An Update from Us 17.07.22

On Sunday 17 July: COVID INFECTIONS RISING FASTER & MORE SERIOUSLY. IT’S AWFUL. PLEASE GET VACCINATED; appointments and walk-ins aren’t busy. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) suggests SWF has 842* Covid cases.  

The ONS sees infections continuing to rise quickly in England and across the UK. New Omicron variants BA.4 & BA.5 are spreading more easily, they make people more seriously ill, immunity is waning, the virus is mutating, and people are mixing more. Hospitalisations and deaths are rising. Those in Essex hospitals with Covid have more serious respiratory illness. Essex NHS is in its worst ever summer state. What will winter be like with more Covid and a forecast increase in flu?. Mid & South Essex NHS Trust running our three local acute hospitals at Broomfield, Basildon & Southend on 9 July increased Covid protection measures. Mask/face covering wearing compulsory; restrictions on visiting. https://www.mse.nhs.uk/coronavirus-covid-19

New Normal or More Restrictions? We must live with Covid as part of our world, affecting lives and sadly causing long-term serious illness and deaths. Staff absences continue to hit services and supplies.  PLEASE BEHAVE RESPONSIBLY FOR YOUR OWN AND EVERYONE’S SAKE.

The Gov.UK Coronavirus Dashboard says SWF had 49 Covid cases (p/w 32) in the week ended (w/e) 8 July. The Dashboard is inaccurate as numbers of tests fall and infections go undetected/unreported. More accurately, the Dashboardsays in w/e 8 July in England there were 691 (p/w 454) Covid deaths and in w/e 11 July 13,029 (p/w 11,028) patients admitted to hospital. There is a 3-week lag between infections and subsequent hospitalisations and deaths. The latest, more reliable, *ONS data estimates 2,838,000 (1 in 19) people in England had Covid in w/e 6 July (p/w 2,154,000 = 1 in 25). Taking the ONS estimate and SWF’s population as 16,000 that means there were actually 842 (p/w 640) SWF residents with Covid in w/e 8 July.

People testing positive for COVID-19 aren’t legally required to self-isolate. To avoid catching and spreading Covid the Government says: GET VACCINATED; ventilate indoor meetings; meet outdoors; wear face coverings in crowded enclosed spaces. Stay home if you can and avoid contact with other people.  

WHY ARE 10% OF SWF PEOPLE UNVACCINATED? On 12 July, in SWF 89.1% of  12+ year olds have had 1st jab (p/w 89.1%); 86.4% have had 2nd jab (p/w 86.3%); and 71.8% have had a 3rd dose or booster (71.7% p/w). SWF is below the national averages of 93.3% for 1st doses and 87.4% for 2nd doses, and above the national average of 68.8% for 3rd & booster doses. Most deaths from Covid in Essex and England are of people not fully vaccinated.

Our NHS and social services continue to suffer badly with Covid’s effects and its aftermath. Ambulance services and GPs are under severe pressure. Hospitals have suspended/restricted visiting, are postponing surgery & appointments, and say don’t attend A&E unless life is threatened, or you’re seriously injured.

Free Covid tests for the general public are no longer provided. Reasonably priced LFD (Lateral Flow Device) kits are available from some pharmacies and online providers.

Vaccination Hubs continue to deliver vaccinations at: Runwell Lodge, Wickford (not the Rettendon Lodge on Burnham Road); Civic Centre, Southend; Thurrock Community Hospital. Information about all vaccination centres in Essex is at: https://www.essexcovidvaccine.nhs.uk/coronavirus-vaccine/walk-in-vaccination-clinics/

National informationis at: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/coronavirus-vaccination/find-a-walk-in-coronavirus-covid-19-vaccination-site/ . Covid vaccinations can be booked online at https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/coronavirus-vaccination/book-coronavirus-vaccination/ or on 119.

Vaccines and vaccination policy information is at: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/coronavirus-vaccination/coronavirus-vaccine/. Everyone aged 5+ can get a 1st and 2nd dose of Covid vaccine. People aged 16+ and children aged 12-15 who are immunosuppressed or living with someone seriously vulnerable can also get a booster dose. People aged 12+ with severely weakened immune systems are being offered a 3rd dose and a booster 4th dose. People over 75, living in care homes, are being invited for boosters. Autumn 2022 boosters will be offered to over-50s, carers, health & care staff and clinically vulnerable people 5-49; arrangements for this are now being planned; per JCVI 15 July 2022.

SWF Health & Social Care Group has campaigned since 1999 for improved health services for the Town. We’ve helped develop many health and welfare services. From March 2020 to 30 June 2022 we delivered voluntary Covid health and care support for vulnerable people in and around SWF, delivering prescription medications, answering requests for help, and keeping everyone up to date with news bulletins, articles and reports on our website, in Focus and on social media groups. Full information about us is at https://swfhealthsocial.co.uk/  . Whilst the commissioning of our delivery of medicines stopped on 30 June, some other services are available.

Our public meeting and AGM was held virtually on Thursday 14 July. The Chief Operating Officer of Mid & South Essex NHS Foundation Trust told us about the situation in our local acute hospitals. We know the pressure they’re under. We also discussed our local GPs and other services. Our 2021-22 Annual Report was adopted and is published on our website. The recording, presentation and notes of this event will be published shortly.

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. 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 ; for hospital appointments for which you’ve been referred ring the Central Referral Service on 0300 123 0771 or Broomfield Hospital Appointments on 01245 513900; the Practices can’t provide hospital appointment details.

SWF Health & Social Care Group provides health & social care information and signposting to people, especially those at risk, isolating, housebound, and without local support. Information is on our website https://swfhealthsocial.co.uk/ . Contact us on swfhealthsocial@outlook.com or leave a voicemail on 01245 322079 which is monitored daily.