Certain groups of people in Middlesbrough are more at risk from COVID-19.

This could be because of their age, an existing health condition (including obesity), their ethnicity, or even the type of job they have.

The four main risk factors to consider when thinking about people who are directly or indirectly at greater risk are set out below. People may be vulnerable in one or more of the categories.

People are at increased risk of catching and passing on the virus as a result of their circumstances if they:

  • are clinically vulnerable
  • are homeless
  • are sex workers
  • are addicted to drugs
  • live in shared or overcrowded accommodation
  • are unable to work from home
  • work in a job that makes it difficult to socially-distance
  • struggle to socially-distance for financial, social, or psychological reasons

People have a higher risk of severe symptoms or dying from COVID-19 if they:

  • are older,
  • have an existing health condition, such as obesity, or
  • are from a Black and Asian minority ethic (BAME) group

People may find it more difficult to get the advice, care and support they need if they:

  • are older
  • have a disability
  • experience mental health issues, or
  • do not speak English as their first language

Some people are more likely to have problems as a result of COVID-19, though they may not have had it themselves. This could be anyone whose economic, social, physical, or mental wellbeing has been made worse by restrictions.

In our outbreak planning we will focus in particular on:

  • BAME communities
  • those with multiple risk factors
  • those experiencing mental health issues
  • those with substance misuse issues

Supporting vulnerable people

In an outbreak, we will support vulnerable people through our Help Boro Hub. This was set up during the pandemic and is still operational.

The Help Boro helpline will provide advice and support vulnerable people who have no family or friends to help them.

This includes:

  • advising on priority shopping slots at major supermarkets
  • providing food parcels in emergencies
  • finding a local volunteer to help, e.g. to collect prescriptions
  • making referrals for those requiring mental health support

All people identified for testing or shielding will be told about the support we can provide.

In a major outbreak, we can scale up Help Boro to assist up to 200 local people a day.

Alongside this we will work with VCS and community groups who work with specific vulnerable groups to support them to stay safe.

Helping to keep people safe

Some individuals or groups may find it harder to follow instructions in the event of a local outbreak.

We are researching the reasons that can stop people from isolating at home.

The system of support for vulnerable people could be updated in real time as we understand more about the barriers. This would help more people to follow any instructions during an outbreak and help to stop the spread.

Where there are financial reasons for people not isolating – due to loss of earnings, for example – there needs to be emergency help in place.

Care homes and schools
High risk locations
Test and trace