Friday 27 March 2020
We're working around the clock to ensure the most vulnerable people in Devon are cared for and essential services continue to reach our communities.
The single most important thing we can all do to help fight the coronavirus outbreak is to stay at home in order to protect the NHS and save lives. Full guidance on staying at home and away from others can be found on the Government's website.
Things are changing on a daily basis but we are working to keep you informed through this email update, and our coronavirus (COVID-19) pages on our website which have all the latest information from the government, the NHS and from our community.
Please note that all of our sites and offices are closed to the public, except for necessary prearranged visits
In this update:
- Advice about potential disruption to adult care services
- Find out how to volunteer, and do it safely
- Funding available to support community action
- Highways teams working to keep roads safe for key workers
- Active Devon's #StayInWorkOut advice
- Update on broadband network build and maintenance
Advice if you receive care from one of our providers
|The potential spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) is likely to have an impact on our care providers’ staffing levels and ability to deliver care services to residents across Devon. We've published some information about how we're going to prioritise visits to the most vulnerable and the plans we're making to ensure that you are not at risk if your care is temporarily limited by staffing resources. We've also got some advice on what you can do to help us prepare.
How to volunteer and help safely
Support for self-employed people
Self-employed people are a vital part of Devon's economy, with self-employment rates here 4.1% above the national average. The Government has announced the Self-employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) to support self-employed individuals, including members of partnerships, whose incomes have been negatively impacted by COVID-19. Full details can be found on the Government business support website.
Coronavirus Information Service on WhatsApp
|The Government has launched its Coronavirus Information Service on WhatsApp. The free service is an automated ‘chatbot’ that will provide information on coronavirus prevention and symptoms, the latest number of cases in the UK, advice on staying at home, travel advice and myth busting. More information can be found on the Government website.
Keeping people safe and well
New health and care recruitment campaign
Care providers are under a lot of pressure right now and many are actively looking to recruit more staff. We are working with them to help boost their recruitment. Look out for our latest Proud to Care campaign launching on Monday. Visit the Proud to Care website for more information.
||Being physically active is a really good way to maintain your physical and mental wellbeing as you adjust to the challenges of these difficult times. Whether you’re young or old, a first timer or a gym regular, doing it on your own or with your family, Active Devon has some great ideas for how you can keep active while you're staying at home to protect the NHS and save lives. Visit their #StayInWorkOut page for more information.
Domestic abuse support
|Sadly, as people continue to self-isolate, there is likely to be an increase in incidents of domestic abuse. We're working with partners across Devon and Cornwall to launch a new campaign to highlight how people can still access vital advice and support services online and over the phone during the coronavirus outbreak.
Funding to support community action
We've launched the COVID-19 Prompt Action Fund to help provide valuable funding to organisations working in communities that have been affected by the coronavirus outbreak. It can be used to help voluntary and community groups with issues like safely delivering food and medicine to vulnerable people, supporting people to access online information and services, and starting virtual support groups to help people stay connected. Find out more, including how to apply.
Supporting your community
Your local councils are working together to help and support local people to get through this outbreak. We are committed to doing whatever is needed to help people and to support our communities to find ways to respond quickly. There's lots of advice on our website about setting up, registering and finding local community support groups including links to the local Council for Voluntary Service (CVS) and Covid-19 Mutual Aid UK.
Highway repairs keeping roads safe for key workers
|Our highways teams have a critical role in keeping Devon's roads safe for emergency services and other key workers, as well as the delivery of food and supplies.
We've temporarily suspended planned highway maintenance work in order to focus on the repair of critical infrastructure, and continue to deliver essential safety repairs in order to maintain the local network.
Update on broadband network build and maintenance
|Broadband suppliers are continuing with maintenance, repairs and building new infrastructure where it is safe to do so and resources allow, says Connecting Devon and Somerset (CDS).
However, whilst the current social distancing restrictions are in place, CDS does not expect to see any work undertaken to connect homes to new infrastructure, should that require entry to the premises.
Extra parking for hospital staff in Exeter
To ease parking pressures at hospital sites in Exeter as additional NHS staff are drafted in in response to coronavirus (COVID-19), We've opened up our car park at County Hall on Topsham Road to staff working at the nearby hospitals to use free of charge. Isca Academy and The Maynard School have also kindly made their car parks available.
Our Chief Executive, Phil Norrey, said: "Staff including doctors, nurses and everyone on the front line at the hospital are working around the clock, and are throwing all of their weight into this response. If we can at the very least help them in getting to work, we will."
Thousands of people opened their front doors at 8pm last night (Thursday 26 March) to show in solidarity their support for our nation's health workers. Streets rang to the sound of applause. Neighbours and friends shared the moment, respecting a safe distance from each other. We’ve captured a few moments of it.