Category Archives: Coronavirus

Covid-19 Vaccination Programme – Briefing Update from Surrey Heartlands

I received this update from Surrey Heartlands Health and Care Partnership:

Our vaccination programme scaled up considerably this week with the launch of our large vaccination centre at Epsom Racecourse on Monday (11 January). This site is also shared with some of our GP-led vaccination services. It means significantly more people can be vaccinated and is initially focusing on people over 80 years of age and health and care workers.

Secretary of State for Health and Care, Matt Hancock and Professor Stephen Powis, National Medical Director also visited the launch to hear from staff and patients about the progress being made. National, regional and local media followed the action and you can see some of the highlights from BBC, Sky News, ITV, Surrey Live and over on our Twitter feed.

89 year old Moira Edwards from Epsom was first to receive her vaccine and said it was “extremely important” to get it.

We also now have all our planned GP-led services up and running and the first pharmacy vaccination site open in Guildford.

The full list of services is:

We are starting to receive more supplies of the Oxford Astra Zeneca vaccine. As this is easier to transport it means significant progress is also being made with vaccinating care home residents and staff.

We have also been vaccinating at the Royal Surrey County Hospital in Guildford and Surrey and Sussex Hospitals in Redhill. Other NHS staff hubs will join shortly to cover all frontline health and care staff across the county. As more vaccine becomes available, we will move – where possible – to providing services 12 hours/day, 7 days/week.

Booking a vaccination

If you are aged over 80 you may have received a letter from NHS England inviting you for a vaccine at a larger vaccination centre which is located up to 45 minutes from your home. This is part of the national booking system. On receipt of this letter an appointment can be made online or by calling 119. Find out more. You may also be contacted by your local GP Network. These appointments will be available in a community setting and could be closer to home. We would recommend that you take an appointment as soon as possible – this may be at a local GP-led service.

Those over 80s who haven’t been contacted yet will be invited soon; they won’t be missed out.

We will then expand the programme to further cohorts, starting with the over 75s. All vaccination sites will keep you safe from COVID-19 through a range of measures including cleaning and disinfecting and having social distancing in waiting areas.

Please also wear a face covering to your appointment.

Help us to help you :

  • Please do not contact your GP practice or the wider NHS to seek a vaccine, we will contact you (if you haven’t heard yet, we haven’t forgotten you)
  • When we do contact you, please attend your booked appointments
  • Please do not arrive too early for your vaccination appointment to help us maintain social distancing measures

New support centre to manage enquiries

We have set up a dedicated mailbox and telephone line to manage enquiries – the email address is: syheartlandsccg.vaccination@nhs.net

The phone number will go live on Monday and details will be published on our website (www.surreyheartlandsccg.nhs.uk) and in our next update.

Advice from The Rotary Club of Haslemere regarding Vaccination

I am sharing this checklist produced by The Rotary Club Of Haslemere regarding the vaccination programme.

There is so much confusion about the vaccination process and far too many scams happening right now. Although there is no definite process in place we thought to share some important points to consider. They suggest this list which should be used as a guideline. Check https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus if in doubt.

1. Do not ring your GP, hospital or the NHS for an appointment. Everyone is on their database and should be offered an appointment, by post or phone, to go to a vaccination hub or their GP when their “number” comes up. If you would find it difficult to get to a vaccination Hub you may request that you have an appointment with your GP or somewhere more local.

2. Write your NHS number on a piece of paper and keep it by your phone. You could be asked for this when you respond to their initial contact. If you don’t know your NHS number it can be found on any documentation you will have received previously from your GP (e.g. prescription), hospital or the NHS.

3. When you visit for your appointment wear clothing which gives you easy access to the shoulder you prefer the injection to be in. This is to avoid queues forming e.g. whilst people struggle with multiple layers of tight fitting clothing.

4. Very few people have any adverse reaction to the injection, except for a small pin prick from the needle and maybe a slight warm feeling. You will be required to sit quietly for 15 minutes after the injection whilst the staff observe you to ensure there is no adverse reaction.

