This update includes what to expect when visiting and using some of our council services:
- COVID-19 case rates in Stoke-on-Trent
- Public health guidance
- COVID-19 testing
- COVID-19 vaccinations and walk-in clinics
- Reminder on guidance and vaccination regulations for care home workers
- The City Centre Beach in Hanley
- UK-wide antibody survey initiative launched
- 24-hour Mental Health Helpline
COVID-19 case rates in Stoke-on-Trent
The seven-day rate of coronavirus cases in the city is 337.4 per 100,000 people, for the week 15 August – 21 August 2021. This is a 7.3 per cent increase on the previous seven days. These rates mean that we are now down to being 56th in England for cases, and 7th in the West Midlands, The positivity rate or the percentage of people who have had a test and tested positive is 9.6 per cent. Cases are widespread across the city, but hotspot areas are Dresden and Florence.
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.
Public health guidance
Although measures such as social distancing and wearing face coverings are not mandatory now, it doesn’t mean that we still can’t use them. Choosing to follow the guidance and continuing to wear a face covering, and also getting regular COVID-19 tests and your vaccine when you are called are our best defences against the spread of the virus.
Hands, Face, Space and Fresh Air – these are simple measures we can take to help stop the spread of COVID-19. Following these will also help to drive down the city’s case rates:
- Hands – wash your hands regularly with warm water soap for at least 20 seconds (the amount of time it takes to sing ‘Happy Birthday’). You can also use hand sanitisers while you’re out and about.
- Face – Wear a face covering in crowded places, such as while using pubic transport, unless you are medically exempt.
- Space – Keep a one-metre distance from people you are not meeting with.
- Fresh Air – Meet up with others outside where you can or if you are inside, make sure the rooms are well ventilated, for example, open a window. Fresh air is known to lower the risk of transmitting COVID-19.
COVID-19 is passed through close contact, so practising Hands, Face, Space and Fresh Air wherever you can- including in your own and other peoples’ homes – will help stop it from spreading.
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. There are a number of ways you can access regular COVID-19 tests in Stoke-on-Trent. Please note that due to the Bank Holiday on Monday, 30 August 2021, certain community testing centres and community collect venues will be closed or operating limited hours. Please check the schedules via Where can you get tested in Stoke-on-Trent? | Booking a Covid-19 test | Stoke-on-Trent or Community Collect | Community Collect | Stoke-on-Trent for the latest information.
This week, the pop up testing team were in Hanley Park offering lateral flow tests and home testing kits to park visitors. Next week, you’ll find them at Westport Lake:
Date: Tuesday, 31 August 2021
Time: 11am – 3pm
Location: Westport Lake
Doorstep testing programme
Teams from Stoke-on-Trent City Council and Midlands Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (MPFT) visited households in the Ford Green and Smallthorne areas of the city last Wednesday, 18 August 2021 to offer residents lateral flow testing kits on their doorsteps in a drive to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in the city. They handed out a total of 187 home kits, and this week, teams visited households in the Shelton South area of the city and handed out 329 home kits. Residents in both areas were pleased to accept the kits.
Next Wednesday, 1 September, the teams will be going back to visit other households in the Shelton South area of the city.
Covid stewards and staff from the Trust are visiting households in areas across the city where testing rates have been low and COVID-19 rates have been historically high. The teams will provide households with lateral flow testing kits and offer advice on how to use the kits, and answer any questions residents may have. This scheme is all about taking testing directly to people and being able to have conversations with residents, and to continue to raise awareness of the importance of testing.
Please be aware that our Covid stewards will always be dressed in high visibility tabards and will always carry identification that clearly shows they are from the city council. Our teams will always explain where they are from and will not attempt to enter households. As part of our doorstep testing programme, we advertise the dates and areas of when and where the teams will be carrying out visits via these bulletins and social media pages. If you notice anybody acting suspicious or if anybody approaches your household and they are not carrying city council identification, and you are concerned, please alert the police.
Home testing kits
Everyone in England can access free lateral flow tests. 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.
It’s also really important that you follow the instructions in your test kit to ensure that the result is as accurate as possible, and that 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 lateral flow test (LFT) at our community venues.
Book a Covid-19 test (for people without COVID-19 symptoms)
You can still book lateral flow 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, and are unable to book one using the national system, you can alternatively request PCR home delivery.
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 Synectics Solutions.
PCR tests are available in the city at SCFC, Fenton Manor Car Park and Synectics Solution and can be booked by going to Coronavirus (COVID-19) – NHS (www.nhs.uk) or by phoning 119.
