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Shielded, what does it really mean?

(136 Posts)
Megs36 Sat 09-May-20 13:12:08

Bit late to ask this, now 7 weeks in. The Letter plainly states stay in and stay apart, use separate bathrooms, kitchens and eat apart.only go out or see anyone in an emergency. So we haven’t seen anyone face to face, not slept together, obviously some of these ‘rules’ can’t be followed exactly (separate bathrooms etc), however we haven’t left the house except to go into our tiny garden, since March 18th.but I get the impression some who say they are shielded are going walking, and meeting family albeit at a distance. I feel more than isolated and wonder if we have mis read the instructions all this time

moggie57 Sat 09-May-20 13:15:22

depends how old you are? and married ? health problems? if you are vunerable? if not i would go out for a walk round the block .keeping distances with other people.

Elegran Sat 09-May-20 13:20:40

They shouldn't be meeting up with other people, even family, as those other people are not isolating, and could be in contact with others who have the virus. As it takes a week or so for symptoms to appear, it could reach you without whoever gave it to you being aware that they have it. Not everyone seems to understands that!

Tuppence15 Sat 09-May-20 13:23:18

You haven’t misread the instructions, but they are advised instructions.
We are still going for a daily walk well away from everyone.
No stopping to chat or seeing family.
I have to do the shopping, but take precautions by cleaning and leaving things in the open air.
Some people who say they are shielding are in fact in the vulnerable group.
I think common sense dictates most of it. The aim after all is not to catch Coronavirus. And yes it is very isolating. Stay safe.

Rufus2 Sat 09-May-20 13:36:08

Megs You read my mind! I was going to ask the same question in my Saturday No idea what else "The Letter" states, but it would seem a tad superfluous, if you are getting the same string of continuous warnings as us!
Do you get any special privileges being "shielded"?
Does anyone living on their own qualify?
I'd look after it; it will be a collector's item in years to come. grin
Good Health Megs to you and your family!

vickymeldrew Sat 09-May-20 13:40:45

Hi Megs 3. I am ‘shielded’ too. Well, you are quite right, we have to stay in (ok to go in your own garden) not allowed out at all. Divide up the house (if you can) , and generally become a hermit!
Those who are going out to shop and are allowed to exercise are classed as ‘vulnerable’. I believe vulnerable is a catch-all for everyone over 70 and people who have been eligible for flu jabs.
The letter received by those who are shielded was couched in extremely strong terms and frightened the life out of me to be honest.

NfkDumpling Sat 09-May-20 13:42:12

We are shielding as DH’s medication is immunosuppressant. No, you didn’t mis-read the advice/rules. Living separately would be nigh on impossible in our house so I’m shielding along with DH. It makes life a lot easier as we can live normally as long as we both stay in. The letter said not to leave our home so no walks for us. No shopping either. Everything is delivered. And then washed in soapy water (and rinsed well!) as per instructions or left for 72 hours if it can’t be submerged. This mornings delivery from the green grocer is drying on the draining board as I type. No one has come into our house or back garden - except us.

However, seven weeks and with the R rate now less than one, we did drive to check on our little boat as we knew the boatyard is closed and we met no-one. And we did go a little way up the road last night to join the VE celebration. It felt really weird and a bit scary to be so close to other people - even though no one came closer than three metres!

With so much emphasis being put on the importance of getting out and exercising I am quite surprised that there hasn’t been a ruling that Shielders can drive to somewhere fairly isolated and maybe walk around a field. I live in hope!

Daddima Sat 09-May-20 13:46:35

From last night’s news...

CherryCezzy Sat 09-May-20 13:54:36

I have the letter too Meg's and it does give those instructions. It also states in my letter it is up to the individual whether s/he follows the instructions or not, as long as they still follow social distancing rules that are in place for everyone. I think, personally, if all members of the household are not coming into anyone at all outside that household, eg. leaving the confines to go to collect medications, then the more stringent aspects of making meals separately etc etc are not be necessary.

NfkDumpling Sat 09-May-20 13:55:18

The special privilege Rufus is getting on the government’s List of Highly Vulnerable. This means you can have a food box delivered once a week if you can’t get food from anywhere else. We had two when it first all kicked off and deliveries hadn’t got organised. It’s a bit random but you certainly wouldn’t starve. The main supermarkets have access to the government list and apparently we do get priority but it’s still difficult to get slots.

