About COVID-19 (coronavirus)

COVID-19 (also called coronavirus) is a kind of virus that causes disease of the respiratory system. The virus can be passed from person to person.

There are three most common symptoms:

  • a new continuous cough
  • a high temperature
  • a loss of, or change in, sense of taste or smell

Lockdown has started to ease. You can now meet outdoors either in a group of 6 (from any number of households), or in a group of any size from up to 2 households (a household can include an existing support bubble, if eligible). Check the latest rules to see what’s allowed. You can also see the government’s full plan for completely ending restrictions later in the year.

To protect yourself and others, it’s essential that you keep following the rules when you leave home.

Wash your hands

Wash your hands frequently, for at least 20 seconds, when you’re away from your home – including before and after using public transport, and before and after eating food.

Cover your face

Wearing a face covering (unless you’re exempt). This includes in public places and on public transport. View the government’s list of places you must wear a face covering.

Keep your distance

Stay 2m away from anyone not in your household. If 2m is not possible, try and keep as far away as you can.

Do not forget, the 2m rule applies to anyone who is not part of your household. This means people you don’t know, and staff members in supermarkets etc.

If you’re worried about a business not following social distancing rules, please email ehts@middlesbrough.gov.uk with details.

If someone is breaking coronavirus restrictions, you can report it to Cleveland Police online. Alternatively, you can call 101.

Restrictions have now been lifted. But everyone must still be cautious and help prevent the spread of the virus. Check the current guidance for staying safe.

There are steps you can take to protect yourself – and importantly others – from COVID-19.

When you leave home you must:

  • wash hands – keep washing your hands regularly
  • cover face – wear a face covering over your nose and mouth in enclosed spaces
  • make space – stay 2m away from anyone not in your household or ‘bubble’, and meet in groups of 6 or less if you’re out with people you do not live with

If you’re feeling unwell, get a test and do not leave home for at least 10 days. This is called ‘self isolation’.

You can book a COVID-19 test online or by calling 119.

COVID-19 is more likely to spread in certain settings (places).

The risk depends on how vulnerable the people who spend time there are, how much they can protect themselves, and what support is available.

Find out more about high risk settings.

COVID-19 Test and Trace

If you have any symptoms of COVID-19, you can book a test online or by calling 119.

Testing is available for people who have symptoms (symptomatic) and for those who have no symptoms (asymptomatic).

Symptomatic testing is provided at three types of test site on behalf of the Department of Health and Social Care:

  • Regional Test Site: The site is located at Cannon Park on Newport Road
  • Mobile Testing Units: Currently at Cargo Fleet Lane and Hemlington
  • Local Testing Sites: At the Pallister Park car park.

Symptomatic tests can be booked online or by calling 119. The LTSs are walk-through facilities.

In addition to the above sites, anyone with symptoms can order a home test kit online or by calling 119.

From April 2021, everyone in England has been encouraged to take part in regular testing designed to find positive cases among people without symptoms.

In Middlesbrough, assisted LFD testing for people without symptoms can be accessed at Newport Community Hub.

LFD home kits can also be ordered online or dialling 119 for home delivery.

The Council’s contact tracing role has developed considerably throughout the course of the pandemic.

In March 2021, the Council joined the ‘Local-0’ pilot.

This means the Council’s contact tracing team is responsible for contacting all those who test positive as soon as they are recorded on the national system.

The team can provide advice and support on isolation. They also gather information that can help stop the spread of infection.

COVID-19 outbreaks

An outbreak can be broadly defined as two or more people with COVID-19 linked to the same time or place, or if cases in an area or setting spike.

It would depend on the type of outbreak. The Council would work closely with Public Health England.

Cases of COVID-19 would be identified, along with their contacts. They would be told to isolate and/or seek treatment to contain and reduce the spread of infection.

Outbreak management also involves supporting affected people, families, and the wider population. This is designed to reduce or prevent any additional harm.

Local Area Outbreak Plan

Our Local Outbreak Control Plan is designed to stop outbreaks of COVID-19 in Middlesbrough, or keep them to a minimum.

