What is self-isolation?
This information was current at the time this page was last updated on: 23 December 2020, 12.37pm

What is ‘stay at home’ self-isolation?    

Self-isolation is for an individual when they show symptoms or for households when anyone in that household shows symptoms. Symptoms include:

  • high temperature – this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)
  • new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual)
  • loss or change to your sense of smell or taste – this means you’ve noticed you cannot smell or taste anything, or things smell or taste different to normal

The Government is asking that in this case people stay at home and do not go out at all, and avoid all contact with people. This will help control the spread of the virus. 


When should I self-isolate?

The rules on self-isolation are different for people who live or work in supported living, residential settings and/or short breaks (respite). See guidance at the end of this page for more information.

You should self-isolate when you or a household member have the most common symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19):

  • new continuous cough and/or
  • high temperature
  • loss or change to your sense of smell or taste

The person who displays symptoms must self isolate for 10 days unless they still have a temperature, the rest of the household must isolate for 10 days from the point when the person started to show symptoms.

You may also be contacted by the NHS Test and Trace service if you have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19. In this instance you should follow the advice given to you by the NHS contact tracer.

New guidance from the Government says people who have been in close contact with someone who tests positive for COVID-19 must self-isolate for 10 days, even if they have no symptoms.


What should I do when self-isolating?

You should remain in your home. Do not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital, work, school, or public areas, and do not use public transport or taxis.

You will need to ask friends or relatives if you require help with buying groceries, other shopping or picking up medication. Alternatively, you can order medication by phone or online. You can also order your shopping online. Make sure you tell delivery drivers to leave items outside for collection if you order online. The delivery driver should not come into your home.

For further advice please follow the following link:


I am a staff member and I have received a positive test result. How long do I need to self-isolate for?

If you have displayed symptoms of COVID-19, you should self-isolate for 10 days from the date you took the test. You can return to work on day 11 if you are no longer showing symptoms.

If you are asymptomatic, you can return to work on day 11 after receiving your test result; however, if you start to display symptoms you must self-isolate for a further 10 days after the symptoms started.


Should my household self-isolate if I test positive?

Yes, all members of your household should self-isolate for 10 days.


Someone I support has tested positive, how long should they self-isolate for?

The person should self-isolate for 14 days unless advised otherwise by your Health Protection Team (HPT).

If the person is showing symptoms of COVID-19, then their self-isolation period should be 14 days from the date they first showed symptoms.

If the person is asymptomatic, then they should self-isolate for 14 days from the date they took the test.


For more information please visit the following Government guidance pages: