Together we’re better update
There have been significant developments this week regarding coronavirus. As of this week, anyone with symptoms in the UK over the age of five can now be tested. You can book an appointment for a test by visiting the NHS website, here. Another highlight this week, is the announcement that people living in England and Wales, who do not have access to the internet, can book an appointment by calling the newly established booking number, 119.
Of course, a big focus this week has been an addition to the official coronavirus symptoms. Anyone in the UK can now request a test if they have any of the following:
• A new, continuous cough
• A high temperature
• Loss or change to your sense of smell or taste.
In Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent, staff from Health, Local Authorities, Police and Fire can still request tests locally and can contact their organisations to find out how to do this.
This week marks Mental Health Awareness Week, with this year’s focus being on kindness. All partners are encouraging people to access mental health services if and when they need them – the NHS is still here to look after your mental health, not just your physical health. Anyone aged 16 or older in Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent who is feeling anxious or down can call the local support line on 0300 303 0923. For urgent mental health support, people of any age in North Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent can call 0300 123 0907. Anyone living elsewhere in Staffordshire can call 0300 555 5001.
There has been lots of messaging locally and nationally on social media and you can follow the hashtags #MentalHealthAwarenessWeek and #KindessMatters to view relevant posts. We have also produced a video with Dr Buki Adeyemo, Clinical Director at North Staffordshire Combined Healthcare NHS Trust, explaining the importance of looking after your mental health during the coronavirus pandemic. There is also lot of information on the Mental Health Foundation Website
This weekend will see the end of the holy month of Ramadan. Eid al-Fitr is due to take place between the evenings of Saturday 23 May and Sunday 24 May. We would like to express our warmest wishes to all those celebrating Eid this weekend and ask that they do so in a safe and responsible manner. We are encouraging anyone taking part in Eid festivities to make the most of technology during this time and to celebrate virtually with loved ones. Socially distancing rules are still in place and so we must all do our bit to control the spread of the virus. We must only meet with one person from outside our household, whilst outside, and continue to stay 2 metres apart at all times.
Two documents have been released this week, giving guidance on accessing NHS services during the pandemic in plain English as well as in easy read format. You can access these documents here.
Nationally, there is lots of talk about contact tracing and we are currently looking at how this will work in Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent. We will update you as soon as we have more information on this.
Across the local health and care system the latest updates are:
• More than 17,000 visits have been conducted in Stoke-on-Trent to help 233 of the city’s most vulnerable residents during the pandemic
• Staffordshire County Council has also delivered its 2,000th food parcel to vulnerable residents this week
• A new Redundancy and Recruitment Triage Service has been announced for business and employees experiencing redundancies as a result of coronavirus. You can find out more here
• Staffordshire Police held a virtual domestic abuse Q&A, continuing the campaign that has been running during the lockdown
• Staffordshire Police and Fire are also reminding people to be speed aware as they travel more in cars again
• Councils are continuing to support schools to reopen to reception, year one and year six from 1 June 2020 (although this is ultimately a matter for schools and parents)
• Staffordshire County Council has now distributed more than one-million free items of personal protective equipment (PPE) to care providers and other essential services
• All partners continue to urge people to stay at home where possible, including for Eid celebrations this weekend
• There have been increased reports of group gatherings in Stoke-on-Trent, flouting social distancing rules
• Local councils are urging people not to fly-tip excess waste, as tips are now reopening
• Partners are still encouraging people to access healthcare services when they are in need and to still attend appointments unless told otherwise
Useful resources available:
• Mental wellbeing whilst staying at home: https://www.nhs.uk/oneyou/every-mindmatters/coronavirus-covid-19-staying-at-home-tips/
• North Staffordshire Combined Healthcare NHS Trust mental health support and advice guide: https://combined.nhs.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/CombinedHealth-and-Wellbeing-Guidance-Final-Version.pdf
• Guidance on shielding: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-onshielding-and-protecting-extremely-vulnerable-persons-from-covid-19/guidance-onshielding-and-protecting-extremely-vulnerable-persons-from-covid-19#what-do-wemean-by-extremely-vulnerable
• Blood donation materials: https://www.nhsbt.nhs.uk/how-you-can-help/getinvolved/download-digital-materials/
• Stay Alert To Stay Safe materials: https://coronavirusresources.phe.gov.uk/stay-alert-to-stay-safe-/resources/
• Symptoms materials: https://coronavirusresources.phe.gov.uk/Symptoms/resources/
• Celebrating Eid at home resources: https://coronavirusresources.phe.gov.uk/eid/resources/
• Useful videos during coronavirus (including British Sign Language): https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC–BwSA7YoEdcV8Jtt2nLAQ