Coronavirus (COVID-19): overview and advice
A coronavirus is a type of virus. COVID-19 is a strain of coronavirus. It can affect your lungs and airways. Everyone should do what they can to stop coronavirus spreading.
Symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19)
If you have:
- a high temperature – this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature), or;
- a new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or three or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual), or;
- anosmia - the loss or a change in your normal sense of smell (it can also affect your sense of taste)
You must self-isolate and take a PCR test.
If the test is positive you must self-isolate for 10 days.
For information on what to do if you think you have coronavirus, go to the Public Health Agency website.
Testing and tracing for coronavirus (COVID-19)
Everyone in Northern Ireland with symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19), or who has been identified as a close contact, should get a PCR test.
Information on testing, how to book a test and the contact tracing programme is available on the following pages:
StopCOVID NI app
The StopCOVID NI app will alert users who have been in close contact with other users who have tested positive for COVID-19.
The app was designed using the Information Commissioners Office “Privacy by Design” principles and therefore uses only anonymised information in its operation.
Further information on the app is available:
Coronavirus symptom checker app
The symptom checker app is dedicated to providing people across Northern Ireland with immediate advice and links to vital trusted information.
You can download the COVIDCare NI app for both Apple and Android devices using the relevant links below:
An online version of the app is available from the following link for those without access to a smartphone but who are able to access a computer or tablet device.
How to reduce the risk of spreading coronavirus
There are simple steps that everyone can take to reduce the risk of catching or spreading coronavirus.
- wash your hands with soap and water often – do this for at least 20 seconds
- always wash your hands when you get home or into work
- use hand sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available
- cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze
- put used tissues in the bin straight away and wash your hands afterwards
- try to avoid close contact with people who are unwell
- touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean
- Hand washing advice
You must wear face coverings in enclosed spaces where social distancing is not possible and on public transport.
Primary care COVID-19 centres
A network of new primary care COVID-19 centres has been established to manage coronavirus cases in the community.
Patients will not be able to report directly to these centres without being referred by their GP or out of hours provider.
Coronavirus cases in Northern Ireland
Information about the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak is available on the Department of Health’s website. The information is updated daily.
It includes information on hospital admissions and discharges, bed occupancy, a breakdown of cases and the number of COVID-19 related deaths by age and gender.
Information to help recovery after COVID-19
COVID-19 can cause mild symptoms but for other people it can be more serious and recovering from the virus may take time. Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has developed a resource to help recovery from the virus, with input from Allied Health Professionals (AHP) and clinical psychologists.
The resource provides information and advice about:
- clearing your lungs
- communication and mouth care
- eating well to help recovery
- conserving energy
- regaining strength and mobility
- looking after your mental health and wellbeing
If you have had COVID-19 and have any concerns about your recovery, contact your GP who will talk to you about treatment options.
COVID-19 – more information
Information on the following content is also available on nidirect: