Isolation Guidance

Things You Should Know About Coronavirus

If You Have Symptoms Of COVID-19

If you have symptoms of COVID-19, however mild, you must self-isolate for the next full 10 days from when your symptoms started. You should arrange to have a test to see if you have COVID-19. Do not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy, or hospital.

You could be fined if you do not stay at home and self-isolate following a positive test result for COVID-19 or if you are contacted by NHS Test and Trace and instructed to self-isolate.

Symptoms Of COVID-19

The most common symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) are the recent onset of any of the following:

  • a new continuous cough
  • a high temperature
  • a loss of, or change in, your normal sense of taste or smell (anosmia)

If you have any of the symptoms above, you must stay at home and arrange to have a test to see if you have COVID-19. Visit testing to arrange, or call 119.

Thinking Ahead

If you need to self-isolate because you have symptoms, have tested positive for covid-19, or have been in recent close contact with someone who has tested positive, there are things you may need to think about. This handy checklist can help:

  • Plan ahead and think about what you will need in order to be able to stay at home for the full duration of isolation

  • Talk to your employer, friends, and family to ask for their help to access the things you will need while staying at home

  • Think about and plan how you can get access to food and other supplies, such as medications, that you will need during this period. If you are self-isolating and need help collecting shopping, medicine, and other important items, you can register for support from the NHS volunteer responders. Visit NHS Volunteer Responders or call 0808 196 3646

  • Ask friends or family to drop off anything you need or order supplies online, but make sure these are left outside your home for you to collect

  • Ensure that you keep in touch with friends and family over the phone or through social media

  • Think about things you can do during your time at home. People who have successfully completed a period of staying at home have kept themselves busy with activities such as cooking, reading, online learning and watching films. Visit the Suffolk Self-Isolating Welfare Support Page for some learning resources, cultural activities you can do at home, and recipes to try, as well as much more.

  • Plan out the full days of your self-isolation on a calendar. You may also find it helpful to plan in advance what you will do if, for example, someone in your household were to feel much worse, such as having difficulties breathing

  • Remember that physical exercise can be good for your physical and mental wellbeing when you are feeling better. There are services in Suffolk offering home exercise classes and courses on the Suffolk Self-Isolating Welfare Support Page 

How Long Do I Need To Isolate For?

If you have symptoms of COVID-19 isolate for the next full 10 days from when your symptoms started. You should also book a test - visit or call 119. Do not leave the house for any other reason

If you have no symptoms but have tested positive, isolate for the next full 10 days from the date of your positive test. If you develop symptoms during this isolation period, you must restart your 10-day isolation from the day you develop symptoms.

If you live with someone who has symptoms or has tested positive isolate for 10 full days from when the first person in the house became ill, or if they do not have symptoms, from the date they tested positive. 

If you have had recent close contact with someone you do not live with, who has tested positive isolate for 10 full days from the date you last came into contact with that person, including:

  • Close face to fact contact (under 1 metre) for any length of time - including talking to them or coughing on them

  • Being within 1 to 2 metres of each other for more than 15 minutes - including travelling in a small vehicle

  • Spending lots of time in your home, such as cleaning it

Consider alerting people who you do not live with and have had close contact within the last 48 hours to let them know you have symptoms of COVID-19. At this stage, those people should not self-isolate. Alerting those that you have been in contact with means they can take extra care in practising social distancing and good hand and respiratory hygiene.

While You Are Self-Isolating Make Sure You Stay at Home  

You and everyone else in your household must remain at home. Do not leave the house for any reason, other than to attend a COVID-19 test. You only need to be tested once – if you test positive, you must isolate for 10 full days. Any exercise must be taken within your home or garden.

You could be fined if you do not stay at home and self-isolate following a positive test result for COVID-19 or if you are contacted by NHS Test and Trace and instructed to self-isolate.

Isolating at home will greatly reduce the overall amount of infection the household could pass on to others in the community.

If you require help with buying groceries, other shopping or picking up medication, or walking a dog, you should ask friends or family. Alternatively, you can order your shopping online and medication by phone or online. Delivery drivers should not come into your home, so make sure you ask them to leave items outside for collection.

If you do not have others to help you, there may be community groups who can help in your area or your local shops may be able to provide orders for delivery (by phone or by email). Some examples of support with this include:

  • Your local supermarket’s website

  • UK Finance (the collective voice for the banking and finance industry)

  • If you or a family member meet the criteria to get support from the NHS Volunteer Responders programme, you can call 0808 196 3646 and ask for help with food, prescriptions and essential items.

  • If there is a local lockdown or you need urgent help and have no other means of support, contact your local authority to find out what support services are available in your area.

  • Meals on Wheels (Aspect Living) 01473 749927

If you have symptoms, try and stay as far away from other members of your household as possible. It is especially important to stay away from anyone who is clinically vulnerable or clinically extremely vulnerable with whom you share a household.

Reduce the spread of infection in your home by washing your hands regularly for 20 seconds using soap and water or use hand sanitiser.  Cover coughs and sneezes. If you do not have a tissue, sneeze into the crook of your elbow, not into your hand. Dispose of tissues into a rubbish bag and immediately wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds or use a hand sanitiser.

Ending Self-Isolation                                                                                 

If you have had symptoms of COVID-19 or a positive test, then you may end your self-isolation after 10 days and return to your normal routine assuming you do not have symptoms other than cough or loss of sense of smell or taste. If you still have a high temperature, keep self-isolating until your temperature returns to normal and seek medical advice.

After 10 full days, if you still have a cough or a loss of, or change in, your normal sense of taste or smell (anosmia), you do not need to continue to self-isolate. This is because a cough or anosmia can last for several weeks once the infection has gone. The 10-day period starts from the day when you first became ill.

Ending Household Isolation                                                                            

After 10 full days, if the first person to become ill feels better, and no longer has symptoms other than cough or loss of sense of smell/taste, they can return to their normal routine.

If you live with others, then everyone else in the household who remains well should end their isolation after 10 full days. This 10-day period starts from the day the first person in the household became ill. People in the household who remain well after 10 days are unlikely to be infectious.

If anyone in the household becomes unwell during the 10-day period, they should arrange to have a test to see if they have COVID-19. If their test result is positive, they must follow the same advice for people with COVID-19 symptoms – that is, after 10 days of their symptoms starting, if they feel better and no longer have symptoms, other than cough or loss of sense of smell or taste – they can also return to their normal routine. However, if their test result is negative, they must continue with isolation as part of the household for the full 10 days.

Should someone develop COVID-19 symptoms late in the 10-days household isolation period (for example, on day 10 or later) the isolation period for the rest of the household does not need to be extended. Only the person with new COVID-19 symptoms has to stay at home for at least a further 10 days and should arrange to have a test to see if they have COVID-19.

At the end of the 10-day period, anyone in the household who has not become unwell can return to their normal routine.

A cough or anosmia (a loss of, or change, in the sense of taste or smell), may persist for several weeks in some people, despite the infection having cleared. A persistent cough or anosmia does not mean someone must continue to self-isolate for more than 10 days.

Translated COVID-19 Guidance

There is COVID-19 guidance on how to keep yourself and others safe translated into different languages. Visit the translated COVID-19 information Suffolk County Council page.

Frequently Asked Questions

View answers on the frequently asked questions page to help relieve some additional concerns you may have around self-isolating.