Support with self-isolating / shielding

COVID-19 Highest Risk List (previously called shielding)

People with specific health conditions were asked to carry out shielding at the beginning of the pandemic as they were at the highest risk of being severely affected if they contracted COVID-19.

Advice for those at Highest Risk is now the same as the general population. Current measures (January 2022) advised to protect ourselves from contracting or passing on the virus includes:

  • get the vaccine or the vaccine booster 
  • limit the amount of social contact you have with other households - gather in groups of no more than 3 households
  • avoid crowded places – shop at quieter times and follow safety measures in shops and other places
  • if you don’t have symptoms take regular lateral flow tests - especially before mixing with other people 
  • if you have symptoms - self isolate and book a PCR test
  • wear a face covering where required
  • work from home if you can

Full details on this and the advice for the whole of the Scottish population is on the Scottish Government website

COVID-19 treatments

Those with certain health conditions will have received a letter advising of new COVID-19 treatments available following a positive PCR test. More information about these treatements is available on the NHS Inform website. You are likely to have received this letter if you are on the Highest Risk list. 

Getting vaccinated

All adults in Scotland can now be vaccinated, whether it's first, second dose, third primary dose (in certain cases) or booster. Children over the age of 12 are also eligible for their first and second doses. For the most up to date information on getting your vaccine, visit the NHS Inform website. For more information on local drop-in vaccination clinics, visit the NHS Lothian website

If you need help with transport to your vaccination or would like to request a home vaccination, please phone the Scottish Covid Vaccination Helpline on 0800 030 8013 (8am to 8pm).

The National Vaccination Helpline on 0800 030 8013 is also useful if you have any questions or concerns.  

Vaccinations if you’re severely immunosuppressed

If you were severely immunosuppressed at the time when you had your first or second dose and you have not had your third dose yet, your Health Board will now invite you for your third primary dose. Some immunosuppressive treatments may affect when you get your third dose. Your GP or clinician can give you advice about this and when to book your appointment. If you are severely immunosuppressed, have already had three primary doses of the vaccine, and are aged 16 or over, your Health Board will now offer you a booster dose. If your third primary dose was at least 3 months (12 weeks) ago, your Health Board will invite you for your booster soon.

For further advice, you can also phone the National Vaccination Helpline on 0800 030 8013.

Support with mental health and wellbeing

If you’re struggling, remember you can always talk to your GP, someone else in your GP practice, or someone in your clinical team. There’s also useful information on the NHS Inform website

Clear Your Head has more information to help you cope and advice on how you can support other people who you think might be struggling

If you need to talk to someone, you can call these free services:

NHS 24: call 111 if you need urgent support for your mental or emotional health. Open 24 hours a day

Breathing Space: call 0800 83 85 87 for a free, confidential, phone service for anyone in Scotland over 16. If you’re experiencing low mood, depression or anxiety, Breathing Space provides a safe and supportive space, listening, offering advice and providing information. Open Monday to Thursday: 6pm - 2am and Friday to Monday: 6pm - 6am

Samaritans: call 116 123 for confidential emotional support if you're in distress or despair. Open 24 hours a day

British Red Cross Coronavirus Helpline: call 0808 196 3651 if you're feeling lonely, worried, or are having difficulty accessing food or medication. Support is available in more than 200 languages. Open every day from 10am - 6pm

New support service: Connecting with You

Connecting with You is a free service run by the British Red Cross. It’s available to all people aged 18 or over in Scotland who are experiencing issues associated with loneliness. We know being on the Highest Risk List may mean you’ve experienced loneliness or difficulty keeping up your connections. Connecting with You aims to help you rebuild your independence. Contact the British Red Cross by phone on 0300 30 36 077 (Monday to Friday, 10am to 4pm. Calls are free) or by email at connecting-withyou@redcross.org.uk

Self-isolating

The rules on self-isolation for household contacts has changed (January 2022).

