In addition to the regular Thursday evening Clap for Carers, many people across the country, and across Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent, observed a one-minute silence this week, on Tuesday 28 April at 11am. This was planned to coincide with International Workers’ Memorial Day to remember key workers who have lost their lives in the fight against coronavirus. Events like this, which bring to mind those people who have died as a result of the virus, help to reinforce the importance of social distancing and the “Stay at home, protect the NHS, save lives” message.
Many of you will have seen that Colonel Tom Moore turned 100 yesterday and reached the £30m mark in his quest to raise money for the NHS. Although most residents in Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent are abiding by social distancing measures, we are seeing reports that in some areas people may not be heeding this advice. We are continuing to emphasise the fact that social distancing does work and we do not want to undo the great work that is being done to flatten the curve by everyone staying home, or ruining the efforts of people like Colonel Tom.
Testing coronavirus continues to be in the spotlight, not least because the government had previously announced a target to reach 100,000 tests per day by 30 April 2020. This week, there have been further updates to the criteria for testing, to include all residents and staff in care homes in England, irrespective of whether they are displaying symptoms or not. This testing will also be rolled out to patients and staff in the NHS. In addition, all those aged over 65, and people who must leave home for work will also be eligible for a test if they are showing symptoms. The updated national guidance on testing can be found here.
Locally, we now have two sites up and running for testing key workers from Health, Local Authorities, Police and Fire, and members of their households, provided they meet the criteria. Testing at the sites is only available by booking an appointment. Staff members can find out how to access these testing services by contacting their organisations. National guidance is changing rapidly, so we will make sure to give you the most up-to-date information as and when it is released.
There have been concerns raised this week that people may not be seeking the urgent care and treatment that they need. We are supporting the new national campaign to encourage people to still use health services when they need them, including contacting your GP, NHS 111 and, in emergencies, 999. As part of this, our latest podcast with Dr Shammy Noor, GP in Lichfield and Chair of South East Staffordshire and Seisdon Peninsula CCG, talks about mental health and well-being. Listen here.
In addition to this, over the coming weeks the NHS will take steps to encourage people to use other vital services, such as cancer screening and care, maternity appointments and mental health support if they need it. Please look out for these campaigns on our social media pages and help to share the messages with your local communities.
Finally, we would like to send our condolences to the family of Eileen Landers and to her colleagues at University Hospitals of Derby and Burton NHS Foundation Trust. Eileen
worked as a member of the cleaning team at Queen’s Hospital in Burton and sadly passed away on 26 April after contracting coronavirus.
Across the local health and care system the latest updates are:
- Local councils are continuing to promote the grants that are available to support local businesses during the coronavirus outbreak
- Staffordshire Police are reinforcing the ‘stay at home’ messages and urging people not to travel to beauty spots, such as Cannock Chase, and to only travel when absolutely necessary. This is after seeing an increase in traffic volumes over the weekend
- Partners are also supporting Staffordshire Police to push the #YouAreNotAlone messages around domestic violence. There are lots of useful contacts for support groups on the Staffordshire County Council website. This includes support in other formats, such as British Sign Language (BSL)
- Staffordshire County Council is today celebrating #StaffordshireDay. The council has created a sing-along video to the hit song ‘Angels’ from local pop star, Robbie Williams. You can view the video here, which includes videos from local people singing along and bringing cheer to the area during this difficult time. Follow the day virtually on social media with the hashtag above
- Staffordshire Fire and Rescue are urging people not to burn excess waste in their back gardens or set other deliberate fires, as this can add unnecessary strain on our emergency services
- Capacity across the system is currently good, with beds available in all areas
- Guidance for volunteers on how to stay safe during the coronavirus outbreak has been released and can be found here
- Midlands Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (MPFT) discharged a 100-year old lady from Haywood Hospital last Friday, after she recovered from coronavirus. You can see the heart-warming video of Elsie Kelsall leaving hospital over on the YouTube channel, here
- Staffordshire County Council is providing additional financial support to the 450 foster households across the county and is also providing extra practical and emotional support, such as online training
- Microbusinesses in Staffordshire who do not qualify for government support can access grants of up to £1,000 from Staffordshire County Council to assist during the crisis. More information can be found here
- West Midlands Ambulance Service NHS Trust (WMAS) has shared guidance from the Muslim Council of Britain on how to enjoy a safe Ramadan during isolation
- Local councils are continuing to remind residents to be vigilant of illegal scammers operating at the moment
- Councils are also asking residents to refrain from fly-tipping and ask that people retain bulky waste until tips are open again
- Stoke-on-Trent City Council has issued a press release, urging people to look out for the signs of child abuse
- University Hospitals of North Midlands NHS Foundation Trust (UHNM) has announced that more than 600 people with coronavirus are benefitting from involvement in clinical trials at the trust. Read more here
Useful resources available:
- Mental wellbeing whilst staying at home: www.nhs.uk/oneyou/every-mind-matters/coronavirus-covid-19-staying-at-home-tips
- New hand hygiene social media animations: www.coronavirusresources.phe.gov.uk/hand-hygiene/resources/Social-Handwashing-Updated
- Guidance on shielding: www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-on-shielding-and-protecting-extremely-vulnerable-persons-from-covid-19/guidance-on-shielding-and-protecting-extremely-vulnerable-persons-from-covid-19#what-do-we-mean-by-extremely-vulnerable
- Blood donation materials: www.nhsbt.nhs.uk/how-you-can-help/get-involved/download-digital-materials
- BAME social media materials: www.coronavirusresources.phe.gov.uk/age-specific/resources/BAME-Assets
- Translated stay at home messages: www.coronavirusresources.phe.gov.uk/stay-home-save-lives/resources/translations
- Translated Every Mind Matters resources: www.coronavirusresources.phe.gov.uk/now-more-than-ever-every-mind-matters/resources/translated-social-media-post
- Public Health England domestic abuse resources: www.coronavirusresources.phe.gov.uk/domestic-abuse/resources