5. The whole procedure from check-in on arrival to departure after the 15 minute observation should take about 30 minutes, but be prepared for delays if people arrive unprepared.

6. If you have an adverse reaction when you get home it is probably best to phone 111 letting them know what you have just experienced following a recent vaccination.

7. Only phone your GP Surgery about a Covid vaccination if you hear via the media/press that your age group has been fully vaccinated, but you haven’t.

8. More detailed information will be given to you during your appointment.

Surrey Council Core Brief

Core Brief 05/01/21

SURREY DATA:

The R rate for South East is 1.2-1.4 as of the latest update from gov.uk (23rd December). It’s normally updated every Friday but they seemed to have paused over the Christmas break.

Overall, the 7-day rate in Surrey has gone up 23% from 18-24 December (545.1) to 25-31 December (670.8). This will still be affected by holiday reporting, so is likely to go further in the coming 7 days.

Please note the different time period for the positivity data.

*Positivity – weekly percentage of individuals that test positive.

  7-Day Rate
27 Dec – 02 Jan
7-Day Cases
27 Dec – 02 Jan 
7-Day Positivity*
24 Dec – 30 Dec
England 550.0 309,591  
South East 632.7 58,080 18.9 
Surrey 673.7 8,059 19.3 
Spelthorne 854.3 853 23.8
Surrey Heath 751.4 671 20.7
Epsom and Ewell 740.4 597 20.2
Reigate and Banstead 730.8 1,087 17.9
Elmbridge 715.7 979 19.1
Woking 712.4 718 21.3
Tandridge 709.2 625 19.3
Waverley 623.0 787 17.5
Runnymede 607.2 543 18.6
Guildford 522.2 778 18.7
Mole Valley 482.5 421 15.6

NATIONAL COVID HOSPITAL ADMISSIONS – PROVIDED BY CABINET OFFICE:

Date National Covid-19 hospital admissions
1st September 2020 496
1st November 2020 9,623
Christmas day 2020 17,701
4th January 2021 26,626

Key messages:

  • The Government has taken the decision to legislate new national lockdown restrictions because of a number of indicators, including the infection rate in the over 60s, the rate at which positive cases are rising and pressures on the NHS.
  • There has been a stark rise in national Covid hospital admissions (see above) and now is the time to take action to prevent our crucial frontline services being stretched even further.
  • Rates are now very high across the board in Surrey. There has been an alarming increase in rates across all age groups, this is particularly serious for the over 60s who are known to be more vulnerable to the virus.
  • We are also able to share for the first time the positivity rates, which is the percentage of tests that are positive in each district and borough. This has increased rapidly in Surrey in recent days. Spelthorne currently has the highest positivity in Surrey – almost one in four tests carried out there are positive. Other districts and boroughs are not far behind. This is a strong indicator that there is real cause for concern.
  • While this lockdown is not entirely unexpected news, it has a huge impact on all our lives and it is not the start to 2021 that we had hoped for. However, it is clear from public health data and the pressure across our National Health Service that these measures are absolutely necessary in order to save lives.
  • I want to reassure everybody in Surrey that the County Council will continue to do everything we possibly can to guide our residents and businesses through this latest stage in our response to COVID-19.
  • Together with our partners of the Local Resilience Forum, we have worked tirelessly to protect residents and equip our frontline services.
  • We will step up support to the most vulnerable, frontline services, and work with our education providers over the coming days, and continue to communicate openly with residents.
  • If people don’t follow the rules now, we are going to see rates rising even higher and the dangerous knock-on effect of that in our hospitals, stretching the NHS and frontline services even further and ultimately more deaths.
  • Despite Tier 4 restrictions in place over Christmas our rates were still going up. The majority of people are doing the right thing and following the rules, but we have to think about the places where people are still mixing with others and make sure we are being extra vigilant.
  • Make sure you are following the correct guidelines on support bubbles (you can only form one support bubble, with one other household – further guidance below). If you are mixing with others outdoors, only meet with one other person, by yourself, if they are not in your support bubble or don’t live in your house. Remember hands, face, space and continue to socially distance in shops and supermarkets. Even if you are wearing face coverings it is important to keep your distance from people not in your household or support bubble.
  • There is hope for the future – the vaccine gives us that clear hope that there is a way out – but the vaccination programme will take time, so we have some exceptionally tough months to get through first.
  • I want to reassure everybody in Surrey that the County Council will continue to do everything we possibly can to guide our residents and businesses through this latest stage in our response to COVID-19.
  • We have been at the forefront of the response here since the first UK transmitted case was reported in Surrey in February last year.

