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‘Stay sun safe,’ urge Sefton health chiefs

Although it’s mid-September, health professionals are still urging local people to stay sun safe during this week’s warm weather.

To stay sun safe you should:

  • spend time in the shade between 11am and 3pm;
  • make sure you never burn;
  • cover up with suitable clothing and sunglasses;
  • take extra care with children;
  • use at least factor 30 sunscreen.

Dr Debbie Harvey, clinical lead for cancer at NHS South Sefton Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), said: “A tan and sunburn are both signs of skin damage from exposure to the sun. Too much ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun or sunbeds is the main cause of skin cancer.

“It’s important to remember that there is no safe or healthy way to get a tan and that you can burn in the UK, even on a cloudy day.

“To protect your skin sunscreen should be applied to all exposed areas. Reapply sunscreen every 2 hours, as the sun can dry it off your skin.

“Make sure that the label on your sunscreen has a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 30 to protect against UVB and at least a 4-start UVA protection too.”

In the UK, almost 9 in 10 cases of melanoma, the most serious type of skin cancer, could be prevented through enjoying the sun safely and avoiding sunbeds.

Dr Graeme Allan, clinical lead for cancer at NHS Southport and Formby CCG, said: “Take extra care