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Biggest flu programme in history rolled out across Sefton

GP surgeries and pharmacies across Sefton are starting to vaccinate thousands of people against flu, whilst ensuring that coronavirus social distancing measures are followed.

This year will be the most comprehensive flu programme in UK history, with more people eligible for the free NHS vaccine than ever. If you are eligible, please do not call your practice, your GP practice will be in touch to let you know the plans for you to get your vaccine.

Those eligible for a free flu vaccination this year are:

  • people who are on the shielded patient list and members of their household;
  • all school year groups up to and including Year 7;
  • people aged over 65;
  • pregnant women;
  • those with pre-existing conditions including at-risk under-2-year olds;
  • receive a carer’s allowance, or are the main carer for an older or disabled person who may be at risk if you get sick.

Later this year, dependent on supply, people aged 50 to 64 will also be invited to get the flu vaccination. If you are in this age group, please wait for your invitation and do not call for an appointment.

Dr Craig Gillespie, chair of NHS South Sefton Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), said: “With more people eligible for the flu vaccine and the need for social distancing and infection control measures staff have been working really hard to ensure that everyone will be as safe as possible while receiving their vaccination this year.”

“Don’t ignore the flu, it’s a potentially fatal illness and one that can spread very quickly. If you are eligible for a free flu vaccine and invited to have it, it is important that you take up that offer.”

Dr Rob Caudwell, chair of NHS Southport and Formby CCG, said: “Flu should not be underestimated it is a serious illness and can even be deadly for the most vulnerable of our population.

“The flu vaccination is the best defense we have against the virus. It is vital that those eligible have the vaccine every year as it protects against different strains of flu which can change and evolve each year.”

Margaret Jones, director of public health for Sefton, said: “Having the vaccine is the single best way to protect against flu and will be an important step in preventing not only you, but your family, friends, and colleagues from getting the virus.

“As well as getting the vaccine, practicing good hand hygiene by catching coughs and sneezes in a tissue, throwing it away and washing your hands after can really help limit its spread – catch it, bin it, kill it.”

For more information or to check your eligibility for the flu vaccine, visit: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/vaccinations/flu-influenza-vaccine/

 

Sefton’s Public Health Director urges residents not to party hard ahead of new COVID restrictions

Photo by Marcus Herzberg from Pexels
Photo by Marcus Herzberg from Pexels

Sefton Council’s Director of Public Health Margaret Jones has appealed to Sefton residents to show restraint and not to ‘party hard’ before new coronavirus restrictions are introduced from Tuesday.

Mrs Jones said:“Of course, with this news of next week’s further restrictions some people will be tempted to go out over the weekend and celebrate before they kick in but I would urge them not to as they could be putting themselves and their vulnerable relatives at risk.

Risk

“As people party more, they tend to become less inhibited and can forget the need for social distancing, mask wearing and frequent and thorough handwashing, all of which are key to preventing the spread of the COVID-19 virus when we’re out and about.

“While those people may be younger, meaning they are probably less likely to affected badly by COVID-19 and are less worried about the pandemic, the risk is that they could take the virus home to relatives for whom coronavirus could be very serious or even fatal if they are vulnerable or elderly.

Regret

“So yes, go out and enjoy the weekend, but please don’t enjoy it to so much that you or your family could seriously regret it.

“Our pubs, bars and restaurants will still be open on Wednesday and if we all remember the rules, they can stay that way as we get the infection numbers back down.”

 

Council leader responds to new COVID restrictions for Merseyside

Sefton Council Leader Cllr Ian Maher has responded to today’s news that the Government has announced new restrictions for Merseyside Sefton from Tuesday 22 September,  in the light of rising numbers of confirmed COVID-19 cases across the City Region.

Cllr Maher said: “I know people will be concerned at this news but with infection rates rising in people of all ages across our communities, it is important that we all make every effort to restrict the spread of the virus and these new measures will support that.

“This means not socialising with other people outside of their own households or support bubble in private homes and gardens. It means pubs, bars and restaurants stick to table service only for food and drink and that these establishments, along with cinemas, have to close at 10pm.”

The new restrictions also mean people should only use public transport for essential purposes such as travelling to school or work, and should not attend amateur and semi-professional sporting events as spectators.

Cllr Maher continued: “As I have said previously, the Council is really appreciative of all the efforts and sacrifices made by Sefton’s population and the Borough’s business to protect vulnerable people across our communities.

“Now we are relying on our residents and businesses to continue working with us and to follow these new restrictions to prevent tighter measures being re-introduced.

“Since the start of the pandemic, we have been working with our partners to support vulnerable people across the Borough and we are reviewing the measures we have in place to support them, including those people who were previously shielding”

Cllr Maher stressed the need for people to continue with social distancing, follow the guidelines on wearing masks and face coverings and to wash their hands frequently and thoroughly. He also called on Sefton’s businesses to ensure they are protecting their customers and staff by having all the required measures in place, including Test and Trace arrangements at pubs, bars and restaurants, in addition to the newly-announced restrictions.

