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Issue 18: 31 July 2020

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

New rules on gatherings in Greater Manchester

The Health Secretary Matt Hancock announced yesterday that new rules on social gatherings will be introduced in Northern England to stop the spread of COVID-19. These changes apply to Greater Manchester and areas in West Yorkshire and East Lancashire.

This is in response to an increasing trend in the number of cases per 100,000 people in the area, and data from PHE and the JBC which suggests transmission among households is a key infection pathway in the area.

It means people in these areas will not be permitted to mix with other households (apart from those in their support bubbles) in private homes or gardens.

Some exemptions will be put in place, including for the vulnerable.

The government will sign new regulations to make these changes legally enforceable. The regulations will give local authorities and police forces the powers to enforce these restrictions and more details on these will be set out when the regulations are published.

Flu programme in UK this winter

An expanded flu vaccination programme for winter has been announced by the government (Friday 24 July).  People aged 50 to 64 will be included in those invited for a free vaccination later in the season.

A free flu vaccine will also be available to:

  • people who are on the shielded patient list and members of their household
  • all school year groups up to year 7
  • people aged over 65, pregnant women, those with pre-existing conditions including at-risk under 2s

Once vaccination of the most ‘at-risk’ groups is well underway, the department for health will work with clinicians to decide when to open the programme to invite people aged 50 to 64, with further details to be announced.

PUBLIC HEALTH UPDATES

Coronavirus Cases

In line with the national picture, Salford continues to see a slight increase in new cases. As of Sunday 26 July, 1,417 people in Salford have tested positive for coronavirus (an increase of 3.06% since last Monday 20 July, 1,375).

Local Track and Trace recruitment

Salford is seeking to recruit local people to work as part of the Salford track and trace team. Members are asked to retweet these positions on Twitter or share via other social media platforms.

Core Messages

There are currently four core messages we want to get across to all our communities, as people leave their homes more for work, shopping or leisure: 

  • the importance of face coverings
  • adhering to social distancing
  • if you are unwell the need to get tested
  • safe practice in workplaces.

Councillors are asked to help reinforce these messages by sharing them via your own networks and social media accounts.

We are also working with CVS and CCG colleagues to develop more targeted engagement and supporting communications material for particular communities in the city.  We want to try and ensure that engagement is really well informed by what communities are telling us worries them, who best to deliver it (trusted), and what gets through or doesn’t get through.

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 30 July, the hotline has received 13,293 telephone calls, along with 1,537 requests for support from the website.

During the crisis 3,209 food boxes have been delivered but only one was requested in the past week. Food boxes are still available if requested but people must now pay for them.

Gateway centres reopen

Our customer services team is back in the Gateway centres to help residents face-to-face with urgent council related enquiries. We have worked hard to make sure residents can safely visit Broughton Hub and the Gateway centres in Swinton, Eccles, Pendleton and Walkden.

We will limit the number of customers allowed in at any one time to keep everyone safe and priority will be given to transactions that cannot be carried out online or through the Spirit of Salford Helpline.

Funding for domestic abuse services

A few months ago the Ministry of Justice announced the allocation of £25 million to support local charities across England and Wales which support victims of domestic abuse and sexual violence. Last week the Ministry released details of the latest allocations following a bidding process. Local domestic abuse victims support services have been allocated funding, £31,115 for Salford Women’s Aid and £20,000 for Salford Foundation.

Leisure centres are starting to reopen

Following government guidance that gyms and leisure centres can re-open, Worsley Leisure Centre reopened on Monday 27 July.

Worsley will be the first of our centres to re-open and this will be followed by a phased re-opening of our other centres. The next centres to open will be Irlam & Cadishead ( Monday 3 August) then Swinton & Pendlebury (Monday 10 August).

Day Services Reopening

Following the closure of Day Services at the start of Covid-19, services have been providing care and support in alternative ways.  As restrictions are now lifting, we are planning a phased return of day services.

Conversations are ongoing with providers, public health and council regulators, to ensure that organisations are supported to do this in the safest possible way.  There is an ambition to reopen, or at least have firm plans in place by 1st August.

Organisations are currently putting together the requested information and are starting to look at how services might start to reopen, so that we can check and refine plans prior to any implementation.  Providers will need to engage with the people and families who use their services as part of this planning process.

