others or allow others to shop for you.
Aldi are offering a ‘Food Parcel’ which will delivered direct to your home and these are ordered on-line
Iceland can arrange delivery direct to your home by ordering on-line.
Tesco On-line Customers – If you have an on-line account already in place with Tesco, please call them on 0800 917 7359. They can’t guarantee a slot will be available, but they will do their best to prioritise you as we continue to expand our capacity.

Sainsburys are offering  priority slots for vulnerable and elderly customers online. For vulnerable customers who have been offered a slot and are unable to place their order online,they are offering a telephone ordering service.  
CO-OP can arrange delivery direct to your home by ordering online.
Deliveroo are able to deliver basic groceries from some local shops.

If you require urgent support with food and/or prescriptions, please contact the Aberdeen City Support Line on 0800 0304 713.

Even when shielding is paused, the Scottish Government will continue to provide information and advice as well as updates through the SMS Shielding Service. You might not need the service right now, but signing up will help you keep up to date.

The Scottish Government are also developing a Covid forecasting service for shielding. It will allow people who have been shielding to sign up to an SMS update that tells them about their risk of being exposed to Covid in their local area.
 

Remember to strictly follow the FACTS advice: 

  • Face coverings – wear a face covering in shops and on public transport 

  • Avoid crowded places 

  • Clean your hands regularly 

  • Two metre distance – maintain physical distancing from people outwith your household 

  • Self-isolate and book a test if you have symptoms 

To help keep yourself safe, you can visit our Shielding web pages for more information on the mygov.scot website.

The study only considered data on people with Down’s syndrome who were over 19 years old and that is why only adults have been added to the list.  If you think your child is at higher risk and should be on the list, we suggest you speak with your GP as they will be able to provide advice based on individual circumstances. Clinicians, using their medical judgement and in consultation with their patient, can include people on the list if they consider that an individual is at the highest clinical risk from Covid-19. 

Health officials have been reviewing all of the data that has been gathered throughout the pandemic and a particular study of data on adults with Down’s syndrome has now been completed.  It shows that adults with Down’s syndrome are at a higher risk of severe illness from coronavirus.  This is the reason that the decision has been taken to add adults with Down’s syndrome to the list.

The study made use of a predicative risk model developed by Oxford University and the study findings have been published on the British Medical Journal

The below letter is being sent to every adult with Downs Syndrome in Scotland from the Chief Medical Office of Scotland, Dr Gregor Smith.

 

Down’s syndrome is the commonest identifiable group within the learning disability population accounting for around 15-20% of all people with a learning disability. The decision to add adults with Down’s syndrome to the highest risk group is informed by the study which only looked at a sample of the Down’s syndrome population.  If you think you or the person you care for is also at higher risk and should be on the list, we suggest you speak with your GP as they will be able to provide advice based on individual circumstances.

You should have received a letter from the Chief Medical Officer telling you that you have been added to the list and it will explain what that means for you.  At this point in time, you should continue to follow all of the public health guidance for the area where you live, wash your hands regularly, continue to wear a face covering when you need to, keep up the 2m social distancing rule, avoid crowded places and you must self-isolate if you or anyone in your household develops coronavirus symptoms.  Being on the list means that you will receive additional advice if the virus spreads further.

Don’t worry if you have not received a letter. Speak to your GP and they will be able to ensure that you receive one. Until then please follow the advice on the Scottish Government website.

You can get help and advice from a number of places. You can visit websites for more info:

  • Scottish Government website
  • The NHS Inform website
  • Or you can contact Down’s Syndrome Scotland’s helpline between 8am and 8pm if you need to talk to someone about these changes and how they impact you.  You can call Down’s Syndrome Scotland on 0300 030 2121 for the price of a local call, Monday - Friday. 

You should follow the general advice for everyone in Level 4 areas and work from home if you can. Employers should make sure their staff can work from home if possible. If you cannot work from home, most workplaces can be made safe, even if you are at the highest risk

  • If you are already on the Scottish Government Shielding text messaging service, sign up by texting 1SHOP to 07860 064525 from your mobile.  
  • If you are not on our text messaging service, join by sending a text from your mobile with your Community Health Index (CHI) number to 07860 064525. Your CHI number is the 10-digit number shown at the top of your letter from the Chief Medical Officer. 
  • After you have done this, text 1SHOP to 07860 064525 to sign up for your priority online delivery slot. 

