An Update from Us 20.02.2022

On Sunday 20 February: IT ISN’T OVER YET. Please get Vaccinated; appointments and walk-ins aren’t busy. SWF had 64 Covid cases in the week ended (w/e) 14 February, down from 164 w/e 29 January. 338 w/e 2 January was the highest we’ve ever had. Our previous highest was 213 w/e 2 January 2021.  

Today, Adults fully 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. Anyone infected with Covid 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. The government suggests you continue to wear masks in crowded and indoor spaces when in contact with people you don’t normally meet.

In the coming week there may be announcements to relax restrictions further. But SAGE says https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/1054509/S1509_SAGE_105_minutes.pdf : free testing will still be necessary; places of employment still need to be cautious; local public health information should continue and must emphasise the continuing needs of different people; and explains the potential dangers of future variants. Yes, we must move to the ‘new normal’ as soon as possible; but we must understand that will include caring for our loved ones who remain extremely vulnerable.

In w/e 19 February there were 317,283 [previous week (p/w) 420,919] UK Covid positive tests, 989 (p/w1,276) deaths, and in w/e 14 February 8,766 (p/w9,998) patients admitted to hospitals. There’s a 3-week lag between infections and subsequent hospitalisations and deaths; the present figures will be reflected in hospitalisations and deaths in the coming weeks. The number of tests is down over 5.1m in the last four weeks; half term and the storms have lessened contacts; so the infection figures less reliable; the next ONS data is likely to be more accurate.

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 21 January, in SWF 89.2% of people 12+ years old have had 1st jab (p/w89.0%); 84.9% have had 2nd jab (p/w 84.5%) and 69.4% have had a 3rd dose or booster (68.8% p/w). SWF is below the national average of 91.4% for 1st doses, equal with the national average of 84.9% for 2nd doses and above the national average of 66.0% for 3rd & booster doses. Most deaths and people in intensive care are unvaccinated.

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. Staff absences are affecting all supply chains.

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. 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; take up is low. It is best to make pre-arranged online appointments; walk-ins are accommodated subject to available supplies after allowing for 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 or vaccination sessions at Crouch Vale Medical Centre.  

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. 12-15-year-olds are now being offered two doses. Most younger children will be vaccinated at school during school hours. Parents/Guardians of Children aged 5-11, who are in a clinical risk group or live with someone who is immunosuppressed, will be invited to get the children a 1st dose and must wait for the NHS to contact them about this.

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 Kingsway Surgery for non-urgent or other routine matters please don’t ring but email kingsway.receptionist@nhs.net . For Greenwood Surgery phone for all clinical matters; for prescription and administration queries email greenwood.meds@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.

SWF Health & Social Care Group is working with the Town’s GPs & Pharmacists. Since March 2020 we’ve delivered over 10,200 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.