Regular meetings are now set up, so that providers can share ideas and assistance can be offered.  The first meeting will be attended by Health & Safety regulators, who will offer advice and information on how services might operate their buildings safely.  Public Health/Infection control attended this week to provide further guidance and for next week HR and CVS will be invited to talk about employee issues.

Youth services

The youth service is continuing one to one case contacts with young people. There are still welfare and activity engagement issues and staff are responding with creative activities, including ‘Netflix party’ collective film watching session, book clubs (with a respected author joining the group), a ‘nerd’ club (gaming, comics and all things nerdy) and a music appreciation club all online.

Summer programmes are starting using outdoor provision/ spaces. Staff are working with partners including Salford Community Leisure, Voluntary Organisations and Neighbourhood Managers to plan for summer activities in parks using national guidance.

Schools and childcare

All Salford schools are now closed for the summer holidays and planning is underway to ensure safe re-opening for all pupils from 1 September.

A total of 20 Early Years settings and 64 childminders have remained closed as of today (Monday 27th July 2020).

From 20th July 2020 early year settings are no longer required to keep children in small, consistent groups but settings should still consider how they can minimise mixing.

Ofsted will re-start inspections from January 2021, by which time the Early Years Foundation Stage standards for the learning, development and care of children from birth to 5 years old is expected to be reinstated fully.

GOVERNMENT

Effects of excess weight on COVID-19

Being obese or excessively overweight increases the risk of severe illness and death from COVID-19, a new Public Health England (PHE) report confirms.

The report summarises findings from evidence published during the pandemic on the effects of excess weight and obesity on COVID-19.

As part of the Government’s obesity strategy Public Health England (PHE) has launched the Better Health campaign to support people to live healthier lives and reduce their risk of serious illness, including COVID-19.

Guidance on visits to care homes

Care home residents are set to be reunited with friends and family as visits begin again following the publication of new guidance last week.

Audiences back in theatres from 1 August

Indoor performances with socially distanced audiences will be able to take place across the country from 1 August. Pilots are underway, ahead of reopening indoor performance venues more widely. Singing and the playing of brass and wind instruments in groups or in front of an audience is still currently limited to professionals only.

Relaxation of planning laws

New laws laid in Parliament last week (21 July 2020), which will come into effect by September, will mean full planning applications will not be required to demolish and rebuild unused buildings as homes and commercial and retail properties can be quickly repurposed to help revive our high streets and town centres.

RESEARCH

COVID-19 travel behaviour during the lockdown

IPSOS Mori has published a report on a study into the travel behaviour of people during the lockdown period. The survey also asked people about their plans for future travel.

CELEBRATIONS

Since launching Route29 Salford back in March the team has addressed many problems that young people and families face on a daily basis. Route29 works with young people aged 12 to 17 on the edge of care, edging to care and at risk of placement breakdown. The team consists of a manager, deputy managers, portfolio leads, ‘stickable’ key workers and an experienced specialist team that includes a clinical psychologist, speech and language therapist, educational psychologist, nurses and police who have worked together to advise on risk management strategies, formulations and communications. The team work really flexibly to meet the needs of our young people and are ‘doing with’ rather than ‘doing to’ adolescents and this ensures young people have the right support at the right time to deal with past and present trauma.

The team have had some fabulous outcomes and are already making a big difference in the city. They have taken young people on short break trips to our bespoke placement in Wales which has supported family breakdown and crisis. One of our young people even made the hub some garden furniture from old pallets with support from his keyworker. Like any new service the team have faced many challenges but one that couldn’t have been foreseen was a worldwide pandemic which has brought many new challenges but with a dedicated team who have gone above and beyond for their young people and families they have prevented a number of breakdowns and young people coming into care. Well done to the Route29 team – fantastic work!

 

BRIEFING FREQUENCY

The Members’ Policy Digest has been issued on a weekly basis since Monday 23 March along with the State of the City briefing. These briefings will be issued on alternate weeks from now on.  The next edition of the State of the City briefing will be available on Friday 7 August and the following week the next edition of the Members’ Policy Digest will be issued Monday 10 August.