Tag Archives: Coronavirus

Urgent request from Surrey County Council for PPE

Press Release : Press Release : Press Release : Press Release

Following the government announcement yesterday (17 April 2020) that there is now an extreme shortage of PPE, Surrey County Council is urgently appealing for volunteers to help supply items for Surrey’s frontline workers.

With demand for PPE nationally and globally reaching unprecedented levels, social workers, care home staff, volunteers and others need items such as gowns, aprons and masks which skilled volunteers may be able to assist with, based on a Public Health England standard.

Leader of Surrey County Council, Tim Oliver said: “As a county council we continue to do all we can to source more Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for frontline workers to ensure they have the right protection against Covid-19, but there is simply not enough supply coming into the county, indeed nationally, and this situation is now very urgent indeed.

“That is why we are now appealing to the wealth of skilled and talented people across the county – from university students to business owners and seamstresses, who may be able to assist us in producing personal protective equipment, such as gowns and masks.

“This is a time when so many communities are pulling together. I hope the public will hear our call and come to our aid so we can do all we can to protect our frontline workers who are working so tirelessly on our behalf.”

Anyone that can help is asked to get in touch as soon as possible via ppe.donations@surreycc.gov.uk to offer their assistance.

Surrey County Council is stressing that all items will need to be made to a specification outlined by Public Health England. Please get in touch to discuss how you can help and we will then provide this ASAP.

Surrey County Council would still welcome contact from businesses who are able to support and would also encourage them to email us directly with any offers of support.

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Some helpful updates from Surrey County Council

As a county councillor, I receive a top line brief every day from the Leader of Surrey County Council, Councillor Tim Oliver. Here are some sections from today’s brief.

Community Helpline 0300 200 1008

Easter opening times Easter opening hours:

• Monday to Thursday, 8am to 6pm

• Good Friday 10th April 10am to 4pm

• Saturday and Sunday, 10am to 2pm

• Easter Monday 13th April 10am to 4pm

Community helpline receives 250 calls a day

Surrey’s coronavirus community helpline has handled 2,500 calls and around 160 online forms. The helpline is receiving around 250 calls a day from people needing support or volunteering to help others.

Call handlers, made up of staff from the Council’s customer services team and other staff from across the council who have been called in to support, are equipped to work remotely are making sure that vulnerable people who need support are matched with groups or services which can help. Surrey County Council is working closely with colleagues in Surrey’s district and boroughs councils to make sure that people who can’t rely on family or friends get support if they need it – including over the Easter bank holiday weekend.

The helpline is also getting calls from people willing to volunteer to help others and is signposting them to voluntary groups in their local area.

A reminder that, in Haslemere, our local support group is Haslemere Help. Individuals and community groups throughout Haslemere looking to provide volunteering support during Covid-19 can still register and are encouraged to complete a Volunteer Registration Form. Residents who need help with shopping, prescription pickups or other services should call the Haslemere Help service on 07873 383954. Enquiries can also be channelled to haslemerehelp@gmail.com and through their dedicated Facebook page www.facebook.com/haslemerehelp.

Tim Oliver, Leader of Surrey County Council, said:

“The <Surrey> helpline is part of a huge community effort to make sure the most vulnerable people in our county are protected through these difficult times and I’d encourage people to continue using it, both to volunteer if they are able and call for help if they need it.”

Bin collections – what can you do to help?

We’re doing everything we can to keep bin collections running as normal during the Coronavirus pandemic. But it’s likely that services will be impacted soon because of staff shortages due to parental leave or sickness. To help us prepare, here are some things that you can do to help.

Countryside car parks

The car parks will remain closed, in line with the government and Prime Minister’s advice on social distancing. While car parks remain closed, the countryside and all rights of way remain open.

Some landowners are concerned about the increased use of public rights of way on their property, and the risk to livestock when gates are left open and dogs are not controlled. We would advise residents to please remember to follow the countryside code at all times. If large numbers of people are using the public rights of way, landowners are permitted to consider a few measures including displaying polite notices to encourage users to follow social distancing guidelines and offering alternative routes.

The decision to keep the car parks closed is consistent with other major countryside landowners like the National Trust as we all try to prevent the spread of coronavirus. For more information on the countryside, visit www.surreycc.gov.uk/countryside.

