This update includes what to expect when visiting and using some of our council services:
Covid-19 cases rising in Stoke-on-Trent, public health guidance
- New guidance on self-isolation for NHS frontline workers
- Vaccination update
- End of the school year
- Holiday Activities and Food programme (HAF)
- Guidance for care home visitors
Covid-19 cases rising in Stoke-on-Trent, public health guidance
The seven-day rate of coronavirus cases in the city is now 592.9 per 100,000 people, for the week 9 July – 15 July 2021. There continues to be a significant increase of cases in the city, increase of 38.7 per cent on the previous seven days. The percentage of people who have had a test and tested positive is 13.4 per cent. Cases are widespread across the city, but hotspot areas are: Ford Green and Smallthorne and Abbey Hulton and Townsend.
Our cases are continuing to rise, which is expected as more people are out and about across the country, and the majority of COVID-19 restrictions have been lifted. The figures mean Stoke-on-Trent has the second highest case rate in the West Midlands and the 28th highest rate nationally.
We can all help to drive our rates down by continuing to follow the public health advice and to keep regularly testing ourselves. However, the best way of all that we can help to protect ourselves and others around us is to get vaccinated and encourage all our family, friends and colleagues to do the same if they are eligible. The vaccine does not eliminate completely the chance of getting Covid but it does offer a huge protective effect by reducing at least eight-fold your chance of catching it, the severity of illness if you do get it, the chance of having to go into hospital if you do and ultimately the risk of dying.
Although restrictions have been lifted, we cannot stress enough the important of continuing to take measures such as testing for COVID-19 at least twice a week and recording the results, wearing a face covering in crowded places such as public transport, washing or sanitising your hands regularly and keeping a one-metre distance from others.
We recognise that these are very personal choices and therefore we encourage all residents to make the best decision for themselves and their loved ones.
Everyone in England can access free lateral flow tests (LFT). The kits are quick to use from home, and give results in 30 minutes. One in three people with coronavirus don’t show symptoms, so the tests are really important in helping to quickly spot positive cases and squash any outbreaks. Testing twice a week should now be a normal part of our lives, even if you have had the vaccination you can still spread the virus, and there are still lots of people who have not yet had their jab.
It’s also really important that your test results are registered online or over the phone – whether your result is positive, negative or a void result. If testing at home, residents will need to register their results online or by calling 119. They should self-isolate if positive and order a confirmatory PCR test within 48 hours of a positive LFT.
You can order lateral flow testing kits to use at home via any of the following routes:
Home testing kits are available to collect from a number of venues across the city. Our staff are trained and on hand to help you and they are available to answer any questions or concerns you may have and to talk you through how to use these tests. You can find out more details about the community collect venues which offer this via https://www.stoke.gov.uk/communitycollect
58 pharmacies across the city offer home testing kits. You can find out where you can collect them from via a map on the NHS website. Click here to find out more.
Ordering tests online:
If you cannot collect a home test kit from a community testing site or pharmacy, you can order them online by clicking here.
If you have one of the three main symptoms then you are not eligible for lateral flow testing. You should instead book a test through https://www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test, or by calling 119.
Please also remember that confirmatory PCR tests for positive lateral flow tests have been reintroduced. It is really important that everyone has a confirmatory PCR test within 48 hours maximum of a positive LFT at our community venues.
Book a Covid-19 test
It is important that we all get tested regularly for coronavirus– at least twice a week. There are different ways that are convenient for you to access tests. Every test we take helps ensure we are protecting are families, friends, colleagues and communities. If we want lockdown restrictions to continue to ease, we must keep testing twice a week and follow the guidance.
You will still be able to book tests at our community testing centres and there are still plenty of slots available. A full list of community locations and booking options and a range of locations, dates and times for the week ahead the are available on our website via www.stoke.gov.uk/bookacovid19test.
If you are symptomatic or need a confirmatory PCR test for a positive lateral flow test can book through the national system. People who need a Covid PCR test are being advised to keep checking the national portal – after high demand is limiting tests currently available across the UK.
New slots are added to the national portal throughout the day, but people can also book a home PCR test online at www.nhs.uk/coronavirus
If you require an urgent test you do have the option of a walk-up (unbooked) test at Fenton Manor Car Park or Synetics Solutions.
PCR tests are available in the city at Stoke City FC South Car Park, Fenton Manor Car Park and Synetics Solution and can be booked by going to Coronavirus (COVID-19) – NHS (www.nhs.uk) or by phoning 119.
Please remember to stop the spread of Covid-19 it is important to self-isolate immediately when you start to feel unwell with Covid-19 symptoms.
Pop up COVID-19 testing centres this week
Our pop up testing centre has been based at Westport Lake yesterday (21 July) with the gazebo pitched at the edge of the lake next to the Green Door Charity building. The Midland Partnership Foundation Trust staff accompanied by our Covid Stewards were there from 11am to 4pm offering onsite lateral flow testing to the public alongside the issuing of LFD home collect kits to take away and self- administer.
The weather and the location provided an ideal opportunity to raise awareness of the continued importance to continue testing whilst asymptomatic in order to reduce transmission of COVID-19 as the cases have increased over recent weeks.