In the event of an outbreak, the plan aims to minimise the number of new or secondary cases of COVID-19.

The plan also aims to make sure the right support is in place for everyone who needs it should they be affected by an outbreak.

All councils are required by government to have a local plan in place to respond to COVID-19.

The Local Outbreak Control Plan aims to protect everyone in Middlesbrough. We want to stop the infection being passed on. This will save lives and jobs

We will support your business and provide advice in the event of an outbreak in one of your settings. Information on support available to local businesses is available on the business support section of Middlesbrough Council website.

We’re working with Public Health England to prevent outbreaks in schools. Find out more about how we would respond to an outbreak in a school.

When someone tests positive for COVID-19, the NHS Test and Trace service is notified.

There are three tiers of contact tracing:

Tier 3

National contact tracers who will make initial contact and provide advice to those testing positive, and those they have been in contact with.

Tier 2

More complex than tier 3, such as an outbreak in a community setting that requires an additional risk assessment and support by trained healthcare professionals.

Tier 1

A complex outbreak that occurs within a setting such as a school or care home. Local Health Protection Teams will work with local partners to contain and undertake contact tracing.

An outbreak will be declared by the Health Protection Board when required, in keeping with the national guidance and in the context of local situational awareness.

Nationally £300million has been allocated for local authorities to support the additional public health capacity required to develop and implement the plans. Middlesbrough Council’s share of the Local Authority Test and Trace Service Support Grant Determination is approximately £1.6m.

Groups and boards

Public Health England (PHE) aims to protect and improve the nation’s health and wellbeing, and reduce health inequalities.

PHE is responsible for:

  • making the public healthier and reducing differences between the health of different groups by promoting healthier lifestyles, advising government and supporting action by local government, the NHS and the public;
  • protecting the nation from public health hazards;
  • preparing for and responding to public health emergencies;
  • improving the health of the whole population by sharing our information and expertise, and identifying and preparing for future public health challenges;
  • supporting local authorities and the NHS to plan and provide health and social care services such as immunisation and screening programmes, and to develop the public health system and its specialist workforce;
  • researching, collecting and analysing data to improve our understanding of public health challenges, and come up with answers to public health problems.

Find out more about Public Health England.

The Local Resilience Forum for Middlesbrough is the Cleveland Emergency Planning Unit (CEPU).

CEPU provides an emergency planning service to Middlesbrough, Hartlepool, Redcar and Cleveland, and Stockton Councils.

Its role is to ensure the local authorities are prepared to respond to emergencies, and to support the emergency services and the community.

The COVID-19 Health Protection Board is responsible for the development and delivery of the Local Outbreak Management Plan. The group provides advice and is accountable to the Strategic Coordination Group.

The Board is chaired by Mark Adams, Director of Public Health (Public Health South Tees), and includes representatives from:

  • Middlesbrough Council
  • NHS England
  • Public Health South Tees
  • South Tees Acute NHS FT
  • Tees, Esk, and Wear Valley NHS MH Foundation Trust
  • Tees Valley Clinical Commissioning Group

The Strategic Co-ordination Group is the decision making body, responsible for deployment of resources across agencies to reduce the spread of the virus resulting from an outbreak. They consider advice from the Health Protection Board on the identification and management of infection.

The Group is chaired by Tony Parkinson, Chief Executive of Middlesbrough Council, and includes representatives from:

  • Cleveland Fire Brigade
  • Cleveland Police
  • MFC Foundation
  • South Tees NHS Foundation Trust
  • Tees Esk, and Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust
  • Teesside University
  • Tees Valley Clinical Commissioning Group
  • Thirteen

The Local Outbreak Control Board provides community leadership in the delivery of the Communication Strategy. The Board is chaired by Andy Preston, Mayor of Middlesbrough, and includes:

  • Andy McDonald MP
  • Barry Coppinger – Police and Crime Commissioner
  • Ben Houchen – Tees Valley Mayor
  • Simon Clarke MP