Cases have risen rapidly across our district since the end of the second Lockdown at the start of December. Worryingly, the impact of Christmas mixing is still to filter through into the figures.
The expectation is we will continue to see cases rise for the next 7 to 10 days. This will lead to further hospitalisations and inevitably deaths. This will add to the already significant pressure our NHS locally, and nationally, is under.
We cannot stress enough how serious the situation is and we ask you all to continue to play your part in encouraging our residents to stay at home and follow the rules and thank you for your efforts so far.
Infection rates are now reported daily on the Worcestershire County Council website and they are also broken down by local area. We will use this data to target communications in areas where we see cases remaining higher than elsewhere in the district.
Dr Kathryn Cobain, Director of Public Health for Worcestershire, has issued a message to the public encouraging them to play their part, which you can share on your own channels – Message from Dr Kathryn Cobain
Our Council Leader Cllr Bradley Thomas has also released a message which you can view here and are again encouraged to share and a video message has been prepared and will be released shortly on social media.
We are ramping up our communications on social media and signs are being printed to put around our parks and public spaces urging people to stay apart and limit the time they spend outdoors. Our sign is attached if you would like to use it locally in your area.
The Government has produced the attached poster which briefly explains the rules which again you are welcome to use on social media. Again, please put this up on noticeboards and around your local area.
Attached is a Covid-19 advice leaflet which we have produced and intend to distribute as soon as possible to as many households as we can. You are welcome to put this on any local websites or social media groups.
We will be using supermarkets to get the bulk of them out but would also like some delivered locally door to door.
We will be asking our voluntary sector, but you as our town and parish council colleagues to help.
Also, if you or your parish/town councillors are able and willing to deliver some of these door to door in your area, then please let Ian Dipple in the communications team know how many copies you will need and we will make arrangements.
Please point people towards www.wychavon.gov.uk/coronavirus for support and advice.
People in need of help
As always, if people need help accessing food or other essentials then please ask them to contact www.worcestershire.gov.uk/here2help. They will then direct them to support locally.
Impact on services
We are keeping our public toilets and playgrounds open in-line with government guidance. We intend to maintain key services, as we have done throughout this pandemic, and have plans in place to redeploy staff to support that ambition if needed.
Parking in all of our car parks is now free until further notice. On-street parking restrictions and time limits in waiting bays remain in place and will be enforced.
We are, for the time being, no longer offering face to face pre-booked appointments in our reception but remain available by email or phone.
Libraries are offering limited services and Household Recycling Centres remain open.
Use of village and community halls
The guidance on the use of village and community halls has been updated. While most must close there are a small number of activities, they can still be used for in a Covid-19 Secure way, this includes hosting blood donation sessions, as polling stations etc.
If you do not directly operate your town or village hall, then please pass this on to the relevant people.
Lateral flow testing – can you help?
Worcestershire public health is urgently looking for places to undertake rapid result Lateral Flow Testing of asymptomatic people.
In order for them to be able to do this they need your help. Please could you let them know if you have any indoor space available such as a community centre, village hall or sports hall, that could be used to support their extended testing programme. In order to enable their testing teams to use the indoor space you have it needs to:
- Have toilets
- Be accessible to wheelchair users
- Have heating
- Have parking or be near facilities where parking is available
- Be available for use until the end of March 2021
They can then discuss it with you and decide if the property is suitable. There would be no obligation to use it if you or your organisation did not want to once you know more details.
Please pass this on to any contacts you may have locally that could help.
The Covid-19 vaccine has begun to be given to people in this area in accordance with the nationally set priority list.
If you find people are asking you about when they may receive the vaccine, the message is that the NHS will contact people in priority groups when it is their turn to receive the vaccine and they should not contact their GP practice, or local hospital, directly asking for an appointment.
Below is a table setting out the order of prioritisation and a statement explaining how this has been reached.
Covid-19 vaccine scam
The police have made us aware of a scam relating to the vaccine.
People due to receive the vaccine have received a text messages, claiming to be from the NHS, telling them they need to complete a form for their first vaccine and providing a link to a very official looking site. They are then asked to fill in an official looking online form looks and after completing it, they are then asked for their bank details.
This is a scam, and a despicable one at that. In other versions of the scam people are being cold called and being asked to pay a charge for the vaccine.
You do not need to provide your bank details to receive the vaccine and there is no charge. The NHS will not ask you to send a text or push a button on a keypad to confirm you want the vaccine.