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Issue 12: 16 June 2020

Latest Updates on Salford Council's response to the COVID-19 outbreak

£63m funding for councils to assist those struggling to afford food and other essentials

The Prime Minister has announced additional funding for councils in England of £63m to help those who are struggling financially due to the impact of coronavirus. The additional funding will allow councils to continue to provide discretionary support to those facing severe hardship to allow them to pay for food and other necessities.

The funding is a one-off boost to councils and they will have discretion on how best to help those facing severe hardship. The allocations for each council have not yet been announced.

Face covering to be worn on public transport

From Monday 15 June, everyone must wear a face covering when travelling by public transport in England.  Under the new rules, operators will be able to prevent passengers who refuse to follow the rules from travelling and police will be able to issue fines of £100.

Over 3,000 extra staff will be deployed from Monday to support the travelling public, reminding people about the need to wear face coverings and helping vulnerable passengers.

Anyone who has a justifiable reason on the grounds of health or disability will be free to travel without wearing one.  Government guidance on exemptions is still in development but information is provided on the gov website.

PUBLIC HEALTH UPDATES

Coronavirus Cases

In line with the national picture, Salford continues to see a slower increase in new cases. As of Sunday 14 June, 965 people in Salford have tested positive for coronavirus (an increase of 1.37% since last Monday 8 June, 13 additional cases).

Testing

Work continues to explore the risk of different settings in the city, supporting them to function and open safely and work through the process if they have suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19. The next scenario planning session will focus on homeless people working with housing colleagues, regulatory services, primary care and the VSCE sector.

In 22 May the Government announced £300m additional funding for local authorities to support them to develop and action their plans to reduce the spread of the virus in their area as part of the launch of the wider NHS Test and Trace Service. This funding will enable local authorities to develop and implement tailored local COVID-19 outbreak plans through for example funding the recruitment of additional staff where required. Salford’s Director of Public Health is leading the development of Salford’s Plan.

Last week the government announced the allocations, Salford’s allocation is £1,975,758.

KEY SERVICE UPDATES

A full list of information about council services and access by the public can be found at council services information.

Spirit of Salford network

As of 12 June, the hotline has received 10,283 telephone calls, along with 1,357 requests for support from the website.

Place Services

The Government’s COVID-19 guidance for managing a funeral during the coronavirus pandemic’ states that the bereaved should restrict the number of mourners to be as low as possible to ensure a safe distance of at least 2 metres (6ft) can be maintained between individuals.

Staff from Salford City Council’s bereavement services team have turned to technology  to allow people to attend funerals remotely. Funerals taking place at Salford’s Agecroft Crematorium are now being filmed. 

Cameras are in place in the chapel, offering a complete live webcast of each ceremony over the internet. Relatives can share a web link with those who are unable to attend so they can watch the service and experience it in real time in the comfort of their own home.

Cycling and walking feedback from 800 residents

Almost 800 Salford residents have put forward suggestions for making the city more pedestrian and cycle friendly to manage social distancing.

Salford already had plans in place to deliver £60 million of walking and cycling improvements and has secured another £500,000 from Transport for Greater Manchester to implement temporary measures.

The city has seen a huge increase in cycling and walking during the coronavirus ‘lockdown’ and is keen to make sure it continues. A consultation Safe Streets Save Lives attracted 4,000 visits and 800 individual responses.

Schools and childcare

Charlotte Ramsden, Strategic Director People, has written to all Headteachers and Chairs of Governing Bodies, explaining the City Council’s position on the consideration schools are giving to potential further re-opening of their settings.

The letter states that the City Council recommended on Tuesday that Salford schools do not widen attendance further until at least the 22nd June to allow for the revisiting of the risk assessments to take place, following the announcement from Public Health England on Friday 5th June, regarding the ‘R’ number for the North West. 

And that “We are aware that many of you have already done this with regard to your current attendance levels. In addition, if your revised risk assessment showed it would be dangerous to retain your current attendance levels, we would still support you to reduce them if necessary.”

School headteachers and Chairs of Governing Bodies are also advised to utilise the risk assessment checklist developed by the Trade Unions, together with the risk assessment developed by Salford City Council and in consultation with colleagues, if they have not already done so. “Taking into account the three communications it will be for the headteacher and the governing body in a school to determine the correct action based on individual school risk assessments”.

The Director of Public Health in her statutory role is providing advice and guidance to schools in the City of Salford, to ensure they have up to date local data including the regional R rates Public Health England are publishing.

76 of the 79 primary schools are now more widely open. The remaining 3 have plans to open later this month. All Secondary schools and settings opened more widely to Year 10s today.  Salford City College have opened to year 12s. 

All schools are reporting that the wider reopening has gone well.  Attendance last week has risen from 11.7%  to an estimated 16%.

Schools have carried out robust risk assessments and the local authority has carried out a quality assurance process to support schools in their responsibilities.

The latest Department for Education guidance received has been shared with Early Years settings last week. We are waiting for guidance from the government and Department for Education on how we can support children who are due to transition into nursery/ reception class places in September 2020.

GREATER MANCHESTER

22,000 Creative Care Kits for young people

CHARITIES, businesses and the arts have joined forces to support thousands of young people across Greater Manchester during the COVID-19 pandemic.



The initiative, led by Greater Manchester Combined Authority, will see 22,000 Creative Care kits distributed to young people who are not online, and so may be feeling more isolated and lonely during this difficult time.



Each kit contains 36 pages of activities, hints and tips on protecting your mental wellbeing and a set of art materials. As well as giving young people something to do, the kits will help create a sense of connection at a time when they are not able to rely on face-to-face interactions.

Working with local authorities and education providers, the kits will be distributed to young people aged between 13 and 20, who may be struggling with their mental health, or might be a care leaver, a young carer or not in education, employment or training.

GOVERNMENT

Non-essential shops to open

Shops selling non-essential goods can open from Monday 15 June.

Retailers will need to take certain steps to protect customers and staff, including limiting the number of customers allowed inside at one time, placing protective coverings on large items such as sofas which may be touched by passing shoppers, and frequently checking and cleaning objects and surfaces.

Businesses should only reopen once they have completed a risk assessment, in consultation with trade union representatives or workers, and are confident they are managing the risks.

Social bubbles

Single adult households, that is adults who live alone or with dependent children only, can form a ‘support bubble’ with one other household. All those in a support bubble will be able to spend time together inside each others’ homes, including overnight, without needing to stay 2 metres apart. The Government is making this change to support the loneliest and most isolated.

CELEBRATIONS

Health checks

Last week, the first baskets of resources for health checks were delivered to care homes for staff in care homes to access support for their health and wellbeing. For home care workers, the first health checks for care workers started in the Gateways at the end of last week.

The health checks are offered to staff to protect their health and to support their physical and emotional wellbeing.  We recognize that the health of our health and care workers is critical during the COVID-19 pandemic/crisis

The checks, which include blood pressure and lifestyle checks, are designed to protect staff health and support their physical and emotional wellbeing. Ongoing support to discuss the results or make healthy lifestyle changes is provided by our health improvement service, which can help with weight loss, stopping smoking or being more active. If needed, additional support will be offered by their own GP for health conditions and medication reviews.

There are over 2,000 frontline workers across care homes and home care in Salford. The health checks are being rolled out across the sector in the coming few weeks.

Ongoing support is provided from Salford Health Improvement Service and clinical support from GPs.