Coronavirus - Support for people and communities - March 12, 2021

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Coronavirus - Support for people & communities - March 12, 2021

Dear resident,

We hope you’re keeping safe and well.

This week we are bringing you an update on infection rates, the vaccination programme and the new restrictions.

An update on Leeds' infection rates

The latest figures for infection rates in Leeds is currently 98.1 per 100,000 (24% down in the last 7 days) and the positivity rate is 4.8%. Although the rates have been falling, the city has this week reached the tragic milestone of recording more than 1,500 Covid-related deaths. This acts as stark reminder of the need to continue following the government guidance so we can continue reducing the rates and help prevent further deaths.

Please remember to stay at home unless essential and only travel locally, keeping your distance from those not in your household, and wear a face mask when required.

The best way to keep yourself and others safe is by acting as though you have the virus.

The vaccination programme continues to go well in Leeds, thanks to the combined efforts of NHS staff, volunteers and organisations from across the city.

A quarter of million people (251,050) in Leeds have now had their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

We need to keep going with the vaccination programme to keep the rates going down both in Leeds and across the country.


NHS text alerts for COVID-19 vaccine

The national booking service is also sending invitations and reminders to some people by text. These will be sent using the Government’s secure Notify service and will show as being sent from ‘NHSvaccine’ with a link to the website.

Changes to restrictions

From last Monday (8 March) you can now spend time in outdoor public spaces for recreation on your own, with your household or support bubble, or with one other person. This means you can sit down for a drink or picnic but you must still maintain social distancing rules. This is in addition to outdoor exercise, which is already permitted.  

If you are planning on meeting someone outside your household bubble, you can use it as an opportunity to explore the city as you should not travel outside your local area. Go to Rediscover Leeds to find trails, parks and wider suburb areas to visit.

Other changes that came into place on 8 March were:

  • Pupils and students in all schools and Further Education settings have begun returning to face-to-face education. Students on practical Higher Education courses at English universities who have not already returned will be able to return.
  • Wraparound childcare can reopen and other children’s activities can restart only where it is needed. Vulnerable children can attend childcare and other children’s activities in all circumstances.
  • The rules on visiting care homes have changed to allow regular indoor visits for a single named visitor. The visitor will have to take a rapid lateral flow test every time they visit, wear personal protective equipment (PPE) and follow other infection control measures, and keep physical contact to a minimum. Care homes can continue to offer visits to other friends or family members with arrangements such as outdoor visiting, substantial screens, visiting pods, or behind windows.

Free test kits for pupil households and pupil support bubbles

The following people in Leeds can now access regular rapid lateral flow testing:

  • Secondary school pupils.
  • Primary and secondary school staff.
  • Households, childcare and support bubbles of primary and secondary-age pupils.
  • Households, childcare and support bubbles of primary and secondary school staff.

The above groups are advised to conduct regular twice-weekly testing. As with student testing, this is encouraged but not mandatory. If you test positive you’ll need to book an additional test at any of the city-wide locations. Find out where you can get a test here.

Primary school pupils won’t be asked to test at this time.

You can access free home-testing kits in Leeds as follows:

Ventilation guidance

Whilst this week’s changes offer hope of a gradual return to a normal way of life, case rates across Leeds still remain high and it’s essential we all remember the key messages around getting tested if you have symptoms, handwashing, social distancing, face coverings, and ventilation.

Bringing fresh air into a room and removing older stale air that contains virus particles also reduces the chance of spreading COVID-19. The more fresh air that is brought inside, the quicker any airborne virus will be removed from the room.

Opening windows and doors at home is the simplest way of improving ventilation for most people.

Like buildings, enclosed vehicles including cars, vans, and buses can also be high-risk for spreading COVID-19. It is important that vehicles are well ventilated to help reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19.


Free rapid tests for all businesses for regular workplace testing

All businesses in England are now able to sign up to the government’s free COVID-19 workplace testing programme.

Workplace testing is available to all businesses, including those with fewer than 50 employees, and businesses are encouraged to register interest by 31 March to access free workplace testing

Regular testing will be a vital part of the government’s roadmap to cautiously ease restrictions

More information is available on the government’s website.