The Chosen Ones are those with a low immunity which means you’re more likely to need a hospital bed if you catch the virus. Especially if over 70 but it includes many other disabilities. The Letter was the scariest thing I’ve read in a long while! Basically DH had to act as if I was infected and he was incredibly likely to catch it if he came within six feet of me! Eat separately, sleep separately, use your own bathroom if possible and certainly all your own towels and kitchen utensils. Live separately. For twelve weeks! Hence I’m shielding as well!

Rufus2 Sat 09-May-20 13:57:15

The letter received by those who are shielded
Who, or what defines anyone as shielded in order to receive "The Letter"? Are there any penalties associated with breaking the Rules, similar to here in OZ? Not just a slap on the wrist either. I'm 75+, so the only way I'll be allowed out is in an ambulance or.. hmm
Good Health Everyone

NfkDumpling Sat 09-May-20 13:58:16

Bloomin’ ‘eck Daddima, they’re never all two metres apart!

The police came to check our little gathering last evening and we were all well apart and spaced out along the sides of the road to ensure we didn’t block the road for any cars (there was just the one).

Missedout Sat 09-May-20 13:59:29

I am also shielded. I have not gone outside the front gate since I had 'the letter’ (several letters and texts actually). My husband and I are both retired and over 70 and been married for 40+ years. We are actually both in good health (I manage my medication at home, it keeps me well) but my husband has chosen to isolate himself with me so doesn’t go out either, we were not prepared to socially isolate after so many years of being physically close.

The first letter was followed up by a second one from my immunologist explaining the 3 risk groups, 1 the Extremely vulnerable group, 2 Moderate risk group and 3 Group with risk equivalent to or only marginally higher than that of the general population. I was informed that groups 2 and 3 needed to follow the recommendations and restrictions for everyone but only patients in the group 1 category need to be shielded.

We rely on online shopping deliveries and some kind volunteers who collect our medicines from the chemist and leave them on the doorstep. We join in family WhatsApp groups, Facetime, Google Hangouts etc., I follow various fitness classes online and recently had a fitness bike delivered.

We have been out on our front drive to clap for the NHS on Thursdays and have spoken to our neighbours at a distance some half a dozen times since the start of lockdown. That's it.

I have been sticking to the rules but I can at least cuddle my husband. However, he is retired and can isolate with me. I feel so sorry if you are unable to do that and how much worse it must be for those on their own in poor conditions. I really don't know how they manage.

NfkDumpling Sat 09-May-20 14:10:57

Rufus The Letter was sent to those with compromised immunity. I believe it went on NHS and doctors records. In our case it’s DH’s medication which makes him more vulnerable. Not just being over 70 - that just adds to it! Severe diabetes too and rheumatoid arthritis plus the medication for it messes up the immunity, so that puts you on The List.

I don’t think there’s any penalties for breaking Shielding. The government have really bent over backwards to avoid any definite rules and leave as much as possible to discretion. But many are complaining about this as it leads to too much confusion. The alternative would be needing written permission to travel as in France - but that wouldn’t go down well either! An Act of Parliament was passed so the police can issue on the spot fines if people are sitting around in the sun as they’re only supposed to be out for exercise but around here they ‘advise’ more than anything. Sort of “Cummon, move along there now please”!

NfkDumpling Sat 09-May-20 14:16:38

I don’t know how Shielders living in flats with no outside space are coping. Or single people living at the end of a quiet cul-de-sac in a small bungalow. That trip to see our boat saved my sanity and we have a garden! We live fairly centrally in a market town and there’s a lot of people walking past all the time. It’s nice to feel we’re not the last people on earth but I am a bit envious. They get to walk and go to the shops. And they moan!!

MawB Sat 09-May-20 14:26:13

Listening to Esther Rantzen on Any Questions she made the point that what you describe NflkDumpling has been the way of life for many many elderly and infirm people for years. The loneliness suffered by many solitary old people has by and large, been, if not ignored, at least seen as no big deal.
How do people manage in flats or bungalows with no outside space? Or up steps which they cannot negotiate? Or if they are too unsteady on their feet to feel confident enough to leave their house?
They put up with it.
They have no alternative.

