To keep abreast of coronavirus as it relates to people with MS please see the MS Society's main website at https://www.mssociety.org.uk/what-we-do/news/covid-19-coronavirus-and-ms
If you need to talk to someone remember our free helpline 0808 800 8000 and for local information line 0191 386 0006. You can also access our Facebook page and join our Chatterbox Group to link up with others with MS.
Local Sources of help and support
County Durham Together
If you are shielding for 12 weeks, self-isolating or otherwise unable to leave your home to go shopping for essentials or getting prescriptions made up; a helpline, webpage and support network have been set up to help people in County Durham who are struggling during the Coronavirus pandemic.
County Durham Together has been set up to provide people with support, either through established networks of community or volunteer groups, or from the council itself through staff volunteers.
They will help with a number of requests, such as food supplies, general help and guidance, or someone who can listen and support.
If you need help with medicines, please contact your GP or local pharmacy for deliveries.
People are advised to accept help from friends, family and neighbours where possible.
Those enquiries will be directed to the virtual council hubs, staffed by AAP workers and council volunteers, who will assess any requests for information and provide appropriate help to residents.
Alternatively, help can be accessed by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 03000 260 260.
Weekends and bank Holidays 10am-3pm
Shopping for vulnerable people
*** ONLINE SHOPPING with major supermarkets. ***
The gov.uk website has created a simple on line register which you can complete if you are classed by the NHS or your GP as an extremely vulnerable person; this is passed to major supermarkets so that you can be given priory delivery slots.
You may also get assistance by searching the web for and contacting https://covidmutualaid.org/local-groups/.
Input your location and you will get a list of mutual aid groups in you area.
The following are links to the major supermarkets and how they are helping during the Covid-19 crisis
NHS VOLUNTEER RESPONDERS
A helping hand for those self-isolating
NHS Volunteer Responders have asked us to remind you that their volunteers are ready and willing to help anyone with a medical condition making them vulnerable to COVID-19, or a disability – especially if they are over 70.
If you or somebody else with MS who is self-isolating and needs help with shopping or collecting prescriptions, or would just appreciate a call for a chat, go to NHS Volunteer Responders.
They can call 0808 196 3646 or visit www.nhsvolunteerresponders.org.uk to request assistance.
People with MS advised to practice social distancing
What is social distancing
The latest UK government advice is for everyone to practice social distancing to reduce risk. They've said people with chronic neurological conditions like MS should be particularly careful about following these steps:
Avoid contact with anyone who displays symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19). Symptoms include high temperature and/or new and continuous cough
Try not to use public transport unless you really have to and, if you can, always avoid rush hour
Work from home where possible. Your employer should support you to do this. Read the government's employer guidance for more information
Where possible, avoid being within two metres of people (who are coughing and sneezing).
Avoid large gatherings, and gatherings in smaller public spaces like pubs, cinemas, restaurants, theatres, bars, clubs
Avoid gatherings with friends and family.
Keep in touch using remote technology like phone, internet, and social media.
Use telephone or online services to contact your GP or other essential services
Where possible, avoid being within two metres of people who are coughing and sneezing.
IMPORTANT NOTES FOR THOSE ON DISEASE MODIFYING THERAPY
If you've taken alemtuzumab or cladribine within the last 12 weeks, you should also self-isolate until at least 12 weeks after the date of your course. So for example if you had an infusion of alemtuzumab 8 weeks ago, you should self-isolate for at least another 4 weeks.
If you've had HSCT treatment in the last 12 months, speak to your transplant team about self-isolating. They may recommend you carry on for longer than 3 months post-treatment.
Other people with MS do not need to practice shielding. But you should continue to be particularly careful to follow social distancing and self-isolation advice as well as any other advice from a health professional.