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Get your flu vaccination before the countdown to Christmas

GP surgeries and pharmacies in Sefton are now working tirelessly to vaccinate thousands of residents as part of the biggest flu programme in UK history.

Those eligible for a free flu vaccination this year are:

  • Those who are 50 and over (including those who’ll be 50 by 31 March 2021)
  • people who have certain health conditions
  • pregnant women
  • people who are in long-stay residential care
  • those who 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
  • people who are on the clinically extremely vulnerable patient list and members of their household
  • frontline health and social care workers
  • children aged 2 – 3 years on 31 August 2020
  • all primary school and year 7 children
  • children ages 2 to 17 years with long-term health conditions.

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.

If you have been invited to get the free flu vaccine and have not booked your appointment yet, it is not too late.

Dr Craig Gillespie, chair of NHS South Sefton Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), said: “Flu is a potentially fatal illness and one that can spread very quickly. If you are eligible for a free flu vaccine, it is important that you take up that offer.

“Please be assured that changes have been made to make sure that it is safe for you to have the flu vaccine at GP surgeries and pharmacies. These changes include social distancing, hand washing and wearing protection equipment.”

Dr Rob Caudwell, chair of NHS Southport and Formby CCG, said: “Flu should not be underestimated. It is a serious illness and can be deadly for those who are vulnerable. The flu vaccination is the best defence we have against the virus.

“If you’re at higher risk from coronavirus (COVID-19), you’re also more at risk of problems from flu; and if you get flu and coronavirus at the same time, research shows you’re more likely to be seriously ill. Therefore, getting the flu vaccine is really important to keep you safe and to reduce pressure on the NHS and social care staff who are already dealing with the coronavirus pandemic.”

Margaret Jones, Director of Public Health for Sefton, said: “Having the vaccine is the single best way to protect against flu. It not only helps to keep you safe from the virus, but your loved ones and colleagues too.

“Good hand hygiene is also important in stopping the spread of flu. Catch any coughs and sneezes in a tissue, throw it away and wash your hands- make sure to catch it, kill it and bin it.”

Find out more information  and check whether your eligible for a free vaccine.

 

Tier 2 COVID restrictions now apply for Sefton and Liverpool City Region

The national lockdown has ended and Sefton and the rest of the Liverpool City Region are now in Tier 2 ‘High Alert’ of the Government’s alert system.

What does Tier 2 mean?

Residents and businesses within Tier 2 must stick to the following restrictions:-

  • No household mixing in any indoor setting.
  • Rule of six applies outdoors – any social gatherings of more than six people are against the law.
  • Pubs and restaurants must close by 11pm – last orders will be called at 10pm.
  • Alcohol can only be served as part of a substantial meal.
  • Spectators are allowed at sports events and live performances (capacity will be limited and social distancing must be stuck to).
  • Personal care, including hairdressers and barbers, is allowed.

The Government is reviewing the Tiers every two weeks, meaning if our figures start to increase, we could be placed in a higher category with tighter restrictions so it’s really important that everyone keeps up their efforts.

Liverpool City Region went into the national lockdown on 5 November in Tier 3 ‘Very High Alert’. This means the actions taken and sacrifices made by residents and businesses over the last month have had a positive impact on our infection rates, resulting in the area now being placed in the lower Tier 2 category.

Why are these restrictions necessary?

 We know that COVID-19 is easily transmitted from person to person and while our infection rates have been reducing, they are still too high.

Action needs to be taken to stop the spread of the virus within our communities and limiting interactions with other people as much as possible will help to contain the virus.

The restrictions are in place to protect not only yourself, but those around you.

The sooner we can contain the virus within our communities, the sooner we can get back to some sort of normality.

Remember if you, or anyone in your household, starts to experience symptoms, it is important that you isolate and book a test. The main COVID-19 symptoms are a high temperature, a new continuous cough and a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste.

You can book a test online https://www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test or by calling 119.

The full list of Tier 2 restrictions is available on the Government’s website.

Tier 2 guidance and the five-day Christmas arrangements for People who are Clinically Extremely Vulnerable from COVID-19.

Sefton Council Leader Cllr Ian Maher said:

“Everyone across the Liverpool City Region is playing their part to get our infection rates down and that effort is clearly having an impact as we have come out of lockdown in a better position and in the Tier 2 alert level.

By following the rules, we have seen a significant decrease in our infection rates across the Liverpool City Region and the mass testing programme in Liverpool is helping us to better understand the virus and, importantly, identify people who don’t have symptoms but have tested positive so that they can self-isolate and prevent the further spread of the virus.