What about the effect on Businesses?

  • This has been an incredibly difficult time for all businesses that will now have to close again. It is hugely frustrating after all the work that has gone into adapting to COVID guidance during the previous months.
  • I am pleased that support is available again from government but there is no getting away from the fact that this will be very tough for businesses. Unfortunately there is a clear public health need and we simply must take measures to stop the spread.

LOCKDOWN RULES – HOW DO THEY DIFFER TO TIER 4?

[Refer detailed questions to guidance on the .gov.uk Covid web pages]

LEAVING HOME:

You must not leave, or be outside of your home except where necessary. You may leave the home to:

  • shop for basic necessities, for you or a vulnerable person
  • go to work, or provide voluntary or charitable services, if you cannot reasonably do so from home
  • exercise with your household (or support bubble) or one other person, this should be limited to once per day, and you should not travel outside your local area.
  • meet your support bubble or childcare bubble where necessary, but only if you are legally permitted to form one
  • seek medical assistance or avoid injury, illness or risk of harm (including domestic abuse)
  • attend education or childcare – for those eligible

Colleges, primary and secondary schools will remain open only for vulnerable children and the children of critical workers. All other children will learn remotely until February half term. Early Years settings remain open.

Higher Education provision will remain online until mid-February for all except future critical worker courses.

If you do leave home for a permitted reason, you should always stay local in the village, town, or part of the city where you live. You may leave your local area for a legally permitted reason, such as for work.

If you are clinically extremely vulnerable you should only go out for medical appointments, exercise or if it is essential. You should not attend work.

MEETING OTHERS:

  • You cannot leave your home to meet socially with anyone you do not live with or are not in a support bubble with (if you are legally permitted to form one).
  • You may exercise on your own, with one other person, or with your household or support bubble.
  • You should not meet other people you do not live with, or have formed a support bubble with, unless for a permitted reason.

Stay 2 m apart from anyone not in your household.

VACCINATION MESSAGES – Surrey Heartlands:

When and where is the Oxford vaccine roll-out starting locally?

As part of the national roll-out, we will start to receive small quantities of supplies of the Oxford vaccine later this week; supplies will ramp up over the coming weeks and we will gradually roll it out across our sites. 

Supplies will be small to start with and we will gradually roll it out across our sites over the coming weeks – the whole vaccination programme is dependent on the supplies of the vaccine. 

The new vaccine will be easier to store and transport and will enable us to ramp up roving services to care homes, the housebound and so on

If asked we could add:

  • We expect Epsom Racecourse to go live as larger vaccination centre from next week
  • Additional local GP-led vaccination services are going live across the county over next couple of weeks

How is the rollout going?

Across Surrey Heartlands we have been working hard over just three short weeks to deliver the Pfizer vaccine, through our first hospital hub at Royal Surrey, in GP-led community vaccination sites and we’ve just started a roving model to start vaccinating in care homes

NHS staff are doing an incredible job to deliver what it is the largest vaccination programme in our history, at the same time as continuing to be there for everyone who needs care.

This whole programme has been set up really quickly, starting with the over 80s and care home residents & staff as priorities; I would like to reassure any of your listeners that if you are within these groups and haven’t heard directly from us yet, we will get to you soon.  Please help us by not contacting us directly, we will contact you as soon as we can.

The collaboration with local partners has also been incredible and has allowed us to roll this out at pace.