TrendyNannie6 Sat 09-May-20 14:27:13

I’ve had numerous texts and two letters , I have been completely shielding since 20 March, certainly not gone for walks, I wish! Kept in my house and garden, thankgod it’s a big house, using dif bathrooms to my husband, only seen people through windows, it’s very hard, but I’m not complaining! If this is what I have to do to keep safe then so be it,

Megs36 Sat 09-May-20 14:33:20

Thanks everyone for various opinions, I know Shielding is nothing to do with age, Everyone over70 should be STAYING HOME AND STAYING SAFE, my daughter in law just mid fifties is Shielded because she has had a kidney transplant and takes immunosuppressants, but is usually in excellent health and is isolated with her husband and daughter , so because my husband is also on the vulnerable list and shielded we can’t meet up with any of them. On the other hand my next door neighbour of 87 goes out shopping every week and seems to have people round occasionally.
We were offered the food parcel but have managed so far with previously well stocked freezer and online shopping, I have heard it’s very good and helpful.

suziewoozie Sat 09-May-20 14:39:08

Megs what I don’t understand from your OP is that if you are both living as shielded, then why you don’t sleep together etc. I thought that the advice on keeping separate was for a household with for example one shielded person living with a person not shielding eg going to work, going out shopping. I have a shielded friend and her partner has chosen to live as if he were also shielding so they share the bed, bathroom etc and live ‘normally’ inside. Other posters seem to be saying the same thing. Can anyone clarify please?

Elegran Sat 09-May-20 14:40:22

I am 81 and neither shielded nor, apparently, vulnerable. I have no chronic ill-health conditions (apart from a tendency to run out of puff rather fast) so I don't get any "special treatment" but I have no wish to get the virus, for my own benefit and because NHS staff are run off their feet even without looking after me. Also, I suspect my lack of puff could make me vulnerable to the effects of the virus on the lungs.

In the absence of any direct official advice to me, I am using my own common sense. I have not been further than the pillar box at the end of the road for six weeks. My exercise is walking around the ground floor rooms of my home for fifteen minutes a day, and doing some gardening. I have not gone to the shops, I take my chances getting delivery slots from supermarkets like anyone else.

I haven't seen my children or grandchildren face to face for six weeks, except for one occasion when my son collected a prescription for me and we talked six feet apart for a while.

I speak to a neighbour occasionally over the garden wall, and on Thursdays evenings I stand in my front garden and shout greetings to other neighbours. Each day I speak to someone or other, (or two, or maybe three) on the phone, either family, friend or one or more of the dozen people on my Covid-chat contact list.

I haven't found it too stressful - in fact it can be quite pleasant to have no deadlines, no consulting the diary to check that I haven't forgotten I have to be somewhere.

Without the internet, my horizons would be narrower - like those of some elderly neighbours who haven't caught up with technology, and rely on the unholy trinity of the official Boris line, yellow press sensationalism, and what the channel moguls have decided to show on TV.

suziewoozie Sat 09-May-20 14:49:32

Elegran over 70s even without underlying conditions are on the vulnerable list. I get a priority delivery slot with Waitrose based on my age. There is specific advice for the ‘clinically vulnerable’ category on the NHS website.

Elegran Sat 09-May-20 14:51:45

MawB When my son asked me how I was coping with not seeing anyone, I replied that I had had eight years of practice, since being widowed! That was rather an exaggeration, because I did see family and friends and I did go out and about, but it wasn't easy - sometimes in winter, when without a car I didn't want to brave bad weather and treacherous pavements, and my family had their own problems of distance and work, I could easily go two or three weeks without face-to-face contact. That hadn't occurred to him!

In fact, it was only around last Christmas that I instigated regular phone calls to/from each of my family, on specific days - and they each asked separately whether I had some health reason for doing so. No, not particularly - just a realisation that I was getting older and more alone.

MawB Sat 09-May-20 15:17:17

Elegran I could have written your posts! Only in my case it has only been 2 1/2 years and in the last 12 months I have made a conscious effort to try to do more on my own, if nobody else was free, and to say Yes wherever possible to invitations. I am lucky to be mobile, happy to drive, happy to get trains and undergrounds, able to afford outings and in good health.
Yet I can be desperately lonely.
There are so many who are older, frailer, less able to get out, and dependent on the goodwill of neighbours or friends.
And I fear we now know what is in store for our declining years. sad
I don’t want to sound “sour grapes” but some of the younger generation, moaning about lockdown or tearing their hair out in self isolation ain’t (as they say) “seen nothing yet”.

GabriellaG54 Sat 09-May-20 15:50:49

I honestly think that the washing, disinfection and/or 48-72hr leaving outside of bought/delivered goods is OTT but that's only my view, I wouldn't deride anyone else if that is their choice.
I'm happy just to wipe the tops of cans and bottles with a damp cloth, which I would do in any case.
I do sometimes wonder what percentage of the population actually do keep strictly to the orders/advice/guidelines set by Government.

GabriellaG54 Sat 09-May-20 16:00:08

It's plain that none of them, in your photo, are 2 metres apart.