Earlier this week, Cllr Maher also joined The Metro Mayor of Liverpool City Region and the Leaders of four Cheshire Local Authorities in calling on the Government urgently to deploy more Covid-19 testing capacity in the region.

An immediate increase in testing capacity is now urgently needed to protect the most vulnerable members of the community, ensure that our keyworkers can continue to work and avoid further local lockdowns, they said.

Cllr Maher added: “I have written to the Minister in the strongest possible terms to express my disappointment and frustration over the lack of testing in Sefton.

“Testing is vital to helping prevent the spread of coronavirus and we need those people who develop the coronavirus symptoms of a high temperature, a new continuous cough, or a loss or change to their sense of smell or taste, to get a test immediately, for their own safety and the safety of others.

“To make an appointment at their nearest available Test Centre or order a Home Testing Kit, they need to visit www.nhs.uk/coronavirus  or call 119.”

Cllr Maher also said it is vitally important that if any Sefton residents are contacted by the Test and Trace programme, they comply with the requests of the contact tracers and stay home if they are asked to do so.

More, local information is available on the Sefton Council website.

 

Care home visits to be limited to protect most vulnerable from growing COVID cases

Sefton Council, along with authorities across Merseyside, is asking care homes to limit interactions with people from outside who may be carrying coronavirus owing to the significant increases in COVID-19 confirmed cases across the region.

Protecting the Borough’s most vulnerable residents has been a priority for Sefton Council since the start of the pandemic, which is why it has written to care home managers and owners instructing them to limit visits.

The following visits can continue but will be review on a weekly basis.

  • Essential visits by health professionals
  • Visits from families and relatives to those residents who are receiving end of life care may continue subject to robust risk assessments.
  • Garden visits subject to risk assessments.
  • All other non-essential visits and visits by family members into care homes are suspended until further notice.

To maintain contact with family members the Council is encouraging people to keep in touch with their loved one through digital channels such as Zoom or WhatsApp and we will support care home staff to facilitate safe contact in this way.

Sefton Council’s letter also explains to care sector providers that it is working with council colleagues across City Region to ensure a coordinated response to rising numbers of Covid-19 cases. This work includes requirements around a consistent approach to the Government’s recently-introduced ‘rule of 6’.

This includes considering the benefits and risks of people returning to day services, their transport arrangements and the number of days they may be able to access services.

In the letter, Sefton Council expresses its ongoing appreciation that care providers are all doing their best to support people and keep them safe. It also highlights the need to be aware of the risks posed by groups of people coming together while also taking the needs of service uses and their families into account.

Commenting on the move, Cllr Paul Cummins, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care said: “We know this will be a disappointment for care home residents and their families across the City Region and we acknowledge the hard work our Sefton Care homes have undertaken to manage the risks of an outbreak but it’s vital we take this action to prevent COVID-19 getting into care homes and spreading among residents.

“Younger people are less likely to be affected seriously by COVID-19 and are often asymptomatic and our concern is that when they visit they will unwittingly pass the virus on to their vulnerable relatives for whom coronavirus could be very serious or even fatal.”

“With numbers of coronavirus cases rising across the region, it is important that we weigh up the significant benefits our day services can provide for users and their families with the risks of groups of them coming together to use them.

“We are working closely with our colleagues across the City Region to ensure we are taking a coordinated and proportional approach that ensures people can understand what is happening and what is not and that no-one is missing out because they are a resident of a particular area.”

Sefton Council has told care providers it will be arranging a meeting with them in the coming days to discuss the concerns and questions and they may have.

New coronavirus measures for Sefton school visitors

From today (Friday 18 September) adults visiting Sefton schools will be required to wear face coverings when visiting or entering the school premises. Also, just one adult will be able to enter the premises for drop-off and pick-up.

Parents and carers dropping off or collecting their children are asked to arrive and leave promptly and not to congregate at the school gate or in the playground. And, school staff are being asked to wear face coverings when they come out onto the playground.

With number of COVID-19 cases rising across the region, and Merseyside having been identified by the Government as “area of concern”, these extra measures are needed to help prevent the spread of the virus.

Although children and younger people are less likely to be affected seriously by COVID-19 or may even be asymptomatic, the Council’s concern is that they could take the virus home to potentially vulnerable relatives for whom coronavirus could be very serious or even fatal.

Commenting on the measures, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Children, Schools and Safeguarding, Cllr John Joseph Kelly said: “It is important that our children get back to school and resume their education and I would like to thank all of our teachers, schools and education staff, parents and carers and the pupils themselves for working with us to achieve this as safely as possible.

“However, we know that since the Borough’s schools have re-opened, we have seen a number of class and year bubbles as well as school staff being sent home to isolate owing to positive test results or people showing coronavirus symptoms.

“I am pleased at the way each of these schools has dealt with the circumstances by following Public Health England guidelines and liaising with the Council to manage the situation.

“I hope these extra measures will help reduce the virus spreading in our school community and prevent more pupils and staff being sent home but if they don’t, we may have to contact schools about potential further measures.”

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