Important to include if you can:

The large increase in cases hospitals are seeing and the emergence of a new variant of the virus also shows that we cannot let our guard down now and even those who have received a vaccine still need to follow social distancing guidance. 

The public have an important part to play to help us do this:

  • please don’t contact the NHS to seek a vaccine, we will contact you;
  • when we do contact you, please attend your booked appointments;
  • and really importantly, please continue to follow all the guidance to control the virus and save lives.

 This is the biggest vaccination programme the NHS has ever undertaken. It is a huge challenge, and not everything will always go perfectly.

The NHS is well-used to delivering millions of vaccines a year and is moving quickly to roll out this vaccine to those who need it, but it’s important that we remember this will be a marathon, not a sprint.

On pressure on the NHS, and potential of new lockdown measure:

As long as cases continue to rise there will be pressure on the NHS.

Locally whilst our health system, including our hospitals, is under considerable pressure we are holding our own – however the next few weeks are expected to be particularly difficult as we await any direct impact from the Christmas and New Year period on hospital admissions.

I cannot stress enough how important it is for people to follow the guidance and stay at home wherever possible.

SURREY HEARTLANDS – INCREASING CAPACITY OF NHS SERVICES

Due to the impact of Covid-19 on local NHS services, we are doing all we can as system, to increase capacity. This includes opening more beds and redeploying staff to support our Covid-19 response. As cases of Covid-19 continue to rise we have been working collaboratively as a system to put measures in place that will enable us to prioritise how we provide care to those who are most critically ill.

This is not a decision we have taken lightly but we must focus our efforts on those who need the most urgent and life-saving care. This means we have now postponed many routine and non-urgent elective procedures and operations across our system so we can focus on urgent and cancer care, including caring for those with Covid-19.

These new measures include:

·  Opening up additional beds within our acute and community hospitals to help create additional capacity for people who need to be admitted. This includes plans to open additional beds at the NHS Seacole Centre.

·  Prioritising urgent and cancer care over non-urgent care. This has meant postponing some routine planned elective procedures and non-urgent operations to help create additional bed capacity and free up staff who can then be deployed to support our Covid-19 response.

·  Moving to virtual (telephone and online) appointments for many outpatient services to reduce the number of people travelling to hospitals and other sites to reduce transmission of the virus.

·  Working together as a system, across health and social care, to discharge people from hospitals as soon as they are well enough to leave, with the right support and the right package of care.

·  Working with our independent sector partners (such as private hospitals) to identify any additional bed capacity and any clinical staff that could be deployed to other sites if needed.

·  Temporarily suspending home birth services due to ongoing pressures on the ambulance service which means SECAMB are unable to guarantee a timely ambulance response to those women choosing to plan their birth at home or in a stand-alone midwifery unit should they experience an emergency.

Importantly, patients who have appointments should still attend; if we need to reschedule an appointment patients will be contacted directly. Importantly, primary care services remain open.

For those who need urgent care which can’t be managed via a GP appointment, we would urge people to contact NHS 111 first, either online via www.nhs.uk or by calling 111; please keep A&E for emergencies only.

The measures we have put in place will allow us to care for those who need the most urgent help over the next few weeks; we will of course keep the situation under constant review so we can restore these non-urgent services as soon as possible. In the meantime, NHS services are available for those who really need help; spotting problems early is vital, especially cancers, and GPs continue to refer patients who need urgent treatment to hospitals as normal.

Further guidance

SUPPORT BUBBLE RULES – people must follow exact rules:

It is important that people understand the rules for support bubbles.

Not everybody can form a support bubble. You can form a support bubble with another household of any size if:

  • you live by yourself – even if carers visit you to provide support
  • you are the only adult in your household who does not need continuous care as a result of a disability
  • your household includes a child who is under the age of one or was under that age on 2 December 2020
  • your household includes a child with a disability who requires continuous care and is under the age of 5, or was under that age on 2 December 2020
  • you are aged 16 or 17 living with others of the same age and without any adults
  • you are a single adult living with one or more children who are under the age of 18 or were under that age on 12 June 2020

You should not form a support bubble with a household that is part of another support bubble.