The reception from the public was really encouraging with a number of people being tested – an early positive case was recorded and informed to self-isolate for 10 days and complete a PCR test. This provides evidence of the benefits lateral flow testing in our communities has in detecting the coronavirus and keeping people safe.
We will be providing pop up lateral flow testing in a number of our green spaces throughout the summer to encourage our community to keep testing whilst they are enjoying their activities.
Dates will be shared nearer the time but we will at Westport Lake, Longton Park, Burslem Park, Tunstall Park, Central Forest Park, and Hanley Park over the coming month.
New guidance on self-isolation for NHS frontline workers
As of Monday (19 July), double vaccinated frontline NHS and social care staff in England who have been told to self-isolate are permitted to attend work in exceptional circumstances and replaced by testing mitigations.
This includes staff who have been contacted as a close contact of a case of COVID-19 by NHS Test and Trace, or advised to self-isolate by the NHS Covid-19 app.
You can find more information on this here.
The Government are updating the list to include critical workers. You can find out more about the changes by clicking here.
Walk-in vaccination centres
The next walk-in vaccination clinics in Stoke-on-Trent are:
Date: Thursday, 22 July 2021
Time: Between 2pm and 4.30pm
Location: Prima Care Surgeries, Hanley health Centre, Upper Huntbach Street, ST1 2BN
For: Pfizer, first and second doses
Dates: Thursday, 22 July 2021 and Thursday, 29 July 2021
Times: Between 1pm and 4pm and 4.30pm – 7pm
Location: Hartshill Medical Centre, Ashwell Road, Hartshill ST4 6AT
For: Pfizer first and second doses and AZ first and second doses
You do not need an appointment for these centres.
Walk-in vaccination centres will be updated via the NHS Together We’re Better website. Please keep an eye on this link for updates. We will also promote any clinics in Stoke-on-Trent via the Stoke-on-Trent City Council social media pages.
Book your COVID-19 vaccination
All adults aged 18 + in England can now book their COVID-19 vaccine. People with a learning disability over the age of 16 are also now eligible for the vaccination. Please book yours as soon as possible by clicking here.
Advice on COVID-19 vaccination of children and young people can be found here.
End of the school year- thank you to schools, pupils and families
As we come to end of the school year this week we want to take the time to thank all our schools in the city for their hard work and dedication over the past academic year. Schools have been under immense pressure dealing with the repercussions of Covid and they have all adapted to change remarkably.
Regular testing, class bubbles, suppling work virtually for children who are self-isolating and staggered arriving and leaving times are just a few of the measures schools have had to implement and react to throughout the year.
We also want to thank school pupils and their parents and guardians. These past 18 months have affected children tremendously. Many have experienced periods of isolation, they have had to adjust to a new school environment and some have missed out on school events and day trips.
Parents have followed government guidance and tested themselves regularly and we thank them for this. They have worked schools to ensure their children didn’t miss out on learning whilst self-isolating. We would encourage families to keep testing throughout the Summer holidays, as case rates continue to rise. There are a range of ways you can access free home tests which are detailed in this update.
We are extremely proud our how our city has shown community spirit throughout the pandemic and our school communities have been a shining example of this.
We have seen local businesses donate fund to schools to support them. During the midst of lockdown, Genr8 Developments who work with Stoke-on-Trent City Council on a number of projects contacted the council to offer support to local schools. Genr8 supplied £1000 cash donations to each of these schools which were used to buy IT equipment so pupils could access lessons remotely whilst they were at home and to buy more advanced equipment ready for when they returned to school. The donations were a much need help to schools as they dealt with the changing teaching environments.
While schools are closed for the summer holidays, we encourage school staff, pupils and parents and guardians to take some down time to rest and recharge the batteries. Enjoy the warm weather, Stoke-on-Trent is currently basking in and take the time to have some fun with friends and family.
Holiday Activities and Food programme (HAF)
The Government’s Holiday Activities and Food fund (HAF) primarily supports children who receive free school meals. However, here in Stoke-on-Trent, a unique partnership between Stoke-on-Trent City Council and the Hubb Foundation will ensure many more children across the city are able to access this summer’s activities programme.
The summer programme is being delivered by both schools and in community venues. Sessions at community venues will be open to children and families. School-based sessions are being coordinated directly with school lead staff who have the best knowledge of the children in their care.
Available to eligible children aged between five and 16, the sessions will include a range of physical activities, arts and crafts and exciting new experiences run by expert organisations including STEM activities. A healthy meal will be also be provided for each attendee. Children will be offered free activities typically for four hours a day, for four days a week throughout the summer holiday period.
You can find out more information about these FREE sessions and how to book at www.thehubbfoundation.com/haf-2021. Please note sessions are updated daily to the website, open sessions are at community sessions and closed sessions are based at schools.
Guidance for care home visitors
As part of the roadmap out of lockdown – guided by data on the prevalence and transmission of COVID-19 – the government want to enable care home residents to enjoy more visits to their care homes wherever it is safe to do so. Updated guidance for care home visitors can be found here.
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