Over 16s can now get their COVID-19 jabs
COVID-19 vaccines are now available for:
- everyone aged 16 or over
- some children aged 12 to 15 who have a higher risk of getting seriously ill from COVID-19 or who live with someone at high risk of catching it
- book your COVID-19 vaccination appointments online for an appointment at a vaccination centre or pharmacy
- find a walk-in COVID-19 vaccination site to get vaccinated without needing an appointment
- wait to be contacted by your GP surgery and book your appointments with them
Vaccination walk-in clinics
Please keep checking this link for the latest information on walk-in clinics across Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire. Anybody who is eligible for their Covid-19 jab is welcome, and no appointment is needed. Please note that all second doses are only available after eight-plus weeks of your first vaccination. If you attend a walk-in clinic before the eight weeks, you will be turned away.
Pregnant women are being urged to get their COVID-19 vaccination
NHS England’s Chief Midwifery Officer, Professor Jacqueline Dunkley-Bent, is urging expectant mums to get the Covid-19 vaccine. This comes as data shows that since May, just three women had been admitted after having their first vaccine. In contrast, almost all (98 per cent of) pregnant women admitted to hospital with Covid-19 had not been jabbed. Covid-19 vaccines are our best defences against the virus and offer us the best protection. Whether you’re pregnant, think you might be, or you are trying for a baby, we encourage you to take up the offer of a vaccine to help protect yourselves and your babies.
‘Pregnancy in the pandemic’ podcast
As part of the Stoke-on-Trent Community Health Champions scheme, a new podcast called ‘Pregnancy in the pandemic’ is now available to listen to. New mum Clare talks about her experiences being pregnant during the COVID-19 pandemic, and explains why she got her vaccination during her pregnancy. You can listen to the podcast or read the full transcript of the interview by clicking here.
If you have any concerns, please speak to a health professional such as your midwife.
Reminder on guidance and vaccination regulations for care home workers
Most fully vaccinated care staff who are close contacts of COVID-19 cases can now routinely return to work, provided they have had a negative PCR test. Daily rapid lateral flow tests will need to be taken for 10 days as a precaution.
Staff working with clinically extremely vulnerable patients or service users will need a risk assessment carried out by a designated person in the workplace before they return to work.
Self-isolation is no longer required for fully COVID-19 vaccinated residents, following the latest changes to admissions and care of residents guidance.
Updated advice includes changes to self-isolation requirements for staff coming into close contact with residents confirmed or believed to have COVID-19. Additional information for staff returning from international travel is also included. You can read this by clicking here.
Care home workers much be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by Thursday, 11 November 2021
Anybody entering a care home for work or volunteering – unless they are exempt – must be fully vaccinated by 11 November when the new regulations come into force. There are now 11 weeks to go until this deadline. There should be 8 – 12 weeks between first and second doses, unless you are advised by a medical professional otherwise. Click here to read the latest guidance.
Visits into care homes
Those who are notified as close contacts of someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 are advised not to visit care homes, in order to protect vulnerable residents. They can continue to visit in exceptional circumstances, such as when a resident is nearing the end of their life. Visits should also take place with current testing regimes in place. Click here to read the latest guidance on visiting care homes.
The City Centre Beach in Hanley
This week, part of the city centre has been transformed into a beach. The City Centre Beach is located near to the city council’s Smithfield offices, Hilton Garden Inn Hotel and Clayworks apartments, and has seen an 110m sq area of public open space transformed into a family-friendly fun space, complete with 18 tonnes of washed silica play sand. The beach also includes an on-site tuck shop, strikingly painted beach huts by local artist Chloe Breeze, and there are on-site portaloos.
The City Centre Beach is funded by Stoke-on-Trent City Council, HM Government, and the European Regional Development Fund ‘Welcome Back Fund’, which supports towns and centres in reopening safely in response to the coronavirus pandemic. It is being delivered by Appetite.
So dig out your buckets and spades, join us on a deckchair and get involved in some of the fun family-friendly activities on offer. There will be a packed programme of live performances and activities to take part in at the beach, which will be open daily between 10.30am – 5.30pm, until Wednesday 22 September 2021.
UK-wide antibody survey initiative launched
The Government has launched a UK-wide antibody surveillance programme which will offer home antibody tests in the UK. Anyone aged over 18 will be able to opt in to take part when booking a PCR test through NHS Test and Trace. Up to 8,000 people a day who opt in and then receive a positive PCR result will be sent 2 finger prick antibody tests to complete at home and send back to a lab for analysis. The data collected will help estimate the proportion of those who got COVID-19 despite developing antibodies as a result of having a vaccine or previously catching coronavirus.
Click here to read more about the new initiative.
24-hour Mental Health Helpline
The 24-hour Mental Health Helpline is here for you 24-hours a day, seven days a week. If you need support with your mental health, please call 01782 234233.
Categorised in: News