Together we’re better weekly update
On Friday 24 July the government announced an expansion to the routine flu vaccination programme with the aim of vaccinating more than 30 million people during this flu season. A significant new group will be eligible for the free flu vaccine, as people over 50-64 will be invited later in the season for a vaccination. A free flu vaccine will also be available to:
• People who are on the Shielded Patient List and members of their household
• All school year groups up to Year 7
• People aged over 65, pregnant women, those with pre-existing conditions including at-risk under 2s
Once vaccination of the most ‘at-risk’ groups are underway, the Department of Health and Social Care has announced that it will work with clinicians to decide when to open the programme to invite the wider groups, with further details to be announced. The NHS will contact people directly, including information about where to go to get the vaccine.
It has now been mandatory to wear face coverings in shops and supermarkets for one week. It has been confirmed that those under the age of 11 and those with disabilities, hidden health conditions, breathing difficulties, mental health conditions or autism are all exempt from wearing a mask or face covering. GP practices will not be writing exemption notes. Instead, an exemption card can be downloaded here
and you can also find the full list of exemptions.
It has been announced today that the easing of some lockdown measures, which was due to take place tomorrow (1 August), will now be delayed until at least 15 August. This will mean that venues, including bowling alleys skating rinks and casinos will now not be allowed to reopen tomorrow as planned. Socially distanced events in stadiums and indoor performances to live audiences will also be delayed.
Wedding receptions for up to 30 people will also now not be able to take place until at least 15 August. However, shielding will still end tomorrow as planned. For more information about shielding coming to an end tomorrow, please click here.
This week saw the launch of Your Covid Recovery (YCR), which is a new website to support people with ongoing symptoms who are on the road to recovery. NHS England and NHS Improvement, have been working in partnership with University Hospitals Leicester NHS Trust to develop this new digital platform to meet the specific recovery and rehabilitation needs of the new cohort of post COVID-19 patients.
The site will enable patients and their families/carers to access further information around recovering after having COVID-19. It provides a holistic approach to health and wellbeing and includes information on mental health and wellbeing, physical strength and returning to work. The site also offers general advice on recovery, returning to work and information for families and carers of patients that have had COVID-19.
The new website can be found here: www.yourcovidrecovery.nhs.uk.
The site is publicly available and aims to cover all aspects of care following an individual having had COVID-19, either in a hospital or community setting.
This week also saw the launch of the Know Your Risk tool, created by NHS England and NHS Improvement and Diabetes UK. The simple tool only takes a few minutes and calculates your risk of type 2 diabetes. If you are found to be at moderate or high risk of type 2 type diabetes, you will then be able to sign up directly to your local NHS Healthier You programme provider.
The NHS Healthier You programme has already helped nearly 90,000 people in England. The tool can be found here.
The government has this week unveiled a new strategy to battle obesity in the country, as evidence shows that living with excess weight puts people at greater risk of serious illness of death from COVID-19. The new strategy has been launched alongside the new ‘Better Health’ campaign, led by Public Health England, which will encourage a healthier lifestyle. The campaign is supported by a range of tools and apps to help people lose weight in a healthy way. More information on ‘Better Health’ can be found here.
Staffordshire County Council has advised of a local outbreak of COVID-19 in a pub in Stone this week. We are advising anyone that was in the Crown and Anchor pub, or around Stone on the weekend of 16, 17 and 18 July, or anyone that has been in close contact with someone who went to the pub on that weekend, to get a test for COVID-19 immediately. There will be a mobile testing at Crown Street car park in Stone today (Friday 31 July) until 3pm and tomorrow and Sunday (1 and 2 August) from 10.30am until 3.30pm. You must book an appointment and can arrive on foot or by car. You can book a test here, and at other local testing sites, through the government portal. Keep up to date with latest developments on the Staffordshire County Council Twitter and Facebook pages.
Another new change this week us around the length of time that people must self isolate for. The rules are being changed as scientists warn people with coronavirus may be infectious for longer than previously thought. People who test positive for coronavirus or show symptoms in the UK must now self-isolate for at least 10 days, rather than seven. The chief medical officers said the change is “particularly important to protect those who have been shielding and in advance of the autumn and winter when we may see increased community transmission”.
And finally, the festival of Eid Al-Adha started yesterday and ends on Monday 3 August. A huge number of sacrifices have been made in recent months, as communities have had to adapt how they celebrate different festivals and other important occasions. It is vital this work is not undone and that we continue to remain flexible in order to control the virus. It’s great that Mosques have reopened for prayer and service, but in a COVID-secure way and to ensure social distancing. This means most Mosques are not able to welcome as many worshippers as before, so please speak to your local Mosque to find out what arrangements have been put in place. If you are celebrating please stay safe and Eid Mubarak.
Across the Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent system the latest updates are:
• On Tuesday 28 July Staffordshire County Council issued a final letter to shielding residents in Shobnall, Anglesey, Horninglow and Eton Park areas of Burton reiterating the fact that there is an enhanced risk in these areas and people who may be extremely vulnerable to COVID-19
• All partners are urging anyone that visited the Crown and Anchor pub 16, 17 or 18 July, or the surrounding areas in Stone, and anyone in close contact with someone who visited the pub that weekend, to have a COVID-19 test straight away
• Staffordshire Police and local councils asking people to stay safe during the hot weather that is forecast this weekend – including applying sun cream, keeping hydrated, and remembering social distancing rules
• Partners are reminding local people of the rules still in place regarding maximum numbers of people gathering outside (six) and that people from two households only are allowed inside together at one time
Useful resources available:
• Materials are available for the following campaigns:
− Stay Alert to Stay Safe posters: White background easy print for face coverings and distance
− Stay Alert to Stay Safe translated posters
− NHS Test and Trace posters: White background easy print for drive through testing and self-isolate
− Symptoms posters: White background easy print for taste and smell
• Wearing a face mask – translations (Arabic/French/Kurdish/Lithuanian/Pashto/Polish/Portuguese/Romanian/Russian/Spanish/Tigrinya)
• Hospital mask and face covering guidance materials:
• Test and Trace materials are available to use on the Public Health England
Campaign Resource Centre: https://coronavirusresources.phe.gov.uk/Test-andTrace/resources/. This includes BSL, easy read and large print formats here: https://coronavirusresources.phe.gov.uk/Test-andTrace/resources/alternativeresources/
• Signposting materials with useful information on how people can contact their GP, order repeat prescriptions and manage wellbeing and existing conditions at home: https://coronavirusresources.phe.gov.uk/nhs-resourcesfacilities/resources/health-at-home/
• Public Health England guide on how older adults can stay active at home during coronavirus to maintain strength and balance:
• Translated information leaflets for parents with new-borns during coronavirus: https://www.england.nhs.uk/coronavirus/publication/maternity-leaflets-translatedversions/
• 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/guidanceon-shielding-and-protecting-extremely-vulnerable-persons-from-covid-19#whatdo-we-mean-by-extremely-vulnerable
• Blood donation materials: https://www.nhsbt.nhs.uk/how-you-can-help/getinvolved/download-digital-materials/
• Useful videos during coronavirus (including British Sign Language): https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC–BwSA7YoEdcV8Jtt2nLAQ
• 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.