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.

Protection levels aim to control the rise of coronavirus cases and help to keep people safe.

Protection levels will be set according to the rate of infection data within a local area. There is different guidance for each protection level. 

As of the 26 April, all of mainland Scotland will be placed into level 3. If you live on the Islands this may be different.

If you live in a level 3 area this means that the area where you live has an increased rate of coronavirus cases compared with some other parts of the country. To help slow the spread of the virus, enhanced measures have been put in place which may affect your daily activities.

Those who were previously shielding should follow the protection guidance advice for the general population.  However, to help you make the most informed choice based on your level of risk, we have provided additional tiered guidance for activities such like work, school, shopping and contact with others. You can find this extra advice on the Scottish Government Website

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 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. 

Rapid/Lateral Flow (LFD) Testing Offer

The First Minister has announced that everyone in Scotland will be able to access free rapid coronavirus (COVID-19) tests twice a week, from 26 April. Lateral flow device (LFD) testing kits can give quick results for people that have no symptoms (asymptomatic).  The tests are intended to be taken regularly in order to identify people who may have Covid-19 before they develop symptoms. This will help to prevent transmission from people who test positive. The main aim of promoting this specifically to people on the shielding list is to prevent someone who may unknowingly have COVID-19 transmitting this to someone in their family or household who is on the shielding list.

What is a rapid lateral flow test (LFD)

LFD tests are home testing kits which will allow families to take a test at home. They are used when people are not displaying coronavirus symptoms.  

The tests involve taking a swab of tonsils (or where tonsils would have been) and nostrils. The result is usually ready in 30 minutes. The key benefit is that people do not need to attend a testing centre and can get the result at home.

LFD tests have a lower specificity than other tests, which means that a positive test needs to be followed up and confirmed by a PCR test.  The PCR test is taken at a testing centre and sent to a laboratory for results which can take a day or 2.  This means that if someone tests positive through a rapid test, they can start to isolate immediately while they wait for a follow-up, confirmation PCR test result.

How to order Rapid Lateral Flow Tests

You can order tests online at www.gov.scot/covidtestshielding or by phoning the National Testing Centre on 0300 303 2713.  
Once completed, a pack of seven lateral flow tests will be delivered to them within 1-2 days. People can re-order when they need more tests. If the system reaches its daily maximum capacity they will be able to order the next day.

What to do if a person on the shielding list’s house tests positive

Positive lateral flow test results need to be followed up and confirmed by a PCR test. If you or someone you live with gets a positive result from a lateral flow test, the result must be entered online, following the instructions that come with the test.

All members of the household must self-isolate immediately. The household member who has tested positive should also isolate separately from the rest of the household which includes the person on the shielding list. The person who has tested positive will be contacted by a contact tracer with further information and advice. 

The person who has tested positive should also book a PCR test which will be sent to a laboratory to confirm their result. This means that if a household member has tested positive through a lateral flow test, they can start to isolate immediately to reduce the risk of transmission occurring to the person who is on the shielding list as well as more widely.

If the PCR test is negative, your local health protection team will get in touch to assess whether you can all safely stop isolating.

Vaccinations for those who are Shielding

You can find information regarding the Covid-19 vaccinations for those who are shielding on our Shielding: Covid 19 Vaccine webpage. 

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 protection level 3 we are advising you to take some extra precautions to ensure your safety.  This includes:

  • Limit meeting people outside your own household, avoid indoor public spaces
  • Strictly follow the guidelines when shopping and limit the number of times you go to a shop
  • Shop at quieter times
  • Speak to your employer to ensure all appropriate protections are in place. The majority of workplaces can be made safe. Where you have a concern you should discuss this with your employer.
     

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.
 

If you are living or working in an area under lockdown, we continue to advise that if your employer cannot arrange for you to work from home, then you should not attend work.  The letter sent to you by the Chief Medical Officer during the week commencing 22 March can be used as evidence that you can’t go into work during any times that the area you live or work is under lockdown. 
 

The Chief Medical Officer sent out two letters during the week commencing 22 March to everyone on the shielding list.

