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Latest Covid-19 updates – 25/11/20

COVID RELATED QUERIES

Our covid-19 email address at covid19@cornwall.gov.uk, and telephone line on 0300 1231 118 remain open and available for residents to use for any covid19-related queries. In addition, we have a telephone line dedicated to those deemed clinically vulnerable to get in touch for support and advice. That number is 0300 1234 334.

 


 

CARE HOMES

  • As reflected throughout the community we are seeing more cases in care homes, particularly in the east.
  • Where there are outbreaks in a specific setting we work to support the home in containing the outbreak including advising on individual risk assessments and visiting restrictions.
  • We continue to give support and advice to providers on Covid related matters and urge anyone to get in touch if they need assistance
  • We are grateful for the continuing hard work of all partners in protecting our care workers and the people they care for.
  • Care homes have reported good supplies of PPE and we are reminding all our care providers to stay vigilant with their use of PPE when caring for the people they look after.
  • We continue to work with the NHS in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly to make sure people are able to leave hospital once they are ready to do so, with the care that they need to free up beds for those who need urgent care in our acute hospital.
  • We have been working hard to prepare for this second wave of the pandemic as detailed in our Local Outbreak Management Plan.

 

SAFE CARE HOME VISITING 

  • Throughout the pandemic we have worked with our care homes to advise and support on Covid-safe visiting so they can balance allowing residents to maintain regular contact with loved ones while ensuring their safety.
  • We stress the need for regular and individual risk assessments and we carry out daily reviews of our infection rate so if our rate escalates significantly, either overall or in a specific locality, our Director of Public Health would be able to amend advice and communicate this with our care providers.
  • Where there are outbreaks in a specific setting we work to support the home in containing the outbreak including advising on individual risk assessments and visiting restrictions.
  • If you are planning on visiting a loved one in a care home please check that the home is accepting visitors and be mindful of how you are currently feeling.
  • We urge anyone who has any symptoms, Covid or otherwise, such as flu or sickness, even if it is mild, to avoid visiting close family or friends who are in care homes until they are better.
  • We are asking our providers to share examples of good practice in safe visiting during the pandemic so we can build on this good work.

 

CARE HOME TESTING PILOT 

  • Four care homes in Cornwall are among 20 across the country taking part in a new pilot starting this week for family members to get regular testing for safer care home visits.
  • Named family and friends of residents at Hillcrest in Looe, North Hill in St Austell, King Charles Court in Falmouth and Roseland Court in Tregony will be given regular Covid testing to reunite them with their loved ones in the care homes.
  • Regular testing will be offered to one family member or friend per resident, which – when combined with other infection-control measures such as PPE – will support meaningful visits.
  • These will enable, where possible, indoor visits without a screen to take place while reducing the risk to care home residents, staff and visitors.
  • Visitors will be offered either PCR tests which they can do at home, or the new 30-minute rapid lateral flow tests (LFTs), which can be administered in person at the care homes before a visit.
  • The government pilot is set to be rolled out more widely in December in time for Christmas.

 

PROUD TO CARE RECRUITMENT CAMPAIGN

  • As a health system we have launched a major recruitment campaign this month to get more social care and health workers into the profession now.
  • ‘Cornwall Needs You Now’ is a new Proud to Care campaign run jointly with our independent social care providers and the NHS.
  • We have over 1,000 vacancies in the care sector, permanent, temporary, full and part-time, for experienced professionals and those entering the sector.
  • Sadly many of our residents have been impacted by redundancies during the pandemic.
  • Together with the NHS and care providers we can support anyone wishing to start a career in the health and care sector or maybe return to it after a break.
  • We’d particularly welcome applications from those who’ve previously worked in retail, hospitality and leisure-based roles. While we value the skills and expertise that experienced social care and health professionals bring to the sector, there are many roles suitable for those with less or no previous experience.
  • The right values and attributes are the most important things you need; we’re looking for people with integrity, empathy and a caring nature.
  • All roles will offer full training and support for those new to the sector, with PPE provided by employers.
  • Proud to Care is trying a new approach to get people interested in careers in health and social care. Prospective applicants will be able to speak to people currently working in the sector to understand more about what it is like to work in health and care, opportunities available and to find their ideal job match.
  • For vacancies and more information visit Proud to Care Cornwall’s website.
  • We have had people who have already gained interviews with social care providers as a result of seeing the campaign.

