Together We’re Better weekly update.

This week it has been announced that two new coronavirus tests will be rolled out to hospitals, care homes and labs from next week. The new tests can detect the virus in just 90 minutes. It is hoped that the fast results will help to stop the spread of the virus, whilst also increasing testing capacity ahead of winter.

Guidance on the use of face coverings has been updated and from Saturday (8 August) you will need to wear a face covering in far more places than previously.
This includes in cinemas, bingo halls, museums, aquariums, places of worship and community centres. You can see the full list of places where you will need to wear a face covering here.

People who were previously shielding are no longer being advised to shield and can now visit shops, places of worship and other venues. They can also return to work if the workplace is COVID-secure. They should, however, still work from home where possible. The updated guidance can be found here.
This comes as the NHS has now moved from a Level 4 incident, to Level 3. This means that local systems can focus on restarting services that are not linked to coronavirus. Teams will still be preparing for a possible second national peak and if this happens then there is potential for the incident level to be raised to 4 again without hesitation.

More areas across the country are seeing stricter measures being put in place where local outbreaks have occurred. Last week there was an outbreak from a pub in Stone which caught the attention of regional media. More than 1,000 people have been tested, linked to this incident and as of the beginning of this week there were 19 confirmed cases. Although the outbreak was not large enough to warrant a local lockdown, it is a stark reminder that coronavirus is still a very real threat and that we must not become complacent. We can all play our part in reducing the spread by following national guidance – washing our hands regularly, adhering to social distancing rules and wearing a face covering when in the settings laid out in the link above. You must also self-isolate if contacted and asked to do so by NHS Test and Trace.

COVID-friendly cancer treatments have been announced this week, which will treat patients without having as big of an impact on their immune system or offer other benefits such as fewer hospital visits. This comes at a time when fewer people have been going to their doctor with suspected cancer symptoms. The NHS is still operating, and it is vital that you contact your GP or NHS 111 straight away if you are
worried about your health.

Although health and care services are still running, things might be different to what you are used to, and we will need to continue working differently for a while. Health and care partners are, however, now starting to look to the future and how services will run after the pandemic. We are holding a virtual event next Thursday (13 August) looking at possible ideas and asking members of the public how they think services
should run in the future. We also want to hear about people’s experiences of accessing services during the pandemic. Find more information, including how to register, here.

Across the Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent system the latest updates are:

• Partners are inviting people to take part in a virtual event to help shape how health and care services are run after the pandemic

• People are being encouraged to plan, prepare and think before they go out; for example, ensuring they have a face covering if they intend to use public transport or enter a shop

 • Communications are ongoing relating to the local outbreak in the Shobnall, Anglesey, Horninglow and Eton Park areas of Burton and letters have been sent to every household in these areas, written in both English and Urdu

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 BSL, easy read and large print formats here: Trace/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:
• 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:
• Mental wellbeing whilst staying at home:
• North Staffordshire Combined Healthcare NHS Trust mental health support and advice guide: content/uploads/2020/05/CombinedHealth-and-Wellbeing-Guidance-Final-Version.pdf
• Guidance on shielding:
• Blood donation materials:
• Useful videos during coronavirus (including British Sign Language):–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.

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

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