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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.”

 

COVID-19 tests for Sefton residents who DON’T have coronavirus symptoms

Sefton residents who don’t have COVID-19 symptoms can now use Liverpool test sites to get a coronavirus test.

Test are currently available at:

  • Aintree Baptist Church, Longmoor Lane L9 0EH
  • Kirkdale Community Centre (The Gordon), Stanley Road, L5 7QP
  • Liverpool FC Anfield Stadium, Anfield Road, Liverpool, L4 0TH

Sites are open from 7am to 7pm and you don’t need an appointment.

Find out how to get a test. 

People can expect to get their results between 30 minutes and 2 hours after getting tested. They will receive their results by text or email soon after leaving the test centre.

Anyone whose result to the symptom-free test come back positive must self-isolate straight away and book a PCR test via www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test or by calling 119.

People who don’t have symptoms should not go to any test sites apart from the ones shown above as they put themselves at risk of catching the COVID-19 virus.

People who do have the coronavirus symptoms of:

  • a high temperature,
  • a new continuous cough
  • a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste

should isolate and book a test online https://www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test or by calling 119.

Tackling online loan sharks and illegal money lending

Sefton Council is backing a national campaign aimed at tackling illegal money lending on the Internet and warning of the dangers of online loan sharks.

Coordinated by the England Illegal Money Lending Team, the campaign comes amid concerns more people are falling prey to unscrupulous lenders online. Statistics show one in five victims met their lender on social media in the first half of 2020*.

Loan sharks are increasingly using social media platforms, such as Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat, to advertise their illegal loans and target potential victims. These criminals will lure people in with seemingly attractive loan offers but will quickly resort to intimidation, threats and violence to enforce repayment and trap borrowers in a spiral of debt.

Cllr Trish Hardy, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Communities and Housing, said: “We know that COVID-19 has had an impact on many people’s circumstances and has had a negative effect on many households’ incomes, which could make them vulnerable to scams such as this, especially in the build up to Christmas.

“What we want to do is remind Sefton residents that seemingly attractive and affordable offers are illegal schemes being cooked up by criminals who do not have their best interests at heart.

“People already struggling financially will be likely to find themselves in a worse position than before if they fall victim to such online offers, sometimes facing threats and intimidation.”

Tony Quigley, Head of the England Illegal Money Lending Team, said: “We are aware that loan sharks are becoming more active on social media, particularly in community groups and on local selling pages, which we will not tolerate. I urge people to remain vigilant when online – if you spot a suspicious loan advert on social media, report it. If you need to borrow money, always check the lender is authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority and contact your local credit union about ethical financial products and services.”

Cllr Hardy added: “There are ways that the Council can advise and support people who are struggling with their finances. Whether it’s problems paying rent or business owners forced to close because of national and regional coronavirus restrictions. There is a whole host of support available through services like Invest Sefton, Homeless Prevention and Early Help, to name just a few. Further support on a wide range of issues that might affect someone’s finances are outlined on our website.

“The sooner anyone in Sefton facing problems contacts us, the better chance that we can work with them to find practical solutions to their money concerns. And I would urge everyone to be vigilant when online and on social media – don’t get caught out by loan sharks or money lending scams.”

There is a dedicated section on the Council’s website with helpful resources for all here: https://www.sefton.gov.uk/covid-19-in-sefton/covid-19-support/financial-support.aspx

Residents can also get in touch via Sefton Council’s Contact Centre on 0345 140 0845 (Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm).

The campaign, titled #SharkFreeSurfing, will run across social media platforms from Monday 30th November to Sunday 6th December. It is hoped that the campaign will help encourage not just victims but the wider community to report online illegal money lending activity.

The key advice for people to protect themselves from loan sharks online is:

Know who you’re dealing with. If you’ve only ever met someone online or are unsure of the legitimacy of a lender, take some time to do a bit more research. Check the lender is authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). If not, don’t borrow from them – report to the Stop Loan Sharks team.

Beware of loan adverts with no credit checks. Loan sharks have been known to advertise in community groups and on local selling pages. They may seem friendly and accommodating, but their behaviour can quickly change, and you might be harassed or threatened if you get behind with your repayments. Lenders must carry out credit checks to make sure borrowers can afford to pay back their loans. You should never hand over your bank details to strangers, even if they lure you with attractive offers. Remember, if it looks too good to be true, it probably is.

Beware of any requests for your details or money. Loan sharks may ask for copies of your passport or pictures of your house, the street and your house number. Never send money or give card details, online account details or copies of personal documents to anyone you don’t know or trust.

Anyone suspecting they have been approached by a loan shark or someone acting inappropriately, can report them anonymously to www.stoploansharks.co.uk or by calling the Stop Loan Sharks Helpline on 0300 555 2222.

Alternatively, they can email the team reportaloanshark@stoploansharks.gov.uk or access support via live chat on the website, Monday to Friday between 9am-5pm.

Other useful websites:

FCA Financial Services Register: https://register.fca.org.uk/

Find Your Credit Union: www.findyourcreditunion.co.uk

Citizens Advice: www.citizensadvice.org.uk

Step Change: www.stepchange.org

Money Advice Service: www.moneyadviceservice.org.uk

*From research conducted by the England Illegal Money Lending Team as part of their half-year witness statistics report for January-June 2020. 

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