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About COVID-19

Please find the latest information for students, staff and Fellows about coronavirus and how St Catharine’s College is responding to help limit the spread of infections. If you have any concerns not covered by our available FAQs, please contact covid19@caths.cam.ac.uk.

What is coronavirus or COVID-19?

A coronavirus is a type of virus. As a group, coronaviruses are common throughout the world.

Novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is a new strain of coronavirus, first identified in Wuhan City, China in December 2019.

How can I protect myself?

The latest government guidance requires us all to help protect ourselves and others by: 

  • Meeting outside, or open windows and doors for indoor visitors
  • If you think you have symptoms, staying at home and taking a PCR test
  • Wearing face coverings in crowded places and on public transport
  • Checking in to venues when you go out
  • Washing your hands with soap regularly, and for at least 20 seconds
  • Getting vaccinated

What are the symptoms?

The main symptoms of coronavirus are:

  • a high temperature – this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)
  • a 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)
  • a 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

For most people, COVID-19 will be a mild illness and they may have at least one of these symptoms.

Check the NHS website if you have symptoms.

What should I do if I start to feel unwell?

If you experience the above symptoms, you need to self-isolate for at least 10 days from when your symptoms started.

  • Stay at home: You do not need to call NHS 111 to go into self-isolation. Do not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital.
  • Get a test to check if you have coronavirus as soon as possible: Free testing should be booked through the University's online form for all students and employees (use the drop down menu to select 'Staff member or student of the University of Cambridge'), but NHS testing is also available (out of hours). As part of the University's testing service, swabs are sent to the lab the same day and results are reported a further 48 hours later – please do not phone or email for your results (in one week in September, the service received in excess of 3,000 calls and emails, which causes delays in the system).

You can keep up-to-date with the latest medical advice online at https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/

Immediate action and contact details if you feel unwell:

Students in College

Residential Fellows
Please stay in your room. Contact covid19@caths.cam.ac.uk so that the College can ensure you receive appropriate support. You can keep up-to-date with the latest medical advice online from your room and, in case of emergency, let the Porters know if you need to call an ambulance and dial 999. Complete the University's monitoring form to support contact tracing.

Other Fellows
Do not leave your home, have visitors or visit College. Contact the HR team by telephone and/or email (hr.manager@caths.cam.ac.uk / 01223 768715) so that the College knows you are unwell and self-isolating. Please complete the University's monitoring form to support contact tracing.

Staff
Do not leave your home, have visitors or visit College. Let the College know in line with our Absence Reporting and Sick Pay Policy (2019), referring the following guidance that has been developed to reflect circumstances specific to COVID-19:

In addition, please complete the University's monitoring form to support contact tracing.

What should I do if I live in a household with a person who has symptoms of COVID-19 or has tested positive?

From 16 August, the steps you need to take depend on your personal circumstances. Please refer to our guidance on self-isolation for students, staff or Fellows

What should I do if I have been in close contact with someone outside of my household who is experiencing symptoms and/or has tested positive for COVID-19?

From 16 August, the steps you need to take depend on your personal circumstances. Please refer to our guidance on self-isolation for students, staff or Fellows

What should I do if I think I'm at increased susceptibility to infectious diseases and/or have disabilities/impairments that are impacted by COVID-19 related social distancing measures?

St Catharine’s College, as part of the University of Cambridge, is committed to supporting everyone in our community in the coming academic year, including those with concerns about increased susceptibility to infectious diseases such as COVID-19 and also those with disabilities/impairments that are impacted by COVID-19 related social distancing measures.

Different people are affected to a greater or lesser degree by infectious diseases like COVID-19. According to the recently published UK Government report, Disparities in the Risks and Outcomes of COVID-19, the most influential factors affecting the severity of COVID-19 are age and the presence of specific underlying pre-existing illnesses. Susceptibility and outcomes of COVID-19 illness are also affected, to a lesser degree, by other factors including ethnicity and occupation.

Age is by far the biggest influence on a person’s susceptibility to more serious COVID-19 related illness – indeed the chances of COVID-19 related death are 70 times greater for those older than 80 compared to those younger than 40 years of age. Nevertheless, younger people may still have increased susceptibility because of underlying illnesses.

The College has been working to identify and support any students, staff and Fellows at increased susceptibility to more serious COVID-19 illness and/or affected disabilities/impairments. If you have not let us know about your concerns, please use the contact details as soon as possible. 

If in doubt, please always ask for advice and call NHS111 if necessary.