Whilst our figures are reducing, they are still too high but we have demonstrated that by following the rules, we can improve our infection rates here across the Liverpool City Region. This is a great achievement and one that we will continue to build on over the coming weeks and months.

Stop. Think. Do the right thing by continuing to follow the rules so that we can start to do and enjoy the things we once did and get back to some sort of normality sooner.”

Joint statement from Metro Mayor, City Mayor and Leaders of the six Liverpool City Region Local Authorities on being in Tier 2 restrictions

Find out more about he Government’s arrangements for Christmas.

Targeted COVID testing in Sefton for people not showing symptoms

After the Government’s announcement that it was extending COVID-19 testing for people not showing coronavirus symptoms to 67 Council areas including Sefton, plans are coming together for testing across the Borough.

With 10,000 tests expected to be made available to Sefton each week, they will need to be targeted where they will have the most effect. The focus is likely to be on hospices and hostels where there are vulnerable residents, as well as those frontline Council workers likely to be exposed to the virus.

Coronavirus testing for people not showing the symptoms of a raised temperature, persistent new cough or loss of taste of smell, were launched in Liverpool with the support of 2,000 army personnel. Residents and people working or attending schools and colleges in the city, including some Sefton residents, are being encouraged to get tested every five days. In the first two weeks, over 150,000 tests were carried out.

Sefton’s Director of Public Health, Margaret Jones said: “With significantly fewer tests available to us, we need to devise a plan for using them where they will deliver the greatest benefit using the resources we have available, which hopefully will include military support. This is why we are focusing on places where vulnerable people are living and the staff working with them.

“Targeting the majority of tests available to us on locations where there are people for whom the COVID-19 could prove most dangerous and even fatal, will help to prevent the spread of infections and save lives.”

People receiving a negative result through the testing scheme are being reminded they still need to follow any restrictions in place to stop the spread of the virus.

Margaret Jones continued: “These new tests are a useful development and in Liverpool, are identifying a significant number of people who have coronavirus but not its symptoms and who could otherwise pass it on to loved ones, friends and colleagues unknowingly.

“However, a negative result is certainly not a passport to bypassing the restrictions and rules we’re all following because really it means you’re not infectious on the day you take the test. That can change quite quickly, which is why people in Liverpool have been encouraged to stick to the restrictions and to get re-tested regularly.”

Anyone who receives a positive test result through the scheme must isolate for 10 days.

People who are eligible can apply for a one-off, £500 Test and Trace Support Payment.

Mrs Jones added that anyone who does start showing the coronavirus symptoms of a raised temperature, persistent new cough or loss of taste of smell, should get a test immediately by calling 119 or visiting www.nhs.uk/coronavirus.

Sefton has walk-through Test Centres at Bootle Town Hall, Crosby Library Car Park, Netherton Activity Centre and Southport Town Hall.

Open from 8am to 8pm, seven days a week, walkthrough centres provide easy access to Covid-19 tests for people with coronavirus symptoms who do not have access to a car and for those who have coronavirus symptoms and should not travel by public transport.

Additionally, Mobile Testing Units are at locations across Sefton nearly every day.

Details of testing in Sefton.

Sefton Council keen to ensure environmental & social factors fully considered in Port of Liverpool growth

Sefton Council has undertaken a review of alternative technologies and potential freight logistics solutions, and is committed to ensuring that environmental and social factors are fully considered alongside the economic factors, in the growth of the Port of Liverpool. This process has been undertaken with Arup, one of the world’s leading engineering and design consultancies.

Forecasts by the Department for Transport and by the port operator show an expected growth in traffic through the Port of Liverpool, and so Sefton Council remains severely concerned about the impacts on local communities.

We are committed to exploring alternative solutions to dealing with this growth, which is reflected in Sefton’s strong opposition to the proposals for the Port of Liverpool being designated a Freeport (as was reflected in the council’s response to the governmental conversation earlier this year) unless these environmental and social impacts are mitigated, and the local economic benefits truly harnessed.

We believe there are alternative technologies and solutions that are economically-viable and environmentally-friendly, which should be considered by stakeholders.

With support from Arup, Sefton Council has led on a study to better understand the technical and economic feasibility of a range of alternative solutions. This work identifies technological solutions that are in place elsewhere in the world that could apply to Sefton, and the Liverpool City Region, that deliver significant environmental benefits compared to road traffic, and that may be economically viable.