After you have sent your text, if you are an existing online customer with ASDA, Tesco, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s, Iceland or Waitrose: 

Your supermarket will email you to let you know how to access the delivery service.  They will send an email to the account you have registered with. If you don’t receive a reply, check that the email address you have registered with is still correct or check your junk mail folder.  

If you are a new to online supermarket shopping: 

Once you have registered with our service, you will get texts from GOV.SCOT about the supermarkets that provide online deliveries in your area. The texts will explain how to sign up for these.  

If you aren’t registered for the Scottish Government Shielding text messaging service you can sign up for priority online supermarket delivery slots via the Aberdeen City Support Line on 0800  0304 713 

If you are a parent or guardian of a child on the shielding list you can register for this service. You will need to register using the child’s name and by going through the steps outlined above. 

If you are a carer of someone on the shielding list, you can register for this service. You will need to register using the name of the person you care for and by going through the steps outlined above. 

No. By registering for this service you will be given priority access to one supermarket only. 

Once you register for the service, Scottish Government will share your information with the supermarkets however they send this on a monthly basis so it may be a few weeks before you get priority access to the online delivery slots. 

If you are using an online delivery option, due to physical distancing rules, drivers are no longer able to bring groceries inside your house. Instead, they will leave your groceries outside your door. If this is likely to cause you any difficulties, please contact the relevant supermarket and let them know. See appendix 1 for the contact details of individual supermarkets. 

Scottish Government shared registration details on a monthly basis and it can take between 2 and 3 weeks for supermarkets to register you on their systems for priority access. As some supermarkets have already opened their online bookings for the Christmas period, in addition to registering for priority access, you may wish to check now whether you can book an online delivery service with your chosen retailer for December.  

Although you are registered for priority access, this does not guarantee that you will get a delivery slot. The weeks in the run up to Christmas are very busy for supermarkets. If you have not been able to get a delivery slot in December and you are worried about getting groceries you may want to consider buying a gift voucher for a family, friend or neighbour so they can do your shopping.

Some supermarkets have a  e-gift card that can be ordered online and emailed to the person of your choice. Asda, Sainsburys, Tesco and Marks and Spencer all have a volunteer e-gift card which can be emailed to the person of your choice. Aldi have a physical card which can be ordered online and sent by post 

If you do not have access to the internet, you can order groceries over the phone from Morrisons or Sainbury’s. 

To order groceries by phone:  

  • Call Morrisons on  0345 611 6111 and select option five. Morrisons will deliver groceries from a menu of 47 essential items. 
  • If you would like to place an order by phone with Sainsbury’s, details of how to do that, including the phone number will be sent to you by email if you choose to register with them for priority access. 

Supermarkets have introduced a number of ways to keep customers safe. These include: 

  • marshals or security staff at the front of their stores to provide help - if you have difficulty queueing you should approach the marshal or security guard on the door to ask for priority access.  
  • sanitation stations with sanitisers to clean hands, trolleys and baskets 
  • safety screens at check outs 
  • face coverings for staff 
  • signs to keep physical distancing. 
  • self-service checkouts and contactless payment options to minimise contact between customers and staff 
  • self-scan and pay for items as you place them in your basket 

Local NHS health boards and GPs will invite people for their coronavirus vaccine soon (or will already have done so) if they are in one of these groups:

  • residents in a care home for older adults and their carers 
  • people aged 80 and over 
  • frontline health and social care workers

After these groups have been invited for their vaccine, further groups at higher risk from coronavirus will be invited. People will be offered an appointment as soon as it’s possible for them to get the vaccine.
 

Yes. You should follow all advice for those on the shielding list, even if you have had a coronavirus vaccination. This includes the advice about work. While a full course of the vaccine (two doses) will help prevent you from becoming seriously ill from coronavirus, we do not yet know if it will keep you from catching and spreading the virus. 

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