COVID-19 Message for parents of school children

(The following is an abbreviation of letter circulated in schools on March 29th,
signed by Deborah Harkins, Director of Public Health and Julie Jenkins, Director of Children and Young People’s Services)

With schools open more widely and education returning to something a bit more normal, we want to take the opportunity to thank those of you whose children were at home during the last lockdown, for your hard work, supporting your children with home learning.

It’s wonderful to see children and young people back at school and able to see their friends classmates and school staff once again. Social interacton is an important part of learning for young people.

Schools continue to do everything they can to keep children safe from COVID-19 . Please do continue to be polite to school staff. They don’t make the rules, they’re following public health advice, acting on professional advice and trying to keep everyone safe.

The wider opening of schools was the first step on the Government’s roadmap and as we look forward to the coming weeks and months, further restirctions will be lifted if all goes to plan. We’re on the right path but it’s really important we all do what we can to keep moving in the right direction. The more we can do to stop the spread the safer everyone will be and the less disruption there will be to education.

Please do keep your child at home if they have any symptoms of COVID-19:

  • A high temperature
  • A new and continuous cough
  • A loss or change to the sense of sell or taste

When a child with symptoms attends school, it doesn’t just create the risk of transmission but also interrupts the education of all involved and creates challenges for all as everyone the child had contact with may require to self isolate.

From March 29th we’re back to the Rule of 6, where up to 6 people can meet up, or two households if between them there are more than 6 household members. This applies for outdoors meetings, there will still be no indoors mixing, unless it is between members of a support bubble.

Please  think carefully about what you do at the school gate and the way back from school. Please do keep up the good work by avoiding mixing with other households indoors. This applies to your children too – no sleep overs or after school meet ups, please.

Finally, please wear face coverings at drop-off and pick-up while you’re on foot. It is an easy protective measure and can make a real difference. School staff wear them wherever is feasible to do so and it will really support them in their efforts to keep your children safe.

We’re really proud of the efforts our schools and families have taken in Calderdale to help reduce COVID-19 infection. Over 330 people in Calderdale have died of COVID-19. The roll out of the vaccination programme is a vital step towards reducing the impact of the infection but all other measures we have used over the last year are still really important too.

 

If you or your child have concerns about COVID-19, contact the Healthy Futures Calderdale school nursing team
by phone on 0303 330 9974
by text on 07480 635297 (young people)
or 07507 332157 (parents/carers).

Calderdale COVID-19 vaccination engagement

NHS Calderdale Clinical Commissioning Group is working in partnership with Calderdale Council, Healthwatch Calderdale and VSI Alliance, and would like to know your views and experiences of the Covid-19 vaccines.

If you have received a COVID-19 vaccination already, you can feedback about your experience of the vaccination process here:

https://www.smartsurvey.co.uk/s/CaldVacFeedback/

Alternatively, you can scan the QR code on the below poster.

If you have not yet received a COVID-19 vaccination, we would like to hear your views on the vaccine and how well informed you feel about it. Please complete the following survey to let us know:  https://www.smartsurvey.co.uk/s/5OWUYE/

               

Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine statement from Department of Public Health

I am worried that the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine isn’t safe as I’ve heard some countries are stopping using it – should I still have it?

Some European countries have temporarily paused the use of the vaccine as a precautionary measure, following reports of blood clots in a small number of people who had recently had the vaccine.

However, there is no evidence that the blood clots have been caused by the vaccine and the UK regulator, the Medicines Health Regulatory Authority, has said that they are confident the vaccine is safe. This is supported by both the European Medicines Agency (the European regulator for medicines and vaccines) and the World Health Organisation (WHO), who have said the vaccine is safe and should continue be given.

There were 30 reports of clots among almost five million people given the vaccine across Europe. This is actually less than the number that would be expected to happen naturally. Following the concerns regarding blood clots, AstraZeneca has conducted a review of all safety data, which has shown no evidence of an increased risk of blood clots. This covered more than 17 million people vaccinated in the UK and European Union.

The UK is further ahead its vaccination programme than any other country in the world and so far over 20 million people in England have been vaccinated. It is very important that people still have their COVID-19 vaccine when asked to do so. This is the only protection available against the serious illness caused by Covid-19, which has sadly led to the death of millions of people around the world, and people will continue to be at risk from the disease if they do not take up the offer of a vaccine.

Department of Public Health

Be a Covid Champion and help keep your community safe

Can you help keep your community / organisation safe as we move towards restrictions easing, and the possibility of meeting face-to-face?

Join our Covid Champions programme!

A 1 hour online training session gives clear insight into how coronavirus works, how to stop the spread, the ins and outs of vaccination and the reasons behind the government guidance on how to stay safe.

With plenty of opportunity to ask questions in the session, there are also optional fortnightly catch-up sessions with our fantastic local retired medical professionals. This means you can ask about best practice to keep your organisation or community safe, get local updates on the situation, and most importantly, feedback to us any concerns you are hearing in your communities, tell us what is and isn’t working. This helps us to adapt information and respond to community concern.

For more information on the scheme and to register:  www.communityresponsecalderdale.org.uk/covid-champions/

Important Covid Update 9.3.21

As children return to school and mix, it’s inevitable the virus will spread, so it’s important that those of us that aren’t school children, do all we can to prevent the Virus spreading. This means staying at home as much as possible and observing the lockdown.

Although we have seen significant decrease in the infection rate locally, it remains well above average compared to the rest of the country. Pressure on the hospital is decreasing, but we know that as soon as mixing begins again, rates will creep up, so we need to get them as low as possible in the next few weeks.

