Self-isolating is vital to stop the spread of COVID-19
According to news reports, a study led by King’s College London shows that fewer than one-fifth of people in the UK who develop coronavirus symptoms are following the rules and self-isolating at home.
Just 18 per cent of people involved with the study, who developed symptoms between March and August, said they had actually self-isolated, and only 11 per cent of those in contact with someone testing positive for coronavirus said they had stayed at home for the required two weeks.
But the recent rise in COVID-19 cases here in Somerset and across the country, in all age groups and communities, are a stark warning to us all that we need to keep working together to slow the spread of the virus.
Public Health England has written about how vitally important self-isolating is to stop coronavirus from spreading in our community, particularly to people who could become very sick if they catch the virus.
You must self-isolate:
- if you have symptoms and are waiting for a test
- if your test is positive
- if you’re notified by NHS Test and Trace or the new NHS COVID-19 app that you’ve been in close contact with a confirmed case.
The simple message is…self-isolating for the full duration may well be a frustrating thing to do, but it’s a very necessary part of stopping this pandemic. So, if we’re called upon to do it, or we develop symptoms, then let’s just do it and do it properly.
People on low incomes, who must self-isolate if they have symptoms or they are told to do so, and who cannot work from home and have lost income as a result, can receive £500.
It was announced earlier this week, at the same time as an announcement about fines for people who breach self-isolation rules, which rise to £10,000 for repeat offences.
Fines now also apply to people who prevent others from self-isolating when they should be. For example, a business owner who threatens self-isolating staff with redundancy if they do not come to work.
Download the new NHS COVID-19 app
It’s to support the NHS Test and Trace service, so its major benefit to the public is in helping to trace people quickly when they’ve been in close contact for a period of time with someone who has tested positive for coronavirus. That way, they can be advised even sooner to self-isolate and take any other appropriate steps.
In Devon, our overall number of positive coronavirus cases is, although rising, still relatively low compared to other parts of the country. But the NHS Test and Trace service is still just as vital here in helping to trace people as quickly as possible and to prevent the spread of coronavirus. The sooner you know, the sooner you can act and reduce the risk of infection to others.
So we want to encourage you to download the free app today.
It works by recording the location of places that you visit – such as pubs, restaurants, cafes, leisure or tourist attractions, ‘close contact’ establishments such as hair dressers, places of worship, and others public places including libraries and village halls – onto your phone.
You’ll get an alert if you’ve visited a place where you’ve had prolonged contact recently with someone who has tested positive with coronavirus, and there’ll be advice about what to do next.
It also provides risk alerts by postcode, a symptom checker and test booking features.
Venues are now legally required to collect contact details from customers and visitors, so if you don’t have a smartphone, they will also have their own log book or other paper method.
Meeting with others safely
With cooler weather on the horizon, we will no doubt soon be spending more time indoors. So it’s important we all continue to follow government guidance to control the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).
We all need to remember hands, face and space:
- HANDS – Wash your hands regularly and for 20 seconds.
- FACE – Wear a face covering where social distancing may be difficult, and where you will come into contact with people you do not normally meet.
- SPACE – Stay 2 metres apart from people you do not live with where possible, or 1 metre with extra precautions in place (such as wearing face coverings or increasing ventilation indoors).
Following these simple steps could make a significant difference in reducing the transmission of coronavirus (COVID-19). Help to protect you and your friends, colleagues and family.
Somerset County Council’s Public Health team is stepping up support during the coronavirus pandemic and offering free carrier hire to give every baby the best start in life, building an even closer and loving connection with their parents.
The Council is working with Carry Me Kate Parenting Services CIC to provide free hire of carriers for new parents during the coronavirus crisis.
Councillor Clare Paul, Cabinet member for Health and Wellbeing at Somerset County Council, said: “Everyone is spending much more time at home at present, this may mean that many new parents have more time together after their baby is born. Sling use can provide benefits to the whole family, supporting baby to be close during daily routines and while taking daily exercise.”
Carry Me Kate Parenting Services CIC provides a universal sling library, breastfeeding peer support, a cloth nappy library, parenting and community support – these have all moved to virtual platforms for the time being.
Every baby born in Somerset between April and September will be able to benefit from a carrier, hired cost-free, for a month. A scheduled virtual video session will be scheduled with parents as it’s vital that slings are worn correctly and safely. Further support can be provided on a one to one basis as well as the option to participate in group online sessions
Kate Mahoney, who runs the community interest company, said: ‘During this time we are really pleased to be working with Somerset County Council to be able to offer free hire and advice. Becoming a new parent can be challenging at the best of time, and during this pandemic we wish to offer parents as many tools as possible to enable them to make close and loving connections with their babies and to make their lives as easy as possible.
“Safe sling wearing is essential, and the scheme promotes safety and wellbeing. The TICKS checklist should be implemented every time your baby is in the sling full details can be found here: http://babyslingsafety.co.uk/
“Evidence shows that babies carried in a sling form a close bond with their parent or carer. It promotes the release of oxytocin, a hormone linked to feelings of love, wellbeing and connection with others.”
After the initial cost-free month, continued sling hire is available and can be discussed with the sling consultants at Carry Me Kate. To get in touch contact Carry me Kate Parenting Service CIC Sling Library on Kate@carrymekate.co.uk
Families are encouraged to visit Somerset County Council’s Public Health’s website Healthy Happy and Safe at home pages which provide a wealth of practical information, advice and ideas to help you during these exceptional times. There is a special families and children section included.