Together we’re better
Coronavirus is still in circulation in the UK and NHS Test and Trace is a vital part of us being able to beat this virus. The government has set out its plan to return life to as near normal as possible, for as many people as possible, as quickly and fairly as possible in order to safeguard livelihoods, but in a way that continues to protect our communities and our NHS.
Everyone with symptoms (a high temperature OR a new, continuous cough, OR a loss or change in sense of smell or taste, no matter how mild), can get a free test. It is quick and easy and involves taking a swab of the nose and the back of the throat, which can be done
by the person themselves (self-administered) or by someone else (assisted). The different ways you can get tested are covered in the attached document.
Contact tracing is now a well-established method of preventing and controlling outbreaks. The principles are tried and tested, working with a person who has an infection to help them remember everyone who they have had close contact with while they could have been infectious. Everyone who might be at risk is then contacted and warned, as quickly as possible, and offered advice on how they should act in order to help prevent further spread.
Finding contacts can be simple; a close friend or work colleague, or it can be more complex, for instance someone who has travelled or attended a communal event. There are also levels of risk to consider – for instance you are much more likely to transmit the virus through close contact for a period of time, whereas simply walking past someone in a street is much lower risk.
There are currently over 27,000 contact tracers in place, supported by expanded local health protection teams based around the country and online contact tracing services. Follow this link to find out ‘how tracing works’, ‘who is a contact’, ‘what to expect from contact tracers’ and ‘how to avoid potential scams’.
If you are contacted by the NHS Test and Trace service and told to self-isolate for 14 days you must do this. Although it may be frustrating if you do not have symptoms yourself, it could potentially stop the spread and help to protect others.
Another way that you can help to protect others and our NHS is to wear a face covering or face mask when out and about. From today (Friday 24 July 2020), by law you must wear a face covering in shops and supermarkets. Shops and supermarkets will be expected to encourage people to comply with the law and can refuse entry. In both cases, if necessary, the police have the powers to enforce these measures.
In settings where it is mandatory to wear face coverings in England, there are some circumstances, for health, age or equality reasons, whereby people are not expected to wear face coverings.
It is not compulsory for shop or supermarket staff to wear face coverings. For example, there will be times when screens or visors are in use, or when a staff member is not in close proximity to people they do not normally meet, and so wearing a covering for staff will not be necessary.
You do not need to wear a face covering if you have a legitimate reason not to.
• Young children under the age of 11
• Not being able to put on, wear or remove a face covering because of a physical or mental illness or impairment, or disability.
• If putting on, wearing or removing a face covering will cause you severe distress.
• If you are travelling with or providing assistance to someone who relies on lip reading to communicate.
• To avoid harm or injury, or the risk of harm or injury, to yourself or others.
• To avoid injury, or to escape a risk of harm, and you do not have a face covering with you
• To eat or drink, but only if you need to.
• To take medication.
• An employee of the operator who is acting in the course of their employment or anyone providing services under arrangements made with the operator (Transport Companies)
• If a police officer or other official requests you remove your face covering.
• A constable or PCSO acting in the course of their duty
• An emergency responder (other than a constable) acting in their capacity as an emergency responder
Some positive news that has been reported nationally is that a coronavirus vaccine, developed by the University of Oxford, appears safe and trains the immune system against coronavirus. Trials involving around 1,077 people showed the injection led to them making antibodies and white blood cells that can fight the virus. The BBC reported that findings are hugely promising, but that it is still too soon to know if this is enough to offer protection and larger trials are underway.
As lockdown measures have eased in most areas, there is evidence of an increase in cases in the Anglesey, Shobnall and Horninglow areas of Burton in particular. Between July 4 and July 18 there were 48 confirmed cases in Burton, with 39 of those in the three localised areas. There are no plans for any further lockdown measures in Burton or anywhere in Staffordshire at the moment and tips on how to nip this in the bud and prevent any further infections can be found here.
A drive through mobile testing centre is now open at the Pirelli Stadium in Burton and people can book a test online at www.nhs.uk/coronavirus or by calling 119. Staffordshire County Council may be able to offer a test at home to anyone who lives in an affected area and can’t travel to a testing centre. The number to call to check eligibility for this is 0300 111 8050. The County Council continues to work closely with East Staffordshire Borough Council, the NHS and the town’s communities in the call for people to follow national guidance carefully.
Healthwatch Stoke-on-Trent and Healthwatch Staffordshire have released a coronavirus impact survey, asking members of the public about their experiences of health and social care services during the coronavirus pandemic. The survey largely focuses on coronavirus experiences, long-term health conditions, mental health and digital engagements.
Coronavirus has led to unfamiliar changes to the way health and social care services provide care, for example, postponed or digital appointments, stricter hospital and care home protocols and a challenge to pharmacy medication distribution. Capturing and sharing the voice of the people will ensure that we are better equipped to understand the full impact that coronavirus has had on people’s lives to feedback to health and social care providers.
Please share this survey with your networks and key contacts:
Across the Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent system the latest updates are:
• A press release was issued to inform the public that the LRF major incident status has now been downgraded, however this does not mean that we can let our guard down and the NHS nationally and locally remains in major incident.
• All partners continue to reinforce messaging around social distancing, hand hygiene and face coverings.
• Public are encouraged to plan prepare and think before they go out to keep themselves and others safe.
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-and-Trace/resources/.
This includes BSL, easy read and large print formats here:
• 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:
• Blood donation materials: https:
• Useful videos during coronavirus (including British Sign Language):
• 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 nonclinical settings, is published and updated regularly on the GOV.UK collection page.