DCC – Covid-19 Update

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Monday 6 April 2020

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We've started the week today by welcoming the first cohort of trainees for the new Healthcare Assistant roles. Welcome all! These positions will provide essential support to health and social care providers. More than 600 people have registered so far, and with more to follow we hope.

We've also taken a decision to increase the amounts we pay to care providers, so that in turn they can pay their care workers significantly more per hour. We think that this will help boost recruitment to the sector, and it should help care providers retain staff once we're beyond coronavirus (COVID-19).

None of us should need reminding, but as the weather looks fine for the early part of the week, it's worth saying: Please, stick to the guidance. Stay home, protect the NHS, save lives.

In this update:

  • Hundreds of people sign up to help care in Devon
  • Help the NHS coordinate its response using the Coronavirus Status Checker
  • Support for vulnerable people who are 'shielding'
  • Care workers see a boost to their salaries
  • Can you help record life on lockdown?
  • Awarding GCSEs, AS levels and A Levels


Hundreds answer the call to help care

blue proud to care campaign graphic Hundreds of people across Devon have answered the call to help care for the county's most vulnerable residents.

It follows our appeal (with the NHS) last week as we launched an urgent campaign to recruit Healthcare Assistants to support social care providers and the NHS during the coronavirus pandemic.

The first group of trainees began their training today, with a three-day fast-track course taught by a team of experienced social workers and health and care professionals. Once trained the new recruits will be deployed to a variety of settings including people’s homes, hospitals and care homes. They will support people with their personal care needs including eating, drinking and washing, which will reduce the pressure on existing health and care staff.

Find out more, including how to register, on the Proud To Care website.

Virtual careers fair

man working on a laptopWe're working hard to help local businesses through the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak and ensure a strong recovery for the local economy.

Businesses should visit the Heart of the South West Growth Hub to find essential information on available support and advice.

A virtual careers fair has also been launched by the Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership and local authorities for all those across the Heart of the South West area who are currently out of work.

Keeping people safe and well

Share your symptoms with the NHS status tracker

lady sat on sofa coughingA new Coronavirus Status Checker that will help the NHS coordinate its response and build up additional data on the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak has been launched.

People with potential coronavirus symptoms are being asked to complete the status checker and answer a short series of questions, which will tell the NHS about their experience.

It is open to anyone in the UK to access on the NHS website and in its initial phase the NHS is particularly keen for anyone who thinks they may be displaying potential coronavirus symptoms, no matter how mild, to complete it. However, it's not a triage or clinical advice tool, and those using the status checker should still visit 111 online for medical advice about their symptoms.

Support for vulnerable people who are 'shielding'

elderly ladies hands in lapThe NHS has identified people who have a high risk of getting severely ill if they catch coronavirus (COVID-19), because of their underlying health conditions.

We've updated the information on our website today about support for this extremely vulnerable group, including how to register on the government website.  If you are in this group, you may have received a letter or text message from the NHS or been contacted by your GP. The government will arrange free weekly delivery of food direct to your house, and you can request other sorts of help available to you locally as well.

Helping pharmacies to help you

medicine bottles in gloved handsPharmacy teams are working around the clock to make sure customers get the medicines they need, but pharmacies are feeling the same pressure as other parts of the healthcare system.

Some pharmacies are having to change the way they work in order to keep customers and staff safe, so please be patient and treat staff with respect as they do their job.

There are no shortages of medicines so please order and buy products as normal and remember, some over-the-counter medicines can be bought elsewhere.  Pharmacies in Devon will be open on Good Friday and Easter Monday but please only visit them if you really need to.


Can you help record life during lockdown?

A young lady talks to an older lady on the phone through a windowThe Beaford Archive is a much-loved record of everyday life in northern Devon, containing over 80,000 of James Ravilious's photographs taken at the end of the last century.

It's been reopened for the first time in 30 years and North Devonians are now being asked to help compile the coronavirus chapter for future generations.

Find out how to take part on the Beaford Archive website.

Help us to keep Devon well informed

woman holding phone next to a laptopPlease forward this email to anyone you think would find it useful and encourage them to sign up.

You can also can share this update on social media and in any online groups you're part of by using the 'view it as a webpage' link at the top of the email.

Don't forget you can also find and follow us on Facebook @OfficialDevonCC, Twitter @DevonCC, Instagram @devoncountycouncil or LinkedIn @devon-county-council for regular coronavirus updates, and to join the #WeAreDevon community.

Stay connected - find out what's going on near you

graphic of tablet and wifi connectionWe started this ConnectMe coronavirus update and  coronavirus (COVID-19) pages on our website to bring to you the latest news and information from us and around us to help you during this difficult time. We hope that you find it helpful.

Our other local government colleagues in Devon also have dedicated webpages and produce regular updates about their services during this period that you can receive straight to your computers, tablets and mobiles.

Service updates

Care workers see a boost to their salaries

gloved handsOur Pandemic Response Management Team made a rapid decision on Friday to increase the amounts we pay to care providers, in order to significantly raise the pay to home care workers.

It should see care workers’ salaries – those working under contract to the Council – raised to a minimum of £10 per hour, when many currently are receiving the national minimum wage at £8.72 per hour.

You can read the full story on our Newscentre website.

Trading Standards advice for hospitality sector

Trading standards officers in high vis jacketsEaster is traditionally seen as the start of the holiday season for many businesses, but our Trading Standards team is reminding owners of guest houses, hotels, campsites and restaurants to remain closed this Easter to help reduce the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).

Most businesses are abiding with the new rules, but enforcement action will be taken against those who choose to ignore the government rules.

Holidaymakers are also reminded that visiting the West Country for leisure is not regarded as essential travel and they risk receiving a fine from the police.

Awarding GCSEs, AS levels and A Levels

school tie and prefect badgeSince the Secretary of State for Education announced that the 2020 exam series in England would be cancelled to help fight the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19), the Department for Education (DfE) has been working to develop a process which fairly recognises students’ work and makes sure they get their grades in time to progress.

The DfE has written a letter to students who were expecting to take their exams this summer which explains this process and what to expect. They have also published a guidance document for parents, carers, teachers and students with greater detail.

social media iconsFind and follow us on Facebook @OfficialDevonCC, Twitter @DevonCC, Instagram @devoncountycouncil or LinkedIn @devon-county-council for regular coronavirus updates, and to join the #WeAreDevon community.
Stay Home, Protect the NHS, Save Lives banner

The latest national advice on coronavirus (COVID-19) is available on the
Government website and NHS website.

You can find local guidance and information about the impacts on our services on the Devon County Council website.

Please note that all of our sites and offices are closed to the public, except for necessary prearranged visits, but you can still contact us if you need to.

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Stay Connected to other local authorities in Devon

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Information about coronavirus is available in different languages and formats including Easy Read from Learning Disability Devon and British Sign Language (BSL) from Sign Health. BSL users can contact Devon County Council using the InterpretersLive service. If you need information in another language or format please let us know by email via customer@devon.gov.uk or phone 0345 155 1015 or SMS text (text ‘Devon’ then your message to 80011)

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