An Update from Us 16.01.2022

On Sunday 16 January: STILL IN DANGER! Latest data: In SWF we had 153 Covid cases in the week ended (w/e) 10 January, down from 338 w/e 2 January which was the highest ever figure we had reported. Our previous highest was 213 w/e 2 January 2021. We also have a lot of other bad colds, flu and respiratory illnesses.

Adults double-vaccinated 14 days before a Covid contact & children in contact don’t have to isolate but are recommended to take a LFD test. If you have symptoms or are unvaccinated and in close contact with someone who has tested positive you must take a PCR test. Everyone PCR or LFD testing positive is legally required to self-isolate. Face Masks must be worn in all retail outlets, on all public transport and in communal areas of universities, colleges & schools by staff, visitors and students in year 7 and above. Anyone infected with the Omicron variant must isolate for 10 days unless gets negative LFD results on days 5 & 6; those leaving isolation after 5 full days are strongly advised to limit close contact.

In w/e 15 January there were 824,602 [previous week (p/w) 1,227,288] UK Covid positive tests, 1,843 (p/w1,271) deaths, and in w/e 10 January 15,698 (p/w15,812) patients admitted to hospitals. There’s a 3-week lag between infections and subsequent hospitalisations and deaths; the UK has had its biggest ever increase in cases and inevitably that will be reflected in hospitalisations and deaths in the coming weeks. As PCR tests are now not undertaken after positive non-symptomatic LFD tests the number of PCR tests is down over 1m in the last week making the infection figures less reliable; the next ONS data is likely to be more accurate.

Omicron is more transmissible and the dominant variant. In Essex the guidance is: GET VACCINATED, ventilate indoor meetings; wear face masks in crowded & enclosed spaces; LFD test regularly.  

Vaccinations are crucial. Why isn’t everyone having them? On 14 January, in SWF 88.4% of people 12+ years old have had 1st jab (p/w88.2%); 83.00% have had 2nd jab (p/w 82.90%) and 67.0% have had a 3rd dose or booster (65.6% p/w). SWF is below the national averages of 90.5% 1st doses and 83.2% 2nd doses, but above the national average of 63.1% of 3rd or booster doses. Most deaths and people in intensive care are unvaccinated. In our communities many people are out of action, creating shortages and supply problems in many spheres, crippling activities.

We want to safeguard our NHS, social care, education and economy. People are ill with Covid, the super cold, flu, respiratory illnesses and conditions which have gone untreated during Covid. Our ambulance service and GPs are under severe pressure. Local hospitals have suspended visiting, are postponing surgery & appointments, and say don’t attend A&E unless life is threatened, or you’re seriously injured.  

SWF’s Pharmacies have limited supplies of Lateral Flow Device (LFD) test kits for which a collect code is required, obtainable at: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/testing/regular-rapid-coronavirus-tests-if-you-do-not-have-symptoms/ . LFD kits are available at SWF Library, subject to supplies and deliveries. SWF Library is open: Tuesdays 0845-1900, Wednesdays 0845-1300, Thursdays & Fridays 0845-1730 & Saturdays 0900-1700. For the time being SWF Leisure Centre does NOT have LFD kits. Distribution problems continue for LFD kits. The online request service is operating, and delivery is promised in three days; if you’re able please go online at https://www.gov.uk/order-coronavirus-rapid-lateral-flow-tests . LFDs are quick and easy to use. PCR (polymerase chain reaction) tests are mainly for people with Covid symptoms. Free ones can be ordered/booked at https://www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test or ringing 119 if you can’t use the online service.

Covid Vaccination sessions are at Tylers Ride Vaccination Hub and elsewhere. It is best to make pre-arranged online appointments; walk-ins are accommodated from time to time subject to available supplies after allowing for all booked appointments increased by any DNAs; if you arrive unbooked when the Hub is open you will be told whether or not you can be jabbed. There are no walk-ins at Crouch Vale Medical Centre where vaccinations are only by prior booked appointments and at present there are no more vaccination sessions there.

Information about mass vaccination centres at Tylers Ride and all in Essex, including opening times, is at: https://eput.nhs.uk/news-events/coronavirus/coronavirus-vaccine/ . Covid vaccinations can be booked online at https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/coronavirus-vaccination/book-coronavirus-vaccination/ or on 119. Full information, including the ability to find a walk-in vaccination site, is at https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/coronavirus-vaccination/find-a-walk-in-coronavirus-covid-19-vaccination-site/ .

Essex vaccination information is at: https://www.essexcovidvaccine.nhs.uk/ . 18-year-olds & older can have boosters 3 months after a 2nd dose; they should also wait at least 28 days after any Covid infection. 16 & 17-year-olds can get 1st & 2nd jabs and at least 3 months after their 2nd jab can book boosters or attend walk-in centres from Monday 17 January. 12-15-year-olds are now being offered two doses. Most younger children will be vaccinated at school during school hours.

Ring 999 for life-threatening emergencies. Ring 111 to book other A&E attendance slots at any time or for all other out of hours’ services.

If you need to contact GPs at CVMC for non-urgent or other routine matters please don’t ring but email your practice greenwood.meds@nhs.net or kingsway.receptionist@nhs.net ; please don’t contact them about hospital appointments for which you have been referred but ring the Central Referral Service on 0300 123 0771 or Broomfield Hospital Appointment Line on 01245 123 0771 as the Practices can’t provide hospital appointment details. Because of the postal problems Broomfield Hospital is telephoning patients about appointments for the next few weeks.

SWF Health & Social Care Group is working with the Town’s GPs & Pharmacists. Since March 2020 we’ve delivered over 9800 tasks. We provide health & social care support, information and signposting to patients & people in SWF and surrounds, especially those at risk, isolating, staying at home, and without local support. Information is on our website https://swfhealthsocial.co.uk/ . Contact us with queries on swfhealthsocial@outlook.com ; if you don’t have internet access leave a voicemail on 01245 322079 which is monitored daily.

Hands-Face-Space; stay safe, protect our NHS, save lives.