Highlights from the Hubs update - Friday, 10 July

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Hi everyone! The latest newsletter must mean it’s the end of another week – they are flying by at an alarming rate right now! And this week we’ve seen the start of the changes to the shielding programme being implemented. People who have been shielding have been able to meet with others for the first time in many months, and the relief must have been huge. Further changes are to come of course, and we’ll keep you updated on this as things progress.

Ultimately, the need for people to shield will be paused from 1 August, but this also means the national food delivery service will also be paused. It’s really important therefore that everybody that should be shielding is registered via the national scheme before 17 July in order to secure a priority supermarket home delivery slot for August onwards, especially if they are still a little reluctant to venture out just yet. There’s more detail on this in this week’s edition.

Of course we’ve also all been able to get out to the pub or restaurant, still following the national guidelines, and this has been great both for us and our high streets. The response across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough has been really positive, and we’ve all now got the added incentive of ‘eating out to help out’ with 50% of a meal during August!! I’m making my table reservations now!!

Thanks for taking the time to look at the latest newsletter, stay safe everyone and very best wishes.

Adrian Chapman, Service Director: Communities and Partnerships, Peterborough City Council and Cambridgeshire County Council

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Register now if you’re shielding to access priority supermarket slots

People who have been encouraged to register as shielding are being urged to do so before the 17 July deadline, whether they need help at the moment or not. Although the shielding programme will be paused on 31 July, people on the shielded list who register for support with essential supplies before 17 July will still be able to access priority supermarket delivery slots from this date.  

In addition, the council will be keeping a record of everyone who is shielding, so that if there is a need for lockdown again, it has the details of everyone who might need support.  

Adrian Chapman, Service Director: Communities and Partnerships for Peterborough City Council and Cambridgeshire County Council, said: “If you’ve been contacted by the NHS and advised that you need to shield and have not yet registered, please think about doing so, whether you need help at the moment or not. 

"Registering will allow us to keep in contact with you and provide support if there is a further lockdown and will allow you to access priority supermarket delivery slots, which may be useful to you in the coming weeks and months. To access these slots, please make sure you tick the box which asks for help with accessing essential supplies when you register.

“In addition, if you have registered and told us you don’t need help with accessing food, you won’t be able to access priority supermarket slots. If you would like to be able to, please contact the national shielding programme to change your preferences." To register on the shielded list, or to amend your preferences, visit www.gov.uk/coronavirus-extremely-vulnerable or call 0800 028 8327. 

In addition, the Government has confirmed this week that the majority of children currently considered extremely clinical vulnerable to coronavirus (COVID-19) will be able to be removed from the shielded patient list from 31 July.

Children will only be removed from the shielded patient list by their GP or specialist doctor following consultation with them and their families. Specialists and GPs will be asked to contact families to discuss this over the summer, so people do not need to take any immediate action. 

The Government has decided to take this action following independent evidence from the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH), working with specialists in paediatric medicine, which shows the risk of serious illness for children and young people is low and only those with the most severe conditions should now be considered clinically extremely vulnerable.

 More information is available at www.gov.uk.

Spotlight on our staff...

Steve Bass

Steve Bass has worked in Environmental Health (pollution) for the past 19 years (for Peterborough and Fenland) and has been redeployed since the start of April as a Covid-19 co-ordinator at the Countywide Hub, dealing with the multitude of requests for help submitted by those identified as being at the highest risk if they contract Covid-19.

“Life in the hub has been challenging but incredibly rewarding and my experience and training in Environmental Health has been invaluable in dealing with the range of customers, their needs and concerns

“The hub is made up of practitioners form across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, from different teams all bringing a wealth of experience and skill sets. We have a real ‘one team’ approach that has enabled us to develop a service from scratch that meets the needs of the 32,000 shielded residents and their families.

“We have had to constantly adapt to the changing needs and issues as they have arisen - the early days of April seem like a lifetime ago when we were swamped with requests for emergency food and arranging the delivery of prescriptions.

“Once the Government announced the official date for the pause in the requirement to shield we have been focusing on how to transition and enable those shielding, who may not have left their homes for five months, a safe route back to the outside world.

