Hertfordshire County Council says there are currently no plans to expand £500 self-isolation grants to specific people if they test positive for Covid-19.

In an effort to reduce the spiralling rates of infection in its area, Essex County Council announced a £3 million fund to ensure those who might not be covered by Government funding schemes can also be compensated for self-isolating.

Right now in Hertfordshire, residents who test positive for Covid-19 could be entitled to a £500 Test and Trace Support Payment scheme by the Government as they self-isolate.

However many residents may be ineligible for the Government payment, and the new fund introduced in Essex aims to help those neglected.

People may not qualify for Government support because, for instance, they are on zero hours contracts, self-employed and trading for less than one year or self-employed without access to support because of low trading returns.

And while Essex has taken action, a spokesperson from Hertfordshire County Council says the Health Protection Board is considering additional financial support, but no decisions have yet been made.

This means that while some in Hertfordshire may be entitled to the Government payment, those who do not qualify will not get similar financial support as seen in Essex.

The spokesperson said: “Given that we are currently in national lockdown and everyone should be at home by default, we do not think we need to make additional arrangements at present as far as self-isolating is concerned.

“Whether we make available additional financial support is on our list of options to consider as we work to emerge from lockdown. The Health Protection Board is considering this, but no decisions have yet been made.”

Despite this, the spokesperson repeated alternative support schemes set in place for those self-isolating.

Those eligible for the Government funded Test and Trace support can apply for a self-isolation grant at the Watford page here, and other areas in Hertfordshire here.

Residents can access HertsHelp for assistance with food, shopping and essentials during self-isolation, with the service providing:

• Volunteer support (including shopping, medication collection, befriending, dog walking) via the new Community Help Hertfordshire (CHH) service.

• Access to meals on wheels services through HILs for direct food provision.

• A broadened Crisis Intervention Service in which residents in crisis can access food, energy costs and other essentials for those who are in ongoing crisis or who have come into crisis as a result of COVID 19.

The county council is also supporting just under 25,000 children with free school meals.

During lockdown schools are working with HCL (Herts Catering Limited) who provide the majority of catering in Hertfordshire’s schools, or their own providers, to supply lunch packs to pupils who need them.