Let’s get back to what we love safely
|The infection rate in our district has now fallen to levels we have not seen since last September (you can see the figures for yourself on the Worcestershire Coronavirus dashboard).
This is down to the sacrifices you have all made since January.
As we start to come out of lockdown we must be cautious. There is still every chance the virus could make a comeback again, even with the success of the vaccine rollout. The lockdown easing road map will only happen as planned if we stick to the rules at each stage and only do as much as we are allowed to do.
This week we have marked the one year anniversary of the first national lockdown. We have reflected on the lives lost, the hardships we have all faced and gave thanks for the dedication of our NHS and other key workers.
Let’s not wreck it now. Let’s get back to the things we love safely.
Cllr Bradley Thomas, Leader of Wychavon District Council
Lockdown easing – step one, part two
The second part of step one of the Prime Minister’s lockdown easing road map begins on Monday 29 March.
From that date:
- You can meet outdoors either in a group of six (from any number of households), or in a group of any size from up to two households (each household can include existing support bubbles, if eligible)
- You can take part in formally organised outdoor sports with any number of people (outdoor sports venues and facilities will be able to reopen)
- Childcare and supervised activities will be allowed outdoors for all children
- Formally organised parent and child groups will be able to take place outdoors for up to fifteen attendees. Children under five will not be not counted in this number
From 1 April, if you have been identified as clinically extremely vulnerable you will no longer be advised to shield. However, you should continue to take extra precautions to protect yourself. It is important you continue to keep the number of social interactions you have low and try to limit the amount of time you spend in settings where you are unable to maintain social distancing.
Read the full details of the lockdown easing road map including changes proposed in later months. All this depends on certain tests and criteria being met including keeping the infection rate low.
You can also watch this lockdown easing explainer video.
Covid-19 vaccine rollout update
The rollout of the Covid-19 is going well in our district.
So far more than 61,000 people in Wychavon have had at least their first dose.
Due to well publicised supply issues, the vaccine rollout will slow down in April meaning vaccination of those over 40 will probably not start until May.
Our local NHS will be concentrating on vaccinating anyone over 50 and remains on track to offer everyone in the first nine priority groups their first dose by 15 April and all adults by July.
If you are over 50, you do not need to wait to be invited for your vaccine, you can book now on the NHS Covid-19 vaccine booking page.
Remember, even if you have been vaccinated you could still catch the virus and pass it on to others who may be vulnerable. Please make sure you continue to follow the lockdown easing rules as restrictions start to be lifted.
More information about the vaccine and vaccination sites is available on the Herefordshire and Worcestershire Clinical Commissioning Group website.
Anyone can spread it, so get tested
About 1 in 3 people with Covid-19 do not realise they are infected as they have no symptoms and spread it unknowingly. That is why testing people without symptoms is so important.
If you do not have symptoms of Covid-19 you can now take a lateral flow test which will give you a result within an hour.
As we start to move around more with restrictions being eased, getting tested regularly is something you may wish to consider.
If you have to leave home for work because you cannot work from home, then it is recommended you get a lateral flow test twice a week.
You can book lateral flow tests at community testing sites across Worcestershire including at Pershore Leisure Centre.
Free home testing kits are also available to collect from some community testing sites.
If you do have symptoms of Covid-19 then you should get a PCR test by going online or call 119.
Self-isolation support payments
If you test positive for Covid-19 you will have to self-isolate. If you are on a low income and lose money as a result of having to self-isolate, then you may be able to claim a payment of £500.
The Government has recently extended the scheme to parents/guardians of children who have to self-isolate and as a result, they have to take time off work to look after them.
You can find out more about self-isolation support payments, the full qualifying criteria and how to apply on our website.
Wellbeing Wednesdays – make time to look after yourself
This lockdown has been hard on our mental, emotional and physical health. If you aren’t feeling great at the moment then that is understandable and okay.
Our Wellbeing Wednesdays campaign provides advice and information on how you can help look after your physical and mental health over the coming weeks and months.
Links to the e-newsletters we have sent out so far can be found below and you can receive the others by signing up to our health and wellbeing e-newsletter directly.
Support for reopening our leisure centres
The pandemic has had a big impact on our physical and mental wellbeing. Our leisure centres will have an important role to play in helping repair the damage that has been done.
That is why we are delighted to announce that the district’s leisure centres have received more than £288,000 from the National Leisure Recovery Fund. This is to help publicly-owned leisure centres and gyms recover and prepare to reopen.
Leisure centres will be able to reopen from 12 April including swimming pools.
Visit www.riversfitness.co.uk/coronavirus for more information.
Reflecting on a year of lockdown
On 23 March, we marked the National Day of Reflection as we reached the one year anniversary of the first national lockdown.
This pandemic has affected all of us in some way. Our hearts particularly go out to all those who have lost a loved one due to this terrible disease.
We released a short video using items submitted to the Malvern Hills and Wychavon Covid-19 Memory Banks to remind us of how much we have sacrificed to get this far.
You can visit our online Covid-19 Memory Bank and upload your experiences. Here are some ideas:
- Provide a tribute to a loved one or friend lost to the virus
- If you have had the virus share your experience
- Share a picture of you having the vaccine
- Write down how you are feeling now as we experience the hardship of our third lockdown but look ahead with hope to the end of this pandemic
- Tell us what you are planning to do when normal life returns? Is there anything that has changed due to Covid-19 that you would like to see become permanent?