A message from the Surrey Domestic Abuse Partnership

The Surrey Domestic Abuse Partnership is aware that the measures that the government have taken to reduce the spread of Covid-19 will put survivors of domestic abuse at further risk. Being unable to leave the home will make accessing support even more difficult and being isolated at home with a perpetrator increases the risk of serious harm or worse. Our community outreach services are still open to referrals although this service will be delivered remotely and the confidential Your Sanctuary DA Helpline and on-line chat service is available for anybody seeking information or support. The refuge network both in Surrey and across England and Wales are working hard to keep women and their children safe and can be accessed through the Your Sanctuary helpline.

Refuge, the UK’s largest domestic abuse charity says calls to its Helpline have risen by 25% since lockdown measures began. Isolation has potential to aggravate pre-existing behaviours in abusive partners but isn’t reason for abusive behaviour.

REFUGE has a Freephone 24-Hour National Domestic Abuse Helpline number: 0808 2000 247

Vulnerable people’s hub

Those who really need help, who are unable to rely on family and friends should immediately call our helpline on 0300 200 1008

Online Forms: As part of our out of hours service we have an online ‘I Need Help’ form where people can contact us through our website if they need help for themselves, or a family member living in Surrey. This can be used to contact us when the Helpline is closed.

The Surrey Local Resilience Forum are coordinating measures to support the 17,000 most vulnerable in Surrey (who are receiving letters from the NHS). – We are making sure we know who those are that really need help, and where they are in the County.

We are coordinating both with government, and with districts and boroughs, and the first food parcels are starting to go out to people

That distribution is coordinated from our hub at The Spectrum leisure centre in Guildford, and there will be smaller hubs in locations across the county to manage distribution

The Hub will also support those who feel isolated in the coming weeks and months who are feeling frightened and concerned.

We have already been able to help some residents in severe urgent need with food and medicine, which is fantastic to know we’re making that difference already, but there is a huge task ahead to ensure nobody slips through the cracks

Those wanting to help, or who are referring others should use our web form at www.surreycc.gov.uk/ineedhelp

We also have an agreement with the British Red Cross to support this effort

Joint statement on coronavirus cases in Surrey and West Sussex

In the last half hour, I have received the statement below from the Head of Surrey County Council’s communications team:

This afternoon the Chief Medical Officer for England announced three further patients who were “close contacts of a known case”, had tested positive for COVID-19. These relate to a man who tested positive in Surrey on Friday 28 February so brings the total number of confirmed cases in Surrey to two. We can also confirm the other two cases in this family cluster have been confirmed in West Sussex. All cases are adults and are not health workers.

Ruth Hutchinson, Interim Director of Public Health for Surrey County Council, and Anna Raleigh, Director of Public Health for West Sussex County Council, have issued a joint statement following the Chief Medical Officer’s update.

They said: “We are working closely together and with Public Health England and the NHS to make sure everything possible is being done to protect people in our respective counties and minimise the spread of the virus.

“We’re receiving regular updates from colleagues at Public Health England who are already making good progress in contacting anyone who has been in close contact with the individuals to provide them with advice about what to do if they start to feel unwell, and how to manage if they are told to self-isolate.

“This work is a key way of minimising any risk to them and the wider public and while this is fast-moving situation we would like to reassure everyone that our county councils and health colleagues are well-prepared and doing all we can to minimise the chances of further cases.

“Anyone who is not contacted directly by PHE should continue to go about their life as normal but take extra care to follow public health advice on simple steps we can all take to help reduce the risk of infection.”

Dr James Mapstone, Acting Regional Director (South of England) for Public Health England, added: “PHE is providing specialist advice to local authority partners around two confirmed cases in Surrey and two in West Sussex. The four cases are part of an adult family cluster. We are aware of the people they have been in contact with and we are making contact with those people to issue appropriate advice and steps to take if they start to feel unwell.”