“From the discussions with a range of shielded individuals we found a common degree of nervousness about how they could keep themselves safe, as the safety nets put in place during shielding are scaled back.

“For some residents their last experience of a supermarket was back in March when shelves were bare and panic buying was in full swing, and they are very anxious at the thought of visiting such an environment.

“We have been telling them of our experiences and reiterating the Government advice on the precautions they will need to take, but realised we needed to do more to give people the confidence that they need.  We are exploring a range of options, such as information on how shopping experiences have changed and what organisations are providing assistance, as well as practical measures such as the possibility of providing face masks to those who need one for their first trip out.

As we approach the pause in shielding and the scaling back of the activities at the hub, I have begun my "repatriation" with my team, working one day a week back with the Pollution Team.  It feels good to be back doing a job I love, but I will carry with me the benefit of my time in the hub, which I am incredibly grateful to have been part of.

Keep caring for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough

keep caring

Residents across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough are being urged by civic and community leaders from across the county to “Keep caring” for one another, as coronavirus hasn’t gone away.

A campaign launched this week to reinvigorate public health messages and remind people that while lockdown restrictions are gradually being lifted – everyone needs to take action to help us all return to a more normal life.

With certain government restrictions relaxed from last weekend (Saturday 4 July), including being able to meet in groups of up to two households in any location - public or private, indoors or outdoors - it remains the case that even inside someone’s home you should continue to keep a safe distance from anyone not in your household or bubble.

The Keep Caring campaign led by Cambridgeshire County Council and Peterborough City Council, and supported by Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority, Cambridgeshire Constabulary, the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner, Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service, East of England Ambulance Service, the local NHS, community organisations and local district councils, outlines ways that people can take care of themselves and each other - for instance highlighting that:

  • Caring is keeping your distance - inside or outside
  • Caring is being responsible - staying isolated if you think you’ve got symptoms, or been close to someone who has
  • Caring is covering your face - even with no symptoms you might still spread virus
  • Caring is washing your hands - regularly, when you enter or leave a new place

It also points out that:

  • Caring is staying and buying local - to support local businesses and jobs
  • Caring is being considerate - rubbish destroys our countryside, and puts those who clear it up at risk

Dr Liz Robin, Director of Public Health for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough said: “It is the public who have reduced the transmission of coronavirus so far. By taking care of themselves and each other, fatalities and infection rates in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough have continued to fall.

 “But our message is that this caring can’t stop now, as the most important thing we can continue to do is to stay alert, control the virus, and, in doing so, save more lives.

 “The government updated its plan for social distancing from 4 July, but the message remains strong that to continue to reduce the transmission of the virus, we should continue good hygiene rules, washing our hands and surfaces often, remain physically distant from people outside of our household, and keep your mouth and nose covered where you can’t be sure of staying apart.”

Highlighting our online and digital response to the pandemic

Kat Sexton is a digital services architect for LGSS Digital who has been working with the Countywide Co-ordination Hub since March.

Kat has been coordinating the online and digital response to COVID and has been working with the hub coordination team to design effective online services for people needing help or wanting to provide help to others. 

Kat and the LGSS Digital team designed and built a CRM system in one week for the shielded case officers to record the proactive contact with our shielded population.  This system has been iterated on over the weeks that followed and is continuously being improved and adapted to meet the changing needs of the COVID hub.

She has written a blog post about her time with the hub, sharing achievements of the team and what she has learned. You can read the post here.

Help us share translations of NHS Test and Trace

test and trace

People across the county are being asked to share translations of the important NHS Test and Trace messages, including where people can access help and support if they are isolating.

Currently there are 13 translations available and residents are being urged to share them far and wide using their own channels, so that as many people as possible understand the need to use Test and Trace. The translations also inform people how they can access help and support via the hub network and what steps they can take to limit the spread of the virus.

The translations are available at www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/coronavirus and www.peterborough.gov.uk/coronavirus with more languages being added all the time.

The network of support hubs is available to assist people who are having to isolate, either because they or someone they live with has symptoms ,or because they have been asked to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace as they have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for the virus.

A user-friendly guide to NHS Test and Trace, including a Q&A document, is also available on the websites of both councils.