Letter to adults: The letter acts as a fit note for those who are unable to work from home in level 4 lockdown area. The fit note will be valid until the end of June, however once your area has entered level 3 you should attend work. 

Letter to children (age 17 and under): The letter advises children and young people who are on the shielding list not to attend school or college.

The letter contains information for carers/parents on what to do if they need to stay home from work to look after a child, and updated information about online priority delivery slots for supermarkets. 

What to do if you can’t go to work

Receipt of the letter received during the week commencing 22  March means that you should not attend work unless you can work from home if you live in a level 4 lockdown area. You can use this letter as evidence that you cannot go to for as long as your area in at level 4. All you need to do is show them this letter, which serves as a fit note, and is called your Shielding Notification. You do not need a separate fit note from your GP. 
 

If your area is currently in level 4, the advice is that you should only work from home even if you have had one or two doses of the vaccine. If it is not possible for you to work from home you should use the letter you receive on the week commencing 22 March as a fit note.
 

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. 
 

Current advice during lockdown measures is everyone should work from home if they possibly can.  It was announced on 13 January that working from home arrangements will be strengthened through updated statutory guidance.  Working from home should now be the default position for all businesses and services, and only those who cannot do their job from home should be asked to go to the workplace. 

Those on shielding list should also follow this advice and work from home if they can.  If this is not possible, they have been advised not to go into work and to use the Chief Medical Officer’s letter as evidence that they can’t go into work when the area they live or work in is in temporary lockdown. 

Family members from the same household should also work from home where possible.  However, if this is not possible, they can still go into the workplace.  It is the employers responsibility to make sure the workplace and duties are Covid-safe.  We advise that household members should discuss their concerns with their employer (especially if this is causing anxiety), explaining that they live with a family member who has health concerns and is on the shielding list. 

Scottish Government’s extra advice for those on the shielding list includes that across all protection levels, we are not asking people on the shielding list to distance from people within their own homes or to stop taking outdoor exercise.
 

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.

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:

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 can also visit Down’s Syndrome Scotland’s website, there is a ‘Live Chat’ function staffed by the Family Support Team 

Down’s Syndrome Scotland provides a range of services and support for families and carers of adults. This includes our family support service and free parent and carer workshops on a range of topics e.g. Down’s syndrome and dementia. If you would like more information about this you can call the helpline on 0300 030 2121 or email familysupportservice@dsscotland.org.uk. You should also register with your local carers organisation and let your GP know that you are a carer for an individual with Down’s syndrome. 

You can find out more on Family Support Team | Downs Syndrome Scotland, or simply call the helpline on 0300 030 2121 or emailing FamilySupportService@dsscotland.org.uk. 

Full a full list of services for parents and carers visit Parents and Carers of Adults | Downs Syndrome Scotland
 

Individuals aged 16 and over  with Down’s Syndrome in Scotland are in Priority Group 4 for getting the vaccine.  The Government has published a plan to roll-out the vaccine and people in Group 4 should have received their first dose of the vaccine by mid-February.  Letters have been issued locally inviting people to come forward for the vaccine.  Family carers can accompany their son or daughter to receive the vaccine.  If you have not yet received your invitation please complete the online form. 

Vaccinations for group 6 have begun. Priority group 6 is one of the largest on the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) list. It will take several weeks to provide first doses to everyone and the speed with which we can offer first doses is dependent on our supplies. Unpaid family carers have also been prioritised for the vaccine within Priority Group 6.   

  • 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 

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has created a list of 9 groups of people, who are most at risk, that should be vaccinated as a first priority. If you are on the shielding list then you will be vaccinated as part of group four. This group includes all those 70 years of age and over and people who are clinically extremely vulnerable. However, if you  fall into groups one to three then you will be offered a vaccine first, these groups are made up of:

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

The current expectation is that everyone in group four should have received the first dose of the vaccine by mid-February. The second dose of the vaccine will be given up to 12 weeks later. This is to ensure that we are protecting the maximum number of people possible. 

Further information on the JCVI priority list can be found here.

The current guidance is that once you have received the first dose or second dose of the vaccine you should continue to follow the shielding advice. You will receive  further information should this advice change.

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