 

SHIELDING AND CLINICALLY EXTREMELY VULNERABLE RESIDENTS  

  • Together with NHS Kernow and Volunteer Cornwall we want to reassure our clinically extremely vulnerable residents that support is at hand if they need help with food shopping, medical prescriptions and wellbeing support during the current lockdown.
  • The government has advised everyone who has a health condition which makes them clinically extremely vulnerable to the effects of COVID-19 and who may have been shielding previously to stay at home as much as possible during this period of restrictions across England, except to go outdoors to exercise or to attend health appointments.
  • They have been asked to work from home if possible and if they cannot work from home, they should not attend work. They may be eligible for Statutory Sick Pay, Employment and Support Allowance, Universal Credit or the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme during the lockdown.
  • Those in the clinically extremely vulnerable group are also asked to avoid all non-essential travel – they should continue to travel to hospital and GP appointments unless told otherwise by their doctor. They are strongly advised not to go to any shops or to pharmacies.
  • Clinically extremely vulnerable residents are eligible for free medicines delivery from community pharmacies during this period if friends and family are not able to collect prescriptions or medicines on their behalf. Prescriptions should continue to be ordered from the GP as normal, either electronically or via telephone.
  • Supermarkets are continuing to provide priority delivery slots to vulnerable individuals and if residents need help getting online, for example to register for an online supermarket account, they can ring Cornwall Council’s support line for those who are clinically extremely vulnerable on 0300 1233334 or contact Volunteer Cornwall.
  • Volunteer Cornwall can also help collect and deliver shopping and medical prescriptions, as well as provide befriending support and volunteers who can help with other low level needs.
  • Health services remain available and residents with a complex need or medical question should contact their GP or health consultant.
  • Anyone who may be worried about their own or someone else’s mental health can contact 0800 038 5300 for help and support.
  • For more information or advice contact Cornwall Council on covid19@cornwall.gov.uk or ring our dedicated line for those who are clinically extremely vulnerable on 0300 1234 334
  • Volunteer Cornwall is on 01872 266988 or email requestforhelp@volunteercornwall.org.uk

 


 

FLU VACCINATIONS

  • To help alleviate the pressure on the NHS in the coming months we are continuing to remind eligible residents to get their free flu vaccinations.
  • We are supporting Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly’s health and care system to carry out flu vaccinations for residents during the pandemic including NHS Kernow, pharmacists and health and care teams, GP surgeries and occupational health settings.
  • By offering the flu vaccine in a variety of different ways, we hope that all those who are eligible to take up the flu vaccine will come forward.

 


 

ERDF REOPENING HIGH STREETS SAFELY FUND

  • Many high street shops remain safely open for essential shopping
  • These include small independent stores such as greengrocers, chemists, butchers, bakers, off licences and takeaway food outlets; or that offer click and collect or online services.
  • The future of local economy is reliant on the support we give them during this time.
  • Cornwall Council is working with local councils to assist stores those able to remain open so their customers can feel reassured that everything possible is being done to keep them Covid-safe
  • Some of the measures include pavement, floor signage and posters for social distancing reminders, hand sanitiser stations, more frequent cleaning and Covid-certification.
  • Supported from a grant of £152,000 awarded to Cornwall Council from the Government’s emergency active travel fund and £509,000 of support to towns for temporary public realm measures from the European Regional Development Fund’s Reopening High Street Safely Fund.
  • 25 towns applied for Phase 1 funding over the peak summer months.
  • Town and parish councils can now apply for more money under the two final phases of the Reopening of High Streets Safely Fund.
  • This will continue to help high streets and other commercial areas provide Covid-safe trading environments through to the end of March 2021.

 


 

Schools and Colleges:

  • We have seen an increase in the number of cases of COVID associated with our schools, particularly over the last 3 weeks and particularly in the East of the County.
  • 0.26% of the total school population in Cornwall have tested positive for COVID.
  • We have seen cases of COVID in both staff and students.
  • Working with bubbles or table plans and friendship groups we can successfully identify key contacts and avoid sending home children to self-isolate unnecessarily.
  • This we feel offers, in many cases, minimal disruption to education which swiftly moves to an online basis for those self-isolating.
  • All of this is done with the collaboration and hard work of the school affected.
  • We have seen a small number of clusters (cases that are often unrelated) in our schools which have meant that major parts of the school are affected.
  • There have been decisions to close a small handful of schools across the county for a brief period to enable deep cleaning and for a reassessment of the COVID safety plans.
  • What we do know is that the majority of single cases in schools and the small number of clusters often relate to the contact and spread of COVID we see in the community, they are just more visible in the school environment.
  • We have seen a number of staff as well as children and young people affected.
  • Only in a very small number of situations have we been able to identify transmission school. 
  • Schools remain a safe place for children to be educated with leaders who are up to date with current COVID safety practice through regular communication.
  • Our schools are supported by a public health team locally that tracks cases which helps them to implement appropriate actions to isolate staff and children at risk.

