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Continue Shielding?

Hi all. I am new to this site...and relatively new to PMR and arthritis diagnosis, but have had significant joints and pain issues for at least 12 months.

My first Rheumatology consultation took place just before lockdown. I have received a letter from the hospital in relation to COVID-19, but wonder if this is the same letter other NHS patients have received?

I have been shielding, based on guidance in that letter and subsequent follow-up phone consultation with Rheumatologist, but am now very confused as there seems to have been another 'tier' of (lesser) vulnerability introduced recently?! Govt and NHS websites have conflicting/contradictory information.

Being 'older', my gut feeling is to continue shielding - I work in a Secondary school, and was actually 'strongly advised' by my employer to 'stay home' for 12 weeks, 2 days before lockdown. I worry about other people's lack of caution causing transmission of the virus now there is an easing of restrictions, and it is this that makes me feel vulnerable. Is it just me ..?




  • Chris_RChris_R Posts: 234 mod

    Hi Ayjay

    Welcome to the Arthritis community and the forums. I too received a letter from my hospital and because I am on pills for cancer they told me not to go out, to stay in until the government had relaxed the lockdown. The one where you shield is from the Government NHS letter, like you I never got one of those,so I presumed that when the Government announced their latest news on lockdown they said that those who were not shielding could go out so I did,it was a bit scary at first but I have been going out now for shopping and walking in the countryside and seeing my children in the garden for 2 weeks now and am ok I am 74years old I wear a cloth mask and ID gloves when I am out 2 metres distance and I feel quite safe.

    My daughter is a teacher and her older teacher friends have not gone back yet just the younger element but that is her schools policy they are all different.

    As to feeling vulnerable I feel that too as I am older and I think it will go away as my confidence in this queuing world gets stronger. Hope that helps you in some way.

    Enjoy the forums and chatting to others,if you feel you would like to talk to someone we have a telephone number helpline 0800 5200 520.

    All the best Christine

  • AyjayAyjay Posts: 7

    Hi Christine,

    Thanks for your reply. I have been extremely fortunate with my health until recently. Being newly diagnosed, and learning to cope with not feeling well, and managing pain (and mobility) is alien to me! I have seen my daughter in my garden (2m distance), which was so lovely.

    I too have cloth masks, kindly made for me by a friend, which I shall use when I venture out. The whole shielding/self-isolating issue is so confusing, with very 'grey' areas. I'll continue to follow the shielding guidance for now, just for my own peace of mind. It is good to read that you are now going out and meeting your children. Stay safe and well.

    Thanks also for signposting me to the helpline.

    Take care, Ayjay

  • frogmortonfrogmorton Posts: 26,168 ✭✭✭

    @Ayjay I think more letters will be coming out soon. It is all very confusing l have to agree, but think in general we should all just do what we feel comfortable with. Personally l am doing nowt, but some people will be under pressure to return to work without the support of the letter.

    I think it's been a bit divisive as well as anxiety-provoking all these 'levels of vulnerability' and suspect the new letters will 'allow' more people out. Some of them are keen to get out, but many think they have been abandoned by the powers that be.

    I hope for you that your employer remains supportive and you are able to work if and only if you feel safe.

    As for reducing the 2m rule well I don't want anyone but family within 1m of me anyway COVID or no COVID!! That's my personal space!!

    Best of luck


    Toni xxx
  • Mike1Mike1 Posts: 1,140 ✭✭✭✭

    I have not received an isolation letter but nonetheless there is no way I want to put myself in a position where I could catch the virus; I think that it is patently clear that, with the latest downgrading of the risk, that things are moving too fast and that a second wave is imminent so I shall be staying home. I am especially fearful of a second wave as holiday parks in Cornwall are looking to open up in a couple of weeks, there have been second home owners down here since the pandemic started and the majority of virus cases in our one and only main hospital are from out of the County so it goes without saying that when more people come down here virus cases will rise.

  • I’m also worried what the winter will bring, the slow down in infection does seem to have coincided with the warmer weather.
  • Hi Ayjay,

    Given the current government guidelines, it's now more or less up to you if you want to keep shielding. We have a page of information here on Versus Arthritis about shielding, which will give you more information oso you can make the decision for yourself.

    The government has been quite clear that no-one should feel forced to go out if they are uncomfortable doing so, and your letter should help provide backup for you decision but is in no way a requirement for deciding not to go out.

    There are lots of people here in a similar situation, and we're all friendly, so I'd invite you to keep coming back to the community so you can chat with everyone and keep connected.

    Nice to meet you,


  • AyjayAyjay Posts: 7

    Thanks all...I do feel the Government are moving things too quickly, not even giving time to assess the impact of changes before lifting more restrictions.

    The fact that 2 Brits reintroduced the virus to New Zealand sums it up, for me. I would love nothing more than to be proved wrong, but until then, I'll continue to take responsibility for my health and wellbeing by doing what I have from the start....I need to be around for my daughter's (eventual!) Graduation Ceremony!

    I wish you all well, and those in holiday/tourist areas....stay safe, I hope visitors behave responsibly


  • AyjayAyjay Posts: 7

    Hi Shell,

    Thank you! I'm fortunate that my employers are caring. They also know if I am not at work, it is with good reason. I haven't had a day off sick since I started there 5 years ago....even when I could barely get out of bed, or walk. I was only diagnosed at the end of February, so am also new to adapting to living with PMR and arthritis. I am grateful for the help, information and friendliness I have already received from this forum.