If you share custody of a child with someone you do not live with, the child can move freely between both parents’ households. You do not need to form a support bubble to do this.

You can form a support bubble if you are eligible.

SCHOOLS

Colleges, primary (reception onwards) and secondary schools will remain open for vulnerable children and the children of critical workers. All other children will learn remotely until February half term.

In the circumstances, the Government does not think it is possible for all exams in the summer to go ahead as planned. DfE will accordingly be working with Ofqual to consult rapidly to put in place alternative arrangements that will allow students to progress fairly.

  • Mass secondary school testing will still go ahead for staff and those pupils (critical worker parents or vulnerable) in school
  • If one parent is a critical worker children will be eligible to attend school
  • Head teachers will have the flexibility to allow children who struggle to access learning remotely to attend school

Mobile Coronavirus Testing – Haslemere

Dear Councillors and Clerks, 

A mobile Coronavirus testing facility is being established in Weydown Road Car Park, Haslemere, from Friday 25 December to Sunday 27 December.  It will return to Weydown Road from Friday 1 January to Sunday 3 January.

Testing is available to all those with COVID-19 symptoms, but must be pre-booked online. Booking for this site is open from 5pm the evening before and on the day. 

Residents should book on the national testing portal: visiting www.nhs.uk/coronavirus or call the NHS on 119. 

Those without an appointment will be turned away. 

You can walk into the testing centre, but will still need a pre-booked appointment. 

Please feel free to share with your networks. 

Kind regards,

Communications and Engagement Officer

Waverley Borough Council

Covid-19 community vaccination programme for Surrey

Dear Stakeholder,

Covid-19 community vaccination programme for Surrey Surrey Heartlands CCG have been receiving lots of enquiries from the public regarding the Covid-19 vaccination programme in Surrey.


The Frequently Asked Questions are being updated regularly and can be found here. Please share these FAQs with your network.

Please encourage local people not to contact the NHS to seek a Covid-19 vaccine appointment, and reassure them they will be contacted when an appointment is available. We would ask you to encourage local people to help the NHS by being patient.

When people are contacted, they are urged to attend their booked appointment. Please also remind people that both doses of the vaccine are needed for it to be effective (which is about 7 days after the second dose).

Your help with sharing these key messages is much appreciated.

Finally, we would remind everyone to please continue to follow all the latest guidance to control the virus and save lives.

Thank you for your continued support.

Covid vaccination begins tomorrow in Haslemere

Covid vaccination begins tomorrow in Haslemere.

The first community Covid vaccination starts in Haslemere tomorrow, running 8am-8pm in St Christopher’s Church – Weds to Friday this week.  There is no parking outside the church. It will be a drop off zone for people being vaccinated.

Please be patient if there are some traffic issues around St Christopher’s Green!

Locally Supported Contact Tracing Starts in Surrey

Press Release issued 26th November 2020

From today, Surrey County Council will be supporting the national Test and Trace programme by contacting people in the county who have tested positive for COVID-19, if the national programme has been unable to reach them.

Contact tracing is one of the most effective ways of slowing the spread of COVID-19. People who have tested positive are asked who they have been in close contact with while they’ve been infectious. Those close contacts are then alerted by the national Test and Trace programme and given the appropriate advice, so that they can self-isolate and avoid infecting those around them and in the wider community.

Surrey residents who test positive will be referred to the local contact tracing team if the national Test and Trace service is unable to contact them within 24 hours. Relevant data sharing agreements are in place between Public Health England and Surrey County Council to support the programme.  

The overall target set by the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) is for 80% of positive cases to be reached by contact tracers. Surrey already has a strong contact tracing completion rate of around 80% through the national Test and Trace service. The local service will ensure that even more people who have tested positive for COVID-19 are successfully contacted.

The local contact tracing team are part of Surrey County Council’s customer services team, and the team have all completed the national Test and Trace training programme. The team will be calling from a local number 01483 404 939 and once they make contact, will complete a contact tracing questionnaire and offer any relevant welfare support or financial assistance advice for the resident’s period of self-isolation. 