At the moment the main ways that people in Calderdale are coming into contact with the virus, is through their work, and through this there is onward transmission in households. The local economy in Calderdale and neighbouring areas means that fewer people can do their jobs at home. If fewer people can work from home in Calderdale than elsewhere, it is all the more important that those that can work from home do.

When we go into the workplace, we need to be even more vigilant than ever before. This means staying at least 2 metres away from other people at all times, including during breaks. We should all wear a face covering unless we are medically exempt and should wash hands frequently. It’s also really important that there is good ventilation and fresh air circulating. 

Community Rapid Flow Testing for people without symptoms

Community Rapid Flow testing is available twice weekly to  anyone who needs to leave home to go to work.  These are rapid tests (sometimes called Lateral Flow Tests).

You can book a test at the two testing stations in Todmorden College and St John’s Health Centre, Halifax (which is a drive-through), on the Calderdale Council website. The test are analysed on site and results are returned after about one hour.

Anybody can request a rapid test who lives or works in Calderdale; and has a job that means they come into contact with people they do not live with.

  • The tests are very reliable for people who get a positive result. A positive result means you almost certainly have COVID-19. There is no need to get a follow up lab test (PCR test) as well.
  • The rapid tests are less reliable than the lab tests when it comes to a negative result. A negative result does not mean you do not have the virus. You may still have the virus, but not have enough of it in your body to show up on the test. If you get a negative result from a rapid test, you must still follow all the COVID-19 guidance.
  • Do you work outside your home in a job that means you mix with people you do not live with? If you do, we advise that you take a rapid test twice a week.
  • You do not need to self-isolate while waiting for your test results.
  • Young people (under 18) must be accompanied by a parent or guardian, who will be asked to administer the test.
  • These tests are only for people without symptoms of COVID. If you think you could have COVID-19, please arrange for a PCR test (as above).

There is financial support to self isolate available for people who qualify who have a positive test, or who have been identified as a contact of someone who is positive – Test and Trace support payment

BE PREPARED TO ISOLATE

In the same way that you might have a plan for what to do in case of floods, or fire, you should have a plan for what to do if you have to self-isolate immediately. Who will walk the dog? How will you get your shopping? Whatever your need we should be able to help you, request support from Calderdale Council, or phone 01422 392890.

GPs offering pulse oximeters to those vulnerable to COVID-19

Devices to monitor oxygen levels and pulse rate are being offered to those patients in Calderdale that are particularly vulnerable to the effects of COVID-19 and suffer from breathlessness or other associated symptoms.

Patients or their carers can use these devices, called pulse oximeters, at home and if the readings show oxygen levels are starting to fall, the patient can be referred to hospital to get the necessary treatment.

Dr Farrukh Javid, GP at Rastrick Health Centre and Calderdale’s clinical lead for Calderdale’s oximetry service said: “If you have symptoms or test positive for COVID-19 and are over 65 years old or in a clinically at-risk group, your GP may provide you with a pulse oximeter.

“These devices are very easy to use and allow us to monitor oxygen levels in a person’s blood. If the levels start to drop below safe levels, you can be referred to the hospital earlier to get the treatment you need as soon as possible. So far, GP practices and care homes in Calderdale have received over 1,300 oximeters to be made available to local people.

“This is important because seeking medical attention early in the course of the disease means there is much less chance of them becoming severely unwell and needing treatment in an intensive care unit.”

 

This Newsflash provided by the VSI Alliance

Statement from Calderdale Council in response to Prime Minister’s announcement

The following is an excerpt from Calderdale Council’s website
Read The Full Article Here

Calderdale Council is working through the implications for its services following the announcement from the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, advising how lockdown will be eased across the country.

The Leader of Calderdale Council, Cllr Tim Swift, said:
“Whilst the plan of action to enable a relaxation in COVID-19 lockdown restrictions is of course welcome news, it’s important we continue to approach the next phase in the response to the pandemic with care.

“COVID-19 rates in Calderdale are currently higher than the regional and national average and with high prevalence of the more contagious Kent variant in the borough, any relaxation of restrictions must be done so gradually and cautiously.

“The first phase in the plan to ease lockdown begins with the wider reopening of schools from Monday 8 March. […]

“We know how important education is for young people and we’ll continue to work with schools to ensure that this wider reopening can be done so as safely as possible. This will include the continued use of Lateral Flow Testing within schools to identify the 1 in 3 people who have COVID-19 but don’t show symptoms, so we can support them to isolate and prevent them spreading the virus without realising.

[…]

If you require additional advice on how we can support staff testing, please contact lftsupport@calderdale.gov.uk

“The news that groups of up to six, or two households, will be able to meet outside from Monday 29 March will be welcomed by those who are missing family and friends. However, it’s important to remember that we still need to be vigilant and to keep following social distancing rules to help save lives.

“We all need to continue to do everything we can to reduce the spread and keep the case rates as low as possible while we vaccinate the people that are most likely to have serious complications if they contract the virus. It’s important that when you are invited for your vaccine appointment you attend, to help protect yourself and others.

What are we doing to prevent and control COVID-19 in Calderdale?

We will continue to live with COVID-19 for the foreseeable future. In line with Calderdale’s Outbreak Prevention and Control Plan, the Council, local partner organisations and communities are working together to protect people from the virus and to prevent and manage outbreaks. This includes:

  • Engaging with and supporting communities, particularly in areas of high infection rates, and helping local businesses to be COVID-secure
  • Increasing and improving access to testing for residents
  • Carrying out local contact tracing to support the national Test and Trace service
  • Providing support to people to enable them to self-isolate
  • Enforcing COVID-19 restrictions.

For up-to-date and reliable information about COVID-19, use trusted sources such as:

www.gov.uk/coronavirus

www.nhs.uk/coronavirus

www.calderdale.gov.uk/coronavirus