    Thanks, Ayjay

  • Governments of any flavour are the last set of people that I would rely on for advice on anything as complicated as the current virus. We are all flying by the seat of our respective pants, personally I wouldn’t trust any of them to oil the spring on a pogo stick, we must make our own decisions and hope that they are the correct ones.

  • The trouble is we can’t all make our own decisions, if the government says it’s ok to go back to work I’ll have to go, they won’t pay me if I choose to stay off because I don’t think it’s safe. Getting worried about it now, a few countries have had outbreaks again now, Germany the latest with R number at 1.79 apparently, and I trust there government at this point more than ours.
  • Governments are all about statistics, statistics and damned lies, I don’t mean to be disrespectful, but I wouldn’t be at all surprised if the late Dame Vera Lynn has been placed on a Corvid 19 statistic list.

  • frogmortonfrogmorton Posts: 26,168 ✭✭✭

    Sadly I think there will be some employers who won't support people who would rather shield @silverfoxxxx

    I'm not sure I 100% trust any statistics we read from anywhere myself.

    Take care and do your best


    Toni xxx
  • To be fair to employers, if their staff decided to abide by government advice to ‘lock down’ during the crisis, and now decide that the government’s advice to return to work is wrong, where on earth are we?

    I am simply playing devil’s advocate, as my opinion on governmental advice is well known to those that have read any of my posts on this subject.

  • silverfoxxxxsilverfoxxxx Posts: 125
    edited 21. Jun 2020, 10:18
    @Crookesey I asked not to shield to start with as I believed it was to early, living in the SW it hadn’t hit us at the beginning, unfortunately I was told I had to shield by my employer, now it is more prevalent here than at the beginning of my shielding and it’s all coming to an end. Should have been region based from the start. This would have also solved the issue of the outer regions filling up with tourists as soon as lockdown started to be released as London had run its course before the rest of the country.
  • I live on the very edge of the Peak District National Park and have never seen anything of the like of the lockdown. Usually busy villages resemble what I would expect of ‘ghost towns’, miles away from supermarkets they appear to rely on local co-ops, if they are lucky enough to have one, there simply aren’t enough supermarket delivery vehicles and drivers to satisfy needs and requirements, I think myself lucky that I live closer to commercial civilisation.

  • Until August the 1st it is then, a little confused after that as although I’m sure Tesco who I work for are as Covid safe as they can be, I’m not convinced how safe it will actually be. Jenny Harries said it is ok to return to work as you’d have to meet 1700 people to meet an infected person, I’d do that in a weekend easily face to face on the shop floor.....
  • Mike1Mike1 Posts: 1,140 ✭✭✭✭

    Let's face it, nobody is safe until we have all had the vaccine!

  • dreamdaisydreamdaisy Posts: 31,567 ✭✭✭

    I won't be altering my behaviour that much. These inexplicable start dates are laughable and perhaps a rather pathetic attempt to imply control over the uncontrollable. People will become forgetful about sanitising, careless about sneezes, social distancing is already farcical and the asymptomatic continue to roam free, unconciously infecting peop!e and bringing chaos in their innocent wake.

    We are waiting to discover if (and how many) people may come into the house, until we know that we won't be seeing people as not being able to offer the use of facilities rather puts the kybosh on entertaining. Similarly, if one of our visitors turns out to be asymptomatic and I snuff it . . . . At least the arthritis will be done and dusted, proof there is a tarnished silver lining to every cloud. DD

    Have you got the despatches? No, I always walk like this. Eddie Braben
  • Well today’s briefing hasn’t helped with my feeling nervous about returning to work, both the scientists seemed very cautious about the new rules ‘for normal people’ and an almost definite uptick in cases is expected, how can they announce us returning into society and the following day have scientists clearly not happy with the new measures.
  • LilymaryLilymary Posts: 624 ✭✭✭

    I have not been required to shield or self isolate, but as I am supporting people who fall into both categories, (and because I really didn’t fancy getting the virus anyway) I have been acting with considerable caution, as the thought of me being the one who brings the virus to their door is too awful to contemplate.

    My work ground to a halt for the duration, as the government guidelines made it impracticable to continue, but it is now getting going again. However, I shall continue to “go the extra mile” when out in public and when out in the course of my work for the same reason, and particularly until we see the consequences of these latest relaxations a few weeks down the line.

  • dreamdaisydreamdaisy Posts: 31,567 ✭✭✭

    I am more than happy to carry on as I am in order to distance myself from the covidiots so ostentatiously on display yesterday at Bournemouth. That is what we are up against. DD

    Have you got the despatches? No, I always walk like this. Eddie Braben
  • Mike1Mike1 Posts: 1,140 ✭✭✭✭

    There is no doubt that one hell of a lot of people are either so thick that they don't know we are in a pandemic which is killing thousands or they just don't give a damn about those of us who are high risk. If the crowd at Bournemouth, Brighton and outside Liverpool FC last night want to commit suicide let them do it at home. I shall be carrying on as I am until a vaccine is available, no choice really as we are already getting crowded out with holiday makers in Cornwall.

  • KazandNooKazandNoo Posts: 97 ✭✭

    I think the majority just don't care Mike. Maybe they could spare a thought for those of us that it would impact more intensely. As more venues etc are opening the more I don't want to go to them!

    I'll stay at home with the husband and my lovely cats.😻😻

  • I’ve had a call from my manager at work regarding my return on August 1st, I said it will depend if normal people mess it up for me as I’m not coming back if the situation is worse. He wasn’t keen on that reply but looking at the news it’s already started and we haven’t even reached the new date for the changes yet, as soon as pubs open I think the second wave will quickly be on it’s way. Working in a supermarket I can’t see Covid safety being that safe.

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