This section contains information on health and wellbeing related to coronavirus, including testing.
- Public Health England
- Online support and wellbeing community Qwell
- University resources for staff
Current government advice on novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is available at:
NHS advice provides guidance on the symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19), how to avoid catching or spreading it, and what to do if you are concerned.
What to do if you have symptoms
If you develop a high temperature, a new, continuous cough, or a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste, you may have SARS-CoV-2 infection (COVID-19).
If you have any of the above symptoms, then please:
- Access and follow the advice of your country's relevant health authority – in the UK, this is the NHS, which can provide up-to-date guidance through their online 111 service
- Call Addenbrooke’s Hospital Occupational Health on +44 (0)1223 216767 (8.30pm to 4.30pm Monday to Thursday), stating that you are a University/College staff member
- Inform your line manager immediately
- Stay at home and self-isolate until you receive further instructions from the Addenbrooke's Hospital Occupational Health or Infectious Diseases teams, in accordance with Public Health England (PHE) guidance
- See the advice on sick leave on the working arrangements page
- If you are a staff member living in College accommodation in Cambridge, notify your College's porters' lodge by phone. Your College will then be able to support you during your illness.
Testing staff for COVID-19
In partnership with Addenbrooke's Hospital, part of Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, from Wednesday 3 June onwards, we are offering a swab (PCR) test to all University of Cambridge and College staff with symptoms of possible SARS-CoV-2 infection (COVID-19).
At the moment, we are only able to offer tests to University/College staff. Family and household members with symptoms of possible SARS-CoV-2 infection may request a test using the NHS website.
If you prefer, you may request a PCR test for SARS-CoV-2 using the NHS website. Please do not request more than one test. If you use our dedicated testing service, you may receive your result quicker and be offered the opportunity to take part in further research studies.
When you call Addenbrooke's Hospital Occupational Health (8.30pm to 4.30pm Monday to Thursday), a nurse will discuss your symptoms and, in most cases, book you a PCR (swab) test for SARS-CoV-2. These tests currently take place Monday to Thursday in a dedicated area at Addenbrooke's Hospital, which is only accessible by car. You will be asked to show your University Card before the swab is taken.
If you develop symptoms Friday to Sunday, please request a test using the NHS website.
Access to Addenbrookes
Availability and access will be kept under review, and a walk-in facility in central Cambridge will be opening soon. In the meantime, if you do not have access to a car, please request a test at an alternative location using the NHS website.
The test involves taking a swab from your nose and throat.
If your test is positive, you will be called by the Infectious Diseases team from Addenbrooke's Hospital. If your test is negative, you will receive an email or text message from Addenbrooke's Hospital Occupational Health. Please continue to self-isolate until you receive your result, which will be available within 48 hours of the test.
The PCR (swab) test we use was developed in collaboration with the Public Health England laboratory at Addenbrooke's Hospital, and all results are integrated with the hospital system and reported to PHE. We have already tested more than 5,000 Addenbrooke's Hospital staff with and without symptoms.
This type of test (antigen) checks whether you have COVID-19 at the time the swab is taken. There is another type of test (for SARS-CoV-2 antibodies) which checks whether you have previously been exposed to the virus. We do not offer that type of test, which is not yet widely available.
Since the outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19), many of us will be deeply anxious about our health, both physical and mental, and that of our loved ones. Ensuring our wellbeing during this time of prolonged isolation and strain is paramount. The University is doing, and will continue to do, all it can to support members of the University collegiate community during this time. The resources below offer advice and support.
Public Health England
New Online Support and Wellbeing Community – Qwell
Adults who live in Cambridge are now eligible to join Qwell – an online wellbeing platform launched this month by MIND. Qwell provides free and confidential chat-based counselling from qualified and BACP registered counsellors, between 12noon and 10pm on weekdays and between 6pm and 10pm on weekends.
Alongside counselling services which can be accessed via instant chat or messaging, Qwell also provides online community forums and self-help materials for exploring emotions, mental health and wellbeing. This government-funded online service is not intended to be a replacement for face to face counselling, but it does provide an alternative for those unable to access face-to-face counselling services, especially at this time.
How to join
- To register for the service:
- Visit MIND
- Select ‘JOIN QWELL’
- Fill in the online registration form using your University email address
- Select 'Cambridgeshire and Peterborough MIND' as the place you live
University resources for staff
- Staff Wellbeing website
- The University Staff Counselling Service ― useful resources and details of alternative services are also available on its website. The Staff Counselling Centre is offering emergency support sessions to frontline staff at Addenbrookes who have a University contract of employment. A dedicated referral system is now live on the Centre’s website.
- The University’s Occupational Health Service website ― for general advice on health and wellbeing at work
- For links to all support services within the University see internal sources of support.
Homeworking over a sustained period of time can lead to feelings of isolation. Staff and manager quick reference guides are available at the links below, with a particular focus on fostering relationships and wellbeing remotely.
- Working Remotely as an Individual
- Managing Remote Teams
- Choosing the best online communications tool
For those staff with children, the Government has announced a number of national packages to promote online learning as well as child and parent wellbeing.
- How to support children’s wellbeing and learning at home
- Oak National Academy ―A new government funded organisation, chaired by Cambridge graduate Ian Bauckham CBE, which offers 180 video lessons each week covering every year group from Reception through to Year 10.
- Online Educational Resources
- BBC Bitesize
Cambridge University Press have also published free online learning resources for school children and tips and advice on wellbeing.