Coronavirus (Covid-19) FAQs

Alert Card

Q – I am a volunteer, can I apply for an Alert Card?

A – I’m afraid Carers Alert Cards are only for unpaid carers only.

If you are volunteering then please speak to the organisation for which you are volunteering and they will be able to provide you with a letter or card confirming the work you are doing.


Services – shopping/delivery


As a carer I have been advised that I cannot go to the supermarket during the first hour of opening dedicated to key workers

Many supermarkets have set aside specific times for NHS workers.  Some supermarkets have also extended this to vulnerable shoppers but unfortunately this does not include carers undertaking shopping for the person they care for. The opening times varies between supermarkets, please check directly with them.

For local businesses offering grocery, ready-made meal delivery/collection and other support services visit:


I have tried to book a timed slot for an online grocery delivery but can’t get one

Demand for online shopping has increased substantially since the government’s advice on social isolating. Supermarkets are working hard to free up more delivery slots. Supermarkets including Waitrose and Sainsburys will receive a government database of England’s most vulnerable people and will start contacting people who are registered with them online to offer them a delivery slot. It is hoped that other supermarkets will follow suit.

For local businesses offering grocery, ready-made meal delivery/collection and other support services visit:


I am self-isolating/shielding and I have no family to collect my essential items, who will do this?

There are many community initiatives and businesses that are offering help during this time.  For local businesses offering grocery, ready-made meal delivery/collection and other support services visit:

Devon County Council are offering support for extremely vulnerable people and those who are shielding where you will be able to register for additional support for getting food, basic needs and prescriptions delivered. Visit

The NHS are writing to those who have a medical condition which makes them extremely vulnerable to coronavirus (COVID-19). If you or your cared for have been identified as being at high risk or you think you have a medical condition that places you at high risk, you can register for help on the government website: or phone their dedicated Helpline on 0800 028 8327.


I want to register for online shopping and I have a shielding letter how do I ensure I can get access to priority delivery slots?

Individual supermarkets are doing this in different ways and so we are unable to provide specific advice, however each supermarket has an FAQ section on it’s website. If registering for the first time for deliveries with a supermarket we would suggest using the clinically extremely vulnerable persons details so that it can be easily matched with the NHS shielding list.


I am worried about the person I care for


I care for my parent who lives a few miles away. I am concerned the new regulations, may prohibit me visiting.

From Carers UK. “The government’s guidance regarding social distancing measures does not specify that a form of proof is required if travelling to provide essential care for somebody vulnerable. 

However, if you would feel more comfortable, you could carry a form of ID to prove your role, such as a Carer’s Allowance letter, Carers card, GP/local authority documentation about your caring role, an NHS shielding letter or the blue badge of the person you care for.”

If you do not already hold a Devon Carers Alert Card, please consider applying for one now. For more information visit To apply for a card, phone our Helpline 03456 434 435 or chat online during office hours on our ‘Ask’ button on our website


What happens to my cared for person, if I become ill?

We are asking everyone right now to consider putting together a plan. We have produced the ‘What if…’ Emergency Plan. An emergency plan is a record that needs to contain basic, useful information to help others when looking after the person (or persons) you care for.  For some, particularly those who are caring for people with severe or complex needs, the plan may include pre-arranged support from statutory or private agencies.

To find out more and download your plan visit:

If you think that you have contracted the virus, Devon County Council  will do all they can to ensure that you and the person you care for receive the care you need to stay safe and as well as possible. Please call Devon County Council Care Direct on 0345 1551 007.


What happens if the person I care for becomes ill?

Similarly, if you think that the person you care for has contracted the virus, Devon County Council will do all they can to ensure that you and the person you care for, receive the care you need to stay safe and as well as possible. Please call Devon County Council Care Direct on 0345 1551 007.


I am a carer and I am concerned


I feel extremely anxious as a carer how can I get support now for me?

We understand this is a very unsettling and worrying time.  We have produced an information sheet that may help you:

Have you considered sharing your concerns with other carers who may be feeling the same way as you? We have a peer support team who can help put you in touch with other carers. For more information to help you during this time visit:


Should I not be going out for food and medication because I care for a vulnerable person?

We understand that this is a difficult and uncertain time, particularly when you’re responsible for the welfare of others. Where possible, ask family and friends to pick up your items and deliver these to you in a safe manner.  Whilst this may not be possible for everyone, you should try and minimise the risk to yourself and the person you care for.

The Government’s advice is to follow their social distancing guidelines for anyone caring for vulnerable people. Social distancing measures are steps you can take to reduce social interaction between people, for more information visit:


Can I exercise more than once a day if I need to due to a significant health condition?

You can leave your home for medical a need. If you (or a person in your care) have a specific health condition that requires you to leave the home to maintain your health – including if that involves travel beyond your local area – then you can do so. This could, for example, include where individuals with learning disabilities or autism require specific exercise in an open space two or three times each day – ideally in line with a care plan agreed with a medical professional.

Even in such cases, in order to reduce the spread of infection and protect those exercising, travel outside of the home should be limited, as close to your local area as possible, and you should remain at least 2 metres apart from anyone who is not a member of your household or a carer at all times. For more information visit:


I believe I am clinically extremely vulnerable but I have not received a shielding letter from the NHS. What should I do?

The following guidance is from the NHS England site “Most people who are within the highest clinical risk group will have a letter from the NHS. However, we know that central records do not capture everybody in this group. GPs and hospital clinicians have been asked to help identify and contact additional people who meet the clinical criteria, but who have not been picked up through the initial central process for any reason. It may take time for letters to reach patients identified by their GPs and hospital clinicians, and for those individuals to then be recognised on the Government support website. If you think you should be considered as highest clinical risk, you should contact your clinician to discuss this with them.”


I have a hearing impairment – what support can I receive from you?


You can contact our helpline using the ‘ask’ webchat facility on the homepage of our website – available 8am-6pm Mon-Fri and 9am-1pm Saturday (closed bank holidays) or email us We can support you in your caring role by sign posting you to relevant organisations, offering you a Carers Assessment which will focus on your caring role and how it impacts on you, offering peer support with other hearing impaired carers, plus access to our other services.

Our website is a good source of up to date information on caring and community support available during the COVID-19 pandemic.  You can also join our online carer community, The Pod, where you can chat online with other carers as well as professionals.

The need for health and social care staff to wear PPE including face masks has impacted on lip readers and there are various apps available to help you. Transcribe Live is a downloadable accessibility app designed for the Deaf and hard of hearing using automatic speech recognition technology performing real-time transcription of speech and sound to text on your mobile of tablet screen, download it on Google Play or App Store.

For further help with regards to help during COVID-19 visit the following websites:

Action for Hearing Loss has a special section for more information on help and support during COVID-19

Living Options Devon have an excellent section on their website to answer your questions during COVID-19

Sign Health the deaf health charity provide the latest information in British Sign Language

If you need to contact Devon County Council you can use the Interpreters Live Service


I am a paid carer (care worker)


Can Devon Carers provide me with something to demonstrate my status as a critical worker?

Unfortunately our services are only for unpaid carers only. Devon County Council has published guidance for health and social care providers in Devon on their website.

You will find the information in the ‘Workforce Development’, ‘Support for care works – ID and parking’ section, as well as lots of other useful information.


For further advice on questions from carers about looking after themselves and the people they care for during Coronavirus visit:

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