 


 

SCHOOL TRANSPORT

  • Following on from last weeks confirmed case at Liskeard, our transport team worked tirelessly to find replacement buses and drivers – the situation was resolved in 36hrs.
  • No changes to provision – we continue to follow the government guidance.
  • Transport providers will ensure vehicles are thoroughly cleaned daily with additional cleaning taking place before and after each school journey.
  • Anyone with a particular issue relating to school transport or changes to bus journeys which have  become ‘student only’ services, can email transport@cornwall.gov.uk or call 0300 1234 222.
  • More information can also be found on our website at www.cornwall.gov.uk/schooltransport
  • We ask that masks are worn wherever possible (unless a medical exemption applies under the government legislation). Drivers on school transport are asked to remind passengers of the need to wear them and report any concerns about students failing to comply directly to us so that we can take up with the school direct.

 


 

CHILD HEALTH

  • Health Visiting and School Nursing services will continue throughout COVID lockdown .
  • Families with children aged up to 2 years of age will still be offered an appointment for their routine child developmental review and will have for support for any other health needs.
  • Families with children aged up to 5 years will still be able to access their Health Visitor team if they have any health worries or require support . School Nurses are available to provide health appointments and advice .
  • Where required home visits and face to face appointments in Family Hubs will be offered as well as virtual and telephone contacts.
  • Please contact the  Health Visitor and School Nurse  advice line open Monday to Friday 9-5pm which has a  dedicated email box hvsnadvice@cornwall.gov.uk as well as telephone number 01872 322779.

 


 

FUNDING FOR COMMUNITY FOOD GROUPS 

  • Our new Emergency Food Assistance Fund will give financial help to community food groups supporting people who are struggling to afford food and other essentials due to Covid: https://www.cornwall.gov.uk/foodgrant.
  • Existing and new community food organisations across Cornwall can now apply to our Emergency Food Assistance Fund to pay for food, equipment, storage, transport costs or any other items which can build their capacity, infrastructure and resilience so they are in a stronger position to help their communities access emergency food and essential supplies.
  • This fund is not intended to make cash payments to individuals.
  • We are collaborating with the newly formed Cornwall Food Access Alliance and the voluntary sector.

 


 

CAR PARKS

  • Remain free for NHS, (local authority employed) Health and Social care staff and NHS Covid volunteers while on duty. Full details available on our website
  • Car parks play a key role in managing town centre congestion and the income from parking enables us to make the best use of our resources and target funding towards maintaining Cornwall’s 7,300km road network. Without the income from car parking charges, the Council would need to increase council tax to generate the same amount of funding. While we receive about £9.7 million net income from parking each year, we spend around £45 million on maintaining the condition and safety of Cornwall’s roads and 2,700 bridges and retaining walls, as well as the car parks themselves.

 


 

ROUGH SLEEPERS/HOMELESSNESS

  • The 21 temporary self-contained cabins on Cornwall Council owned sites in Penzance and Truro will remain open until March 2021
  • There are also plans to source more accommodation on a further site as well as keep the self-contained rooms already available in other locations.
  • In all there will be 63 spaces for those who need them, with 49 already up and running.
  • Additional Next Steps Accommodation funding announced by the government has seen £4.4 million allocated to Cornwall.  This means that we will be able to provide over 70 homes in locations all over Cornwall to enable people who sleep rough, or are at risk of sleeping rough, to be rehoused in supported, secure, long-term accommodation.
  • Council’s successful bid for £567,620 to the first stage of government’s Next Steps Accommodation Programme (NSAP) will go towards a £730,000 strategy to deliver emergency homes and to bring on board extra Prevention & Engagement Officers on the ground.
  • At the end of last week, the Government announced additional funding to support ongoing work to provide accommodation for rough sleepers. Called the ‘Protect Programme’, the scheme runs alongside ‘Everybody In’ campaign. This funding is for areas with high numbers of rough sleepers. Cornwall has been named as a recipient, but we do not have any detail at this stage on how much funding we will be given.
  • Our most recent figures (from August) show that all together we have housed around 550 households in temporary accommodation, of which over 370 are single people. To put that into context, there were around 250 households in temporary accommodation, including just over 100 single people, at the same time last year.

 


 

ACCOMMODATION PROVIDERS

Overnight stays and holidays away from primary residences will not be allowed- including holidays in the UK and abroad. This includes staying in a second home or caravan, if you own one, or staying with anyone you do not live with or are in a support bubble with.

