Together we’re better update.

This week has seen the news about some new measures that are coming into force, the main points made are:

• Schools and colleges will remain open and businesses can stay open in a “COVID compliant way”
• The advice is now to work from home if you can, despite advice earlier in this month to go back to the workplace
• Pubs in England now have a 10pm curfew in place, and table service is required
• Staff in the hospitality and retail sectors will now need to wear face coverings, as well as passengers travelling in taxis
• The exemptions to the “rule of six” will be cut down.
For example, people doing indoor team sports will now not be allowed
• The maximum number of guests at weddings now reduces from 30 to 15, but 30 mourners are still permitted at a funeral
• The £10,000 fines imposed on those who don’t quarantine will now be applied to businesses
• The penalty for failing to wear a mask or breaking the rule of six will double to £200 for a first offence
• Those who shielded earlier this year do not need to shield, except in local lockdown areas
• Plans to allow fans to watch sport live from the 1 October has now been delayed.

You can see the full statement on the government’s website here

Childcare during COVID-19
Childcare is to be exempt from interhousehold mixing restrictions in local areas of intervention and informal childcare and caring arrangements will be allowed to continue across the nation following an announcement on 21 September.
Informal carers will be able to provide care for children and vulnerable adults in parts of the country with restrictions on inter-household mixing.
Children under 14 will be able to be cared for by individuals outside of their immediate household as part of a care bubble.
Arrangements must be part of a consistent childcare relationship. You can see the full announcement here.

Protect your loved ones. Download the app

The new NHS COVID-19 app, now available to download for free in England and Wales, is the fastest way to see if you’re at risk from coronavirus. The faster you know, the quicker you can alert and protect your loved ones and community. The app has a number of tools to protect you, including contact tracing, local area alerts and venue check-in. It uses proven technology from Apple and Google, designed to protect every user’s privacy. You can find out more here.

Local testing
Local test centre pilots, put in place to help residents who have symptoms of coronavirus get access to testing, were extended in Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire this week.

The community testing centres had been set up following a national shortage of capacity and are in addition to regional and mobile test centres. They are being run by Stoke-on-Trent City Council, Staffordshire County Council and a number of health partners to provide a local solution for those who are unable to get a test. It also follows confirmation that five people tested positive for coronavirus on day one of the pilot at Fenton Manor Sports Complex on Monday 14 September.

In Stoke-on-Trent, the centre was housed at Fenton Manor Sports Complex on Monday and Tuesday this week (21 and 22 September). Testing then moved to Burton on Wednesday and Thursday and has moved to Stafford today (Friday 25 September).

An update on the COVID-19 position in some of our local areas is below:
People in Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent are being advised on travel to and from “lockdown” areas, as more restrictions came into place on Tuesday 22 September.

Neighbouring Wolverhampton, joins Birmingham, Sandwell and Solihull on a growing list of towns and cities being placed under measures. Lancashire (apart from Blackpool) and Liverpool also join the list.
Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent residents can travel to these areas for work, school, shopping or leisure activities. However, residents are not allowed to visit homes in these areas unless this is for work, or the household is part of your support bubble.
Likewise, if you live in any of the affected areas you can travel to Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent, but you must not meet socially with county residents in their homes or gardens, unless they are in your single support bubble. Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent are not currently affected by the Government’s latest COVID-19 restrictions.

Full details of the guidance for the West Midlands can be found here.

Flu Vaccinations
Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent are gearing up for the biggest flu vaccination programme ever.
This winter’s programme has only one priority – to keep everyone safe.

The programme will be carried out at GP practices and other venues across the area and anyone eligible will shortly be sent an invitation by letter or text message.
The appointments are COVID-19 safe and will be different from past years in a number of ways.
You will be asked to follow the Flu-Vaccine Code:
• If you have a letter, bring it to the appointment – it may carry a bar code that makes admin easier and quicker
• Wear a face covering
• You may have your temperature checked at the door
• Follow the markings on the floor and keep 2 metres apart
• Wear short sleeves and bare the shoulder you wish to have injected once you are inside
• Once you have been protected from flu leave by a separate entrance
Most patients should be inside the building for around two minutes.

To find out what to expect when you go for a flu jab you can follow the link and watch a video by the team at Stafford’s Holmcroft Surgery which gives a preview of what their flu clinic will look like.
Due to the risk of flu developing into more serious respiratory problems, there’s never been a more important year, for people who are eligible, to get their flu vaccination especially as those most at risk from flu are also most at risk from COVID-19.

More people than ever before are entitled to a free NHS vaccination including:
• People who are on the shielded patient list and members of their household.
• Those with pre-existing conditions including at-risk under 2s.
• All school children in years 1 – 7.
• People aged over 65.
• Pregnant women.
• People aged 50 to 64 will also be invited later in the season for a vaccination.

It is a well-known fact that smoking has an adverse effect on breathing, circulation, heart and lung health, appearance and energy levels – not to mention your bank balance, with the average smoker spending £4,000 a year on their habit
Since the beginning of the Coronavirus pandemic over 1 million people have stopped smoking.

After just 72 hours of stopping smoking your lungs will start to clear, breathing becomes easier and your energy levels will increase. Longer term you’ll reduce your risk of smoking related cancers, respiratory infections and heart disease.

Everyone Health is a free stop smoking service for those 40+ and living in Staffordshire (not including Stoke-on-Trent).

Everyone Health is
designed to help you not just give up in the short term, but to quit smoking for good. A team of specially-trained experts provide lots of help and support.

To book your first appointment and for more information you can telephone 03330 050095, text QUIT to 60777 or visit: Other useful stop smoking apps can be found by following the link.
For a similar service in Stoke-on-Trent please contact The Living Well Hub on telephone number 08000 850928 or go to the website for further information.

• Public Health England has updated its coronavirus guidance in light of changes to the government’s advice and continue to ensure guidance for the public is timely and up to date.

All guidance for members of the public, as well as for people in clinical and non-clinical settings, is published and updated regularly on the GOV.UK collection page.

For the latest information on coronavirus, please visit the NHS and government websites

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