Friday 18 March 2022
In this update:
- “Five things I encourage people to do”, says Director of Public Health Devon
- Rising cases of coronavirus in care homes and hospitals
- Straw poll results show support for following public health guidance
- Devon celebrates social workers
- Consumer Rights Day – learn how to shield yourself online
- …and much, much more!
“Five things I encourage people to do”, says Director of Public Health Devon
Steve Brown, Director of Public Health Devon, said this week that he suspects that, because COVID-19 restrictions have lifted, there may be people who are uncertain now of what they should be doing if they have symptoms of an infectious illness, or they test positive for coronavirus.
But COVID-19 case numbers in Devon are rising again, and the latest data shows a 63.4 per cent increase in cases in a seven day period.
So he has listed five things that he is encouraging people to do:
- stay at home if you can, if you have symptoms of coronavirus or any infectious illness, or have tested positive for COVID-19, and avoid seeing others until you’re better 🏘️
- unless you are exempt, please continue to wear face coverings when in indoor public spaces with people you don’t live with 😷
- still test, especially before visiting older or vulnerable people, or before going to your GP or to visit someone in hospital. And to stay home, if you test positive, for five days or until your symptoms have gone 🧪
- keep up with your vaccinations, because they’re proven to help protect you and others from becoming ill 💉
- wash your hands regularly 🧼
Rising cases of coronavirus in care homes and hospitals
Coronavirus outbreaks in care homes, and an increase in the number of people in hospital with COVID-19, have led to a fresh appeal to visitors who don’t feel well, to please stay away.
Care home providers, NHS Devon, and the Director of Public Health Devon have asked, if people feel unwell or test positive for coronavirus, please do not visit care home residents or hospital inpatients at this time.
“Whilst restrictions elsewhere are lowered, it’s vital that we all stay safe,” said Lucy Bull, a Director of the Devon Care Homes Collaborative.
“If you are planning to visit a care home, make sure you call ahead to check their procedures. And if you don’t feel well on the day of your visit, please don’t visit! You may just prevent a loved one becoming ill or even putting the care home into outbreak.”
Public Health Devon is advising people to be cautious, and say many care homes still require visitors to follow their rules.
And with high demand for emergency care and nearly 300 people now in local hospitals with COVID-19, NHS Devon is asking the public to play their part.
They’re reminding people that they are still required to wear face coverings in health settings, and that they should wash and sanitise their hands.
And they’re asking people to choose the right service for their needs, and to keep the Emergency Department for emergencies, recommending people use their local pharmacist for minor conditions; or the HANDi paediatric app for advice on common childhood illnesses; or NHS 111, online or by phone, for advice or medical treatment quickly if they can’t see their GP.
Straw poll results show support for following public health guidance
The votes are in on a straw poll we launched last week, seeking to find out more about your attitude to risk, and how you think you’ll behave in future now that coroanvirus restrictions are largely gone.
Thanks to those of you who responded! We have had nearly 3,600 responses to the poll.
A fuller description of the results is available on our news page, but here’s a summary.
The vast majority of you tell us that you will stay at home if you develop symptoms of coronavirus rather than risk spreading it to others.
Asked whether you’ll carry on wearing face coverings when in crowded indoor spaces, and again a large majority of you say you will.
And a huge number of you feel safer meeting people outside in the fresh air.
But the results today show that you are split, almost equally, on the question about whether or not you will continue to test when you have to pay for those tests.
Steve Brown, Director of Public Health Devon, says that while the straw poll doesn’t describe a consensus for the county, the results however are encouraging.
“Just as Devon residents have been good at complying with guidance throughout this pandemic, these responses suggest that people will continue to follow what they see as common sense measures that will protect themselves and others around them.
“The most important advice, if you have symptoms, is too take action to prevent further spread to your colleagues and loved ones.
“I would like to thank all of you who have taken part in our straw poll, and engaging with us on social media.”
All remaining COVID-19 international travel restrictions are removed today, Friday 18 March.
No one entering the UK now needs to take tests or complete a passenger locator form.
All tests for passengers who do not qualify as vaccinated will be lifted.
And hotels, that have been used for quarantine, will cease to be used for that purpose at the end of the month.
The government says it will maintain a range of contingency measures in reserve, which would enable it to take ‘swift and proportionate’ action to delay any future variants of coronavirus entering the UK, should the need arise.
Five days, five social workers. This week we’ve been celebrating Social Work Week, the one week of the year that we stop to acknowledge the amazing difference that social workers have in supporting people with their lives.
We’ve heard from Florina, Rosie, Claire, Jade and Jo, all of whom have expressed their complete and utter enthusiasm for being able to get to know the people they support well, and helping them.
We asked them what they love about being social workers, why they got into it, and whether they’d recommend it.
You can read a little of what they said in the news story on our web page, or you can listen to what they said on Twitter.
Devon residents have one last chance to give their views on plans that aim to make sure the county is net-zero by 2050 at the latest.
The final consultation on the Devon Carbon Plan began yesterday, and runs until Thursday 14 April.
It focuses on three vital areas: building and transport, which account for 70 per cent of Devon’s carbon emissions, and onshore wind.
The carbon plan’s been created by the Devon Climate Emergency, a partnership of businesses, public bodies, and voluntary groups. And it consolidates the latest scientific evidence and, through previous consultations and last summer’s Climate Assembly, contributions from the public.
“The recommendations from the Assembly were clear,” says Professor Patrick Devine Write, Chairman of the Net-Zero Task Force. “Now is the time to make sure the Climate Assembly has impact – to turn its recommendations into specific policies and actions and to ensure that those actions are strong enough to have real impacts on climate change.”
You can respond to the questionnaire online, or by completing a questionnaire at your local library. Or you can order a free copy of the questionnaire by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by phoning 0345 155 1015.
We’re developing plans to complete a missing link of the Drake’s Trail, near the A386 north of Plymouth.
The existing multi-use trail offers a high quality and well used route from Tavistock, through Yelverton to the Clearbrook Leat car park, before heading onwards towards the east of Plymouth. However, there is currently no safe, accessible route to the north of the city.
So we’re in the early stages of exploring two route options to extend the trail between Clearbrook and Roborough, and people are being asked to provide their views on the options by completing an online questionnaire by Friday 6 May.
There is one more online webinar event as part of the consultation, on Thursday 31 March at 3.00pm.
You can register for the event online or by emailing email@example.com.
To request a paper copy of the consultation leaflet and/or the questionnaire, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or write to Transportation Planning, County Hall, Topsham Road, Exeter, EX2 2QD.
On Tuesday it was World Consumer Rights Day, and the focus was how digital technology is reshaping how we shop, bank, borrow, and access services like insurance.
The change has been sped up by the COVID-19 pandemic, and it’s estimated that by 2024 more than 40 per cent of the world’s population will be banking online – and this means record numbers will be exposed to scams, frauds, phishing and data theft.
So our ‘Heart of the Southwest Trading Standards’ service is advising
people to find out how to protect themselves.
In the UK alone, the public spends around £2bn a week on online purchases and according to the Citizens Advice the sharp increase in online spending over the last two years has also led to a near doubling of complaints.
People are having a range of problems when shopping online, including issues relating to scams and defective goods, and concerns about parcel delivery.
The National Cyber Security Centre website is government funded and gives helpful tips and advice on areas including where to shop, using credit cards, personal information, suspicious emails and messages and what to do if things go wrong.