Leader of Sefton Council, Ian Maher, said “We believe that these opportunities not only align with the government’s objectives on innovation, technology and growth, but that they have the potential to support the connectivity and competitiveness of the Port of Liverpool, while also considering the impact of the port on local communities.

“We believe that these should be fully considered as part of the port access road project development process, and would welcome the opportunity to explore these project concepts further with the port operator, Department for Transport, and other key local stakeholders.

“Whilst we understand that the growth of the Port of Liverpool could bring potential economic benefits for local communities, if developed in the right way, we remain committed to ensuring that the social and environmental impacts of this growth are given at least equal weight by all parties.”

Peter Dowd, MP for Bootle, said “I welcome the report from Arup which adds a constructive dimension to the Port Access issue. Longer term multimodal freight options, as well as a major review of how government funds major infrastructure projects is needed if we are to break into the short term, reactive solution cycle that has bedevilled access to the Port for decades.”

Download the The Inland Port and Connectivity Concept report.

“Spread the facts, not the virus” – campaign is launched across Cheshire and Merseyside

Directors of Public Health in Cheshire and Merseyside are launching a new campaign to ensure that everyone, particularly younger people, knows the facts about what we can all do to help beat COVID-19.

The first of its kind to talk to young people, the initiative is a collaboration between the NHS and local councils in Cheshire and Merseyside. Using the channels young people engage with, the campaign aims to make the facts clear and will run for six weeks.

Research by the Government’s Behavioural Science Team  shows that young people want facts and clarity on how to do their bit. However, lack of visibility of messages and misinformation about the virus has resulted in younger people being confused and unsure what they should and can do to fight the virus.

The ‘Spread the facts’ campaign features young people working in our health care community. NHS workers, including young doctors, nurses and support workers, share their experiences of working throughout the pandemic. Four videos show our medics urging their peers to get on board.

The use of bold, human stories and imagery attract attention. The adverts feature real life health care heroes who impart a nugget of fact and clearly recommend a simple behaviour that will cut the spread of the virus and stop the spread of misinformation among young people. www.spreadthefacts.co.uk holds the facts and signposts to other official sites for further reading.

Social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, TikTok and Snapchat will serve stories to the target audiences. Spotify and YouTube are also included in the advertising strategy, as well as some high profile outdoor advertising sites in central Liverpool.

Matt Ashton, Director of Public Health for Liverpool and lead Director for communications and marketing said:  “We know that everyone wants to beat COVID-19 and young people are no exception to this. If everyone knows the facts and does their best to help beat the virus, together we can keep everyone safe and keep the rate of infection down.

“The launch of our ‘Spread the Facts’ campaign supports our younger people to play their part. We have worked with young people to make sure this campaign talks in a way that resonates with them. It will be seen on channels that matter to young people. And it will remind us all that we need to keep going. Keeping your distance, wearing a mask, washing hands – we all need to limit who we are in contact with and look out for each other.

“I’d like to thank the young medical professionals who feature in the campaign for sharing their experiences of working throughout this pandemic. Like every NHS worker, they see the brutal impact of the virus every day. Yet still they work tirelessly to deliver the best care possible in such difficult circumstances.

“Thankfully, we are now seeing a reduction in infections in some parts of Cheshire and Merseyside over the past week. That is testament to the huge effort that everyone has made in recent weeks. Everyone has made great sacrifices. The real changes in our lifestyles shows that we now have the tools to keep this virus under control. To make sure we keep everyone safe, we just need the determination to keep going. This campaign will remind everyone to do the right things.”

Dr Oliver Dray, a 26-year-old Doctor at Mid Cheshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and one of the young health professionals taking part in the campaign, added: “I worked in A&E throughout April to August this year. It was clear early on that COVID-19 knew no boundaries. We saw patients with severe symptoms from all walks of life and ages. Remember, there’s currently no cure. So, it really hit home when my colleague and friend, the same age as me, was struck down by the virus. He was on a ventilator for five days. It’s a real shock when the virus puts someone young in intensive care.

“Yes, the virus tends to hit older people hardest. But everybody – young and old – needs to be careful to protect themselves and each other. Compared to calling an ambulance because someone you care about can’t breathe, following the guidance is simple. Keep your distance, wear a mask, wash your hands – easy. Just limiting your contact with others stops the virus spreading. I’m sure if people had experienced what my colleagues and I had this year, they’d stick to the guidance.

“People working in the NHS are facing a pretty tough winter, physically and emotionally. This campaign makes it clear the simple things we can all do to help. If we keep doing this, we can fight the virus. I’m proud to be able to play a part. If the campaign saves one life, it will be worth it.”

 

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