If you’re identified as a household contact of a positive COVID-19 case, you no longer have to self-isolate if you are fully vaccinated but must take daily lateral flow tests. You must isolate immediately and book a PCR test if you develop symptoms. If you are not fully vaccinated you must self-isolate for 10 days and book a PCR test. 

If you think you have COVID-19 symptoms you should self-isolate immediately and take a PCR test. 

Full details on self-isolating and booking tests can be found on the Scottish Government website

Most people will be able to self-isolate with help from friends, family and neighbours and by arranging grocery deliveries - however if you need extra support, please contact customerservices@eastlothian.gov.uk or phone our helpline: 01875 824300. If you need extra help with food provision, you can see the local support available on our website

You can also call the British Red Cross coronavirus support line on 0808 196 3651. This was set up to provide support to communities and people in need during the coronavirus pandemic, giving people without a support network someone to talk to, and to help them access things they may need like food, medicine and emotional support.

Self-isolation Support Grants

The Scottish Welfare Fund Team delivers Self-Isolation Support Grants (SISG) on behalf of the Scottish Government for the residents of East Lothian. 

If you're a low income worker and Test and Protect tell you to self-isolate you may be able to get a £500 Self Isolation Support Grant.

If you're employed, you'll pay tax on the payment if you go over your tax-free personal allowance. Your tax code will change to collect the tax. You'll not pay National Insurance contributions on the payment.

If you're self-employed you must report the payment on your Self-assessment tax return if you need to file one.

You can check to see if you’re likely to qualify by using the tool on the Scottish Government website and it will tell you how to apply to us.

Please check the following criteria which changed on 6 January 2022.  To qualify for the grant you must:

  • Have received a public health request by the Test & Protect Service (or equivalent service across the UK) to self-isolate as a result of COVID-19, because you have tested positive for coronavirus;

or

  • have not been fully vaccinated with the coronavirus vaccine and have received a public health request by the Test & Protect Service (or equivalent service across the UK) to self-isolate as a result of COVID-19 because you have recently been in close contact with someone who has tested positive;

or

  • are the identified appropriate parent or primary carer of a child under 16 or the identified appropriate carer of a person over 16 who has tested positive for coronavirus and has been required by the Test & Protect Service (or equivalent service across the UK), local public health director or a local Incident Management Team notification to self-isolate.

You cannot apply for the grant with only a positive lateral flow test. 

You need to take a PCR test to get the grant. If you have a positive lateral flow test (LFT) and think you qualify for the grant, you can ask Test and Protect for a PCR test.

A positive PCR test result and the requirement to self-isolate will be verified with the Test & Protect Service and we will NOT be able to process your application if we cannot verify this.

Giving Test and Protect permission to share information

You'll also need to allow Test and Protect to share your information with your local council. We cannot process your application until you do this.

To allow Test and Protect to share your details, you can either:

  • phone the national helpline on 0800 030 8012 - tell them that you agree Test and Protect can share your details with your local council
  • reply to a Test and Protect text message with your postcode - they'll text back asking you to agree to share your details with the local council

In addition, you must:

  • make an application within 28 days of the day that you are required to self-isolate
  • are employed or self-employed and unable to work from home
  • will face reduced earnings as a result of self-isolating
  • in receipt of at least one of the following benefits:
    • Universal Credit
    • Working Tax Credit
    • Income based Employment and Support allowance
    • Income based Job seekers allowance
    • Income support
    • Housing Benefit
    • Pension Credit
    • Means-tested Council Tax Reduction or
  • are an individual who earns less than the £1608.75 gross per month or
  • your household income is such that it falls within the agreed definition of ‘low income’ for your household type

Applications for support are for single applicants. Any other applications for those within the same household must be made separately and individually. 

Before you apply, please ensure you have the information in this list:

  • a bank statement
  • your national insurance number
  • proof of low income if you do not claim benefits
  • proof of employment or self-employment

If you are eligible we will pay the £500 into your bank account. 

If you meet these criteria and wish to apply, please apply online for a self-isolation support grant