You are allowed to stay overnight away from your home if you:

  • are unable to return to your main residence
  • need accommodation while moving house
  • need accommodation to attend a funeral or related commemorative event
  • require accommodation for work purposes or to provide voluntary services
  • are a child requiring accommodation for school or care
  • are homeless, seeking asylum or a vulnerable person seeking refuge
  • are an elite athlete or their support staff or parent, if the athlete is under 18

Guest accommodation providers such as hotels, B&Bs and caravan parks may remain open for the specific reasons set out in law, including where guests are unable to return to their main residence, use that guest accommodation as their main residence, or would otherwise be made homeless as a result of the accommodation closing.

 


 

PUBLIC TRANSPORT

  • Not expecting any significant changes to services on the supported bus network, waiting on operators to confirm position with commercial services. Check with your bus operator before you travel or visit www.travelinesw.com
  • No changes for school transport.
  • People are asked to travel only when essential and try to travel during quieter periods if possible.
  • Transport operators continue to follow government guidance.
  • Cleaning regimes in place, passengers asked to wear face coverings (except where exemptions apply), to wash hands before and after journeys and observe social distancing.

 


 

AIRPORT

  • Cornwall Airport Newquay, which is owned by Cornwall Council, closed its passenger terminal from Monday, November 9, due to the England-wide lockdown.
  • All scheduled flights to and from the airport are suspended until mid-December due to the impact of government restrictions on demand.
  • Cornwall Council is continuing to press the Government for financial support for the airport.
  • The aerodrome remains open to support vital services such as Cornwall Air Ambulance, HM Coastguard Search and Rescue, business and military operations.

 


 

HWRCs

HWRCs are open and the number plate entry system remains in place to limit the number of people at the site at any one time.

Waste collection services

Refuse and recycling collections will continue as normal.

Parks, play areas and skateboard 

Playgrounds, skateboarding facilities and parks will remain open during the second lockdown.

 


 

Temporary mortuary 

  • The number of covid deaths in Cornwall remains very low.
  • It has not been necessary to use the temporary mortuary and we do not anticipate that it will be required. However, we are prepared should the situation change.
  • There currently are no plans to dig any additional graves.

 


 

Enforcement 

Enforcement is used as a last resort.

Business Covid 19 compliance levels down here are very good and we want them to stay that way.

We are focusing on engaging, explaining and educating about the new rules.

 

The Covid Enforcement Team 

Cornwall Council has set up a new dedicated Covid Enforcement Team who deal with covid-related complaints and queries seven days a week.

The multi-disciplinary team, who work closely with Devon and Cornwall Police, Public Health colleagues and other partner agencies, includes environmental health officers, trading standards officers and licensing officers.

This new set-up enables an effective and efficient response to business Covid requests for assistance and to deal with Covid concerns reported by the public. It also supports more effective coordination with police partners and consistency of approach.

The core team is made up of around 15 officers and was established this week. This core group is supported by other staff members from various departments who are helping businesses adjust to the new restrictions.

While the team is new, the officers involved are all council employees.

 

Covid fines 

We have been working closely with businesses to help them interpret the new rules.

Since the new lockdown began on November 5 we have not issued any fines.

We will always seek to engage and educate before any enforcement action is taken.

During the summer Cornwall Council issued one fine to a takeaway business for staying open beyond 10pm. This is the only fine that has been issued in relation to restrictions imposed due to covid.

 


 

Active Travel Fund 

  • Cornwall has been allocated £607,000 in this second tranche of funding from the DfT’s Active Travel Fund. This is the amount DfT advised us we would get when the scheme was announced in May, provided we submitted a bid which could demonstrate highway schemes which would encourage cycling and walking.   Local authorities were encouraged to submit bids for additional funding above the allocated amount and so we put in an ambitious bid for £1.2m to support projects in a number of areas in Cornwall.   While we haven’t received the full bid we are really pleased that we have retained 100% of our indicative funding allocation.
  • The Active Travel Fund is to support measures to bring about a modal shift in communities – building infrastructure to encourage people to walk and cycle more, especially where the journey is a short one within towns. This can range from dedicated cycle lanes and wider footpaths to reallocating highway space – restricting vehicles on specific roads at certain times.
  • Now the amount of funding amount has been confirmed, we will look at the projects and determine which ones we can take forward at the present time. This does not mean the others won’t happen, we need to look at how these could be funded in future – and it’s possible that there will be further tranches of the Active Travel Fund which we will of course submit bids to.
  • Road transport is a large contributor of carbon dioxide emissions and if we’re serious about tackling the issues of climate change then we all need to look at how we travel.
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