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6th April 2020

Latest advice on COVID-19

The latest information from the government, issued today, can be found here.

Members in Scotland can find the latest information here.

Members in Wales can find the latest information here.

People in the extremely vulnerable category, which covers CLL diagnosed patients, are asked to register here.

Latest advice for CLL patients from CLL doctors can be found here. Please note that this advice is specifically for CLL patients and may differ from Government advice for the general public

We now advise that you stay at home for the next 12 weeks. This is because the coronavirus can have more serious effects on people with a weakened immune system. If you have CLL you have a weakened immune system.

If you develop cold/flu-like symptoms, you should follow the government guidance and, in addition, contact your haematology team so they are aware. If symptoms progress and you feel you need medical advice, we suggest contacting your haematology team first. All centres should now have systems in place to triage COVID19 suspected cases on arrival, regardless of whether you are in the vulnerable group or not. It is important not to go to GP surgeries/hospitals.

If you look after or live with someone who has blood cancer

If you look after or live with someone who has CLL/SLL, you should also consider staying at home for the next 12 weeks.

Coping with social distancing – what you can do

These measures are severe, but they are necessary to keep everyone as safe as possible, and to help the NHS cope with the cases that do happen.

It can feel like we have no control during this time, but there are things we can do to make it easier and help ourselves to cope better:

Practical things:

• Keep following the advice to regularly wash your hands thoroughly (for 20 seconds) with soap and water, or use a hand sanitiser, especially if you’ve just got home, are about to eat, or have just coughed or sneezed.
• Continue to avoid touching your face with your hands.
• Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces in the home.
• Think about the things you need (food, medicines) and contact people who can help with this (family, healthcare team)
• Tell your neighbours about your situation – they may be able to help with getting food or supplies to you
• Look into local charities or local groups in your community that are offering help to people staying at home
• If you are worried about getting supplies for home and don’t have anyone nearby that can help, contact your local council.
• You should not allow visitors into your home. Deliveries should be left at your door and collected when the delivery person has left. Remember to wash your hands for 20 seconds after collecting and handling the delivery

Looking after your mental health

• Spend time doing things you enjoy like reading, cooking or other indoor hobbies
• Eat healthy, well-balanced meals and drink enough water
• Keep active – exercise outside is OK if you are 2 meters away from other people.
• Look for ideas of exercises you can do at home on the NHS website.
• Open your windows for fresh air, get some natural sunlight or use your garden if you have one. You can also go for a walk outdoors if you stay more than 2 metres from others.
• Stay in touch with family and friends by phone, online or by post. Tell them that you want to be in touch during this time.

If you think you might have been exposed to the virus, you should follow the same instructions as those for the general public & phone NHS 111. Make sure you tell the person you speak to about your CLL & treatment. If on chemotherapy you should also phone your normal chemotherapy helpline so they are aware.

The main action you can take is to reduce your exposure risk. It is safer for people with reduced immunity to avoid hospitals & GP surgeries as far as possible. Doctors are therefore looking at clinic lists to see if people could have a telephone consultation instead. You will be notified if there are any changes to your hospital appointments.

Treatment; chemotherapy & immunotherapy- After discussion with you, your consultant may recommend deferring or delaying treatment if they feel it is in your best interest. Please do not stop any treatment for CLL without discussing this with your consultant or a member of their team first.

We want to reassure you that doctors & nurses are doing all they can to ensure that they can continue your care & treatment safely. If you have specific questions about your treatment or hospital appointments please get in touch with your local team.

For the latest NHS information on COVID-19 click here. To learn more about the advice for the NHS organisations, click here.