For those who have been told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace and living on a low income, help is available from the government via the self-isolation payment scheme. Residents may be entitled to a payment of £500. The payment will be made by their local authority under the Test and Trace Support Payment scheme. More information on how to apply for the payment can be found on the Surrey County Council website.

Ruth Hutchinson, Surrey County Council’s Director of Public Health said,

“Contact tracing is a crucial part of our efforts to slow the spread of the virus. We’re fortunate that in Surrey the national Test and Trace service is already reaching around 80% of our residents who test positive. This is an opportunity for us to build on that national effort and use our local knowledge to reach even more people.”

“Our contact tracers have undergone the national Test and Trace training programme and are familiar with Surrey’s local areas and communities. Local contact tracing will ensure we reach as many residents as possible who have tested positive for COVID-19 – making sure they self-isolate and have the support, help and advice they need to keep themselves and everyone around them safe.”

Surrey County Council will be joining local authorities across the UK in local contact tracing, using knowledge of the county and localised data from Public Health Teams, and working in partnership with our district and borough councils to deliver the service.

ENDS

Mobile Covid-19 testing – Haslemere, 20th and 21st November

Dear Councillors and Clerks,

A mobile Coronavirus testing facility is being established in Weydown Road Car Park, Haslemere, from Friday 20 November to Saturday 21 November.

Testing is available to all those with COVID-19 symptoms, but must be pre-booked online. Booking is open from 5pm the evening before and on the day.

Residents should book on the national testing portal: visiting www.nhs.uk/coronavirus or call the NHS on 119

Key workers should book on the government portal: https://www.gov.uk/apply-coronavirus-test-essential-workers

Those without an appointment will be turned away.

Children under the age of 5 can be tested but there will need to be 2 parents or guardians in the vehicle – one driver plus one adult in the back to administer the test (you must not  leave your vehicle once on site). If only one parent is present, you must park away from the test centre and enter on foot, where you will be taken to a different area for testing.

Those without transport can walk into the testing centre, but will also need a pre-booked appointment.

Please feel free to share with your networks.

Kind regards,

Communications and Engagement Officer

Waverley Borough Council

Coronavirus business grants

Dear Councillors and Clerks,

You will be aware from the press release that was issued last night, that our application process for the Local Restrictions Support Grant is now live.

I have promoted this on social media and placed a news story on our website – please feel free to share the links below with your local networks.

Twitter: https://twitter.com/WaverleyBC/status/1326465309201608705

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/WaverleyBC/photos/a.555104671248028/3776078022483994

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/feed/update/urn:li:share:6732230994432196608

Web: https://www.waverley.gov.uk/news/article/669/applications_open_for_local_restrictions_support_grants

We are also working to identify which types of businesses will be prioritised for the Additional Restrictions Grant and hope to have an application process in place within the next two weeks. In order to be notified as soon as the application process goes live, we are encouraging business owners to subscribe to our business e-newsletter via our business support website: https://www.businesswaverley.co.uk/en-GB.

Kind regards,

Communications and Engagement Officer

Waverley Borough Council

Mobile Coronavirus testing in Haslemere, 7 October until 14 October

A mobile Coronavirus testing facility is being established in Weydown Road Car Park, Haslemere, from Wednesday 7 October until Wednesday 14 October.

Testing is available to all those with COVID-19 symptoms, but must be pre-booked online. Booking is open from 5pm the evening before and on the day.

Residents should book on the national testing portal: www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-getting-tested

Key workers should book on the government portal: https://www.gov.uk/apply-coronavirus-test-essential-workers

Those without an appointment will be turned away.

Children under the age of 5 can be tested but there will need to be 2 parents or guardians in the vehicle – one driver plus one adult in the back to administer the test (you must not  leave your vehicle once on site). If only one parent is present, you must park away from the test centre and enter on foot, where you will be taken to a different area for testing.

Those without transport can walk into the testing centre, but will also need a pre-booked appointment.