Background

  • The confirmed cases are not GPs or health workers. Contact tracing is underway and that includes testing some people. It is not surprising that a GP surgery has closed for cleaning as that is part of the primary care guidance.
  • The tracing and managing of contacts who have had significant exposure to confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus is being co-ordinated by Public Health England.
  • The process starts with a predetermined list of information being collected on each patient. This includes details of any places visited following the onset of symptoms or, in the case of travellers, since they arrived in the UK.
  • This is either done by the clinician caring for the patient or in conjunction with them. Translation services will used if needed to ensure the information is as accurate as possible.
  • Information is also collected about significant contacts – those people in close contact with the case while symptomatic, such household members, fellow travellers etc.
  • Using the available information, all close contacts of the case will be assessed and either categorised into high or low risk.  All contacts will be provided with health advice about symptoms and given emergency contact details to use if they develop symptoms in the 14 days after the exposure occurred.
  • Those considered to be at higher risk will have a verbal assessment of their health and their health will be monitored on a daily basis and they will asked to self-isolate.  Should any of the group report symptoms they will be assessed and offered testing in line with current guidance.

PHE recently used contact tracing successfully in Brighton to track all know cases and prevent any further cases.

If I live in Surrey or West Sussex am I at extra risk because of the recent cases?

  • We ensure that someone with coronavirus doesn’t put others at risk by treating them in isolation and carefully investigating who they had close contact with through contact tracing.
  • Contact tracing is a fundamental part of outbreak control that’s used by public health professionals around the world.
  • If a person tests positive for coronavirus, we speak to the patient to identify anyone who has had close contact with them during the time they are considered to be infectious and go all out to find these people as soon as possible.
  • Once we have contacted them we can then give them the advice they need. If they are in groups considered to be a higher risk, we make sure that we follow up with them daily to see how they are.  If they become unwell we are then able to assess them quickly and take appropriate action.

What does self-isolation mean for people who don’t have symptoms?

  • Just like when you have the flu, individuals should remain at home and should not go to work, school or public areas. Where possible, individuals should avoid having visitors to their home but it is ok for friends, family or delivery drivers to drop off food. Individuals should not use public transport or taxis until 14 days after their return from Wuhan.
  • Individuals should monitor their symptoms and call NHS 111 (or your national alternative) if they develop any of the following symptoms – fever, cough, and difficulty breathing.

There are things you can do to help stop germs like coronavirus spreading:

  • Always carry tissues with you and use them to catch your cough or sneeze. Then bin the tissue, and wash your hands, or use a sanitiser gel.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after using public transport. Use a sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available

There is also an NHS link which contains hygiene and prevention advice: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/

We’re currently not accepting interview bids on this.

Original statement published on Surrey County Council’s website here.

Coronavirus update from Surrey’s Director of Public Health

I have been liaising over the last 24 hours with Surrey County Council’s leadership and through them Public Health England (PHE). Below is the latest update, also published here on Surrey County Council’s website. I am hoping to be able to supply more information and guidance for residents in Haslemere as soon as possible – but this is dependent on information Public Health England is able to provide. Statement follows:

Ruth Hutchinson, Interim Director of Public Health for Surrey County Council, said: “I have spoken to colleagues at Public Health England this morning and will remain in continuous contact while we manage the situation in Surrey.

“PHE updated me on their work and steps they have taken since the case was confirmed. They are already urgently contacting anyone that has been in close contact with the individual to provide them with advice about what to do if they start to feel unwell, and how to manage if they are told to self-isolate.

“This vital work will continue throughout the weekend and is a tried and tested method that ensures we are able to minimise any risk to them and the wider public.

“Anyone who is not contacted directly by PHE should continue to go about their life as normal but take extra care to follow public health advice on simple steps we can all take to help reduce the risk of infection.

“I appreciate that news like this can be a cause for concern, so I would reassure everyone that Surrey County Council, together with the NHS and PHE is taking every necessary measure to help reduce the risk of the virus spreading.”

Background

  • The tracing and managing of contacts who have had significant exposure to confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus is being co-ordinated by Public Health England.
  • The process starts with a predetermined list of information being collected on each patient. This includes details of any places visited following the onset of symptoms or, in the case of travellers, since they arrived in the UK.
  • This is either done by the clinician caring for the patient or in conjunction with them. Translation services will be used if needed to ensure the information is as accurate as possible.
  • Information is also collected about significant contacts – those people in close contact with the case while symptomatic, such household members, fellow travellers etc.
  • Using the available information, all close contacts of the case will be assessed and either categorised into high or low risk.  All contacts will be provided with health advice about symptoms and given emergency contact details to use if they develop symptoms in the 14 days after the exposure occurred.
  • Those considered to be at higher risk will have a verbal assessment of their health and their health will be monitored on a daily basis and they will asked to self-isolate.  Should any of the group report symptoms they will be assessed and offered testing in line with current guidance.

PHE recently used contact tracing successfully in Brighton to track all known cases and prevent any further cases.

If I live in Surrey am I at extra risk because of the recent cases?

  • We ensure that someone with coronavirus doesn’t put others at risk by treating them in isolation and carefully investigating who they had close contact with through contact tracing.
  • Contact tracing is a fundamental part of outbreak control that’s used by public health professionals around the world.
  • If a person tests positive for coronavirus, we speak to the patient to identify anyone who has had close contact with them during the time they are considered to be infectious and go all out to find these people as soon as possible.
  • Once we have contacted them we can then give them the advice they need. If they are in groups considered to be a higher risk, we make sure that we follow up with them daily to see how they are.  If they become unwell we are then able to assess them quickly and take appropriate action.

What does self-isolation mean for people who don’t have symptoms?

  • Just like when you have the flu, individuals should remain at home and should not go to work, school or public areas. Where possible, individuals should avoid having visitors to their home but it is ok for friends, family or delivery drivers to drop off food. Individuals should not use public transport or taxis until 14 days after their return from Wuhan.
  •  Individuals should monitor their symptoms and call NHS 111 (or your national alternative) if they develop any of the following symptoms – fever, cough, and difficulty breathing.

There are things you can do to help stop germs like coronavirus spreading:

  • Always carry tissues with you and use them to catch your cough or sneeze. Then bin the tissue, and wash your hands, or use a sanitiser gel.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after using public transport. Use a sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available

There is also an NHS link which contains hygiene and prevention advice: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/

We’re currently not accepting interview bids on this.

Public Health England and Surrey County Council statement on confirmed COVID-19 case in Surrey

This evening, the BBC reported a patient at Haslemere Health Centre (which has been closed for “deep cleaning” since this morning) is the first to be reported to be infected with the coronavirus in the UK. BBC article here.

Surrey County Council is continuing to work together with partners including Public Health England (PHE) across Surrey and the UK to monitor and ensure preparedness for the Coronavirus outbreak.

Dr Alison Barnett, Centre Director, Public Health England South East, said:

“Public Health England is contacting people who had close contact with confirmed cases of COVID-19. One of the latest cases is a resident of Surrey and we’re working closely with NHS colleagues in that area as well as Surrey County Council to manage the situation and help reduce the risk of further cases.

“Close contacts will be given health advice about symptoms and emergency contact details to use if they become unwell in the 14 days after contact with the confirmed case. This tried and tested method will ensure we are able to minimise any risk to them and the wider public.”

Interim Director of Public Health for Surrey County Council Ruth Hutchinson said:

Surrey County Council is working with health colleagues to do everything we can to stop the virus spreading and ensure the people of Surrey are protected.

“Good hygiene is the best prevention and there are some simple steps you can take to protect you and your family by washing your hands regularly and thoroughly and if you cough, cover your mouth and nose with a tissue.

“If you have recently been to one of the affected countries and are feeling unwell, you should phone the NHS 111 helpline for further advice straight away – please don’t go to your doctor or a hospital. There’s lots of advice on how people can protect themselves online at www.nhs.uk/coronavirus

Notes to Editors

  • Surrey County Council, PHE and the NHS are well prepared to deal with coronavirus. Our priority is to safeguard local communities which sometimes involves taking preventative measures to help reduce the risk of further cases.
  • We cannot comment further on individual cases due to patient confidentiality.
  • Details on testing are published daily at 2pm and includes a breakdown of negative and positive tests https://www.gov.uk/guidance/wuhan-novel-coronavirus-information-for-the-public
  • For more information and advice on coronavirus (COVID-19)

PHE https://publichealthmatters.blog.gov.uk/2020/01/23/wuhan-novel-coronavirus-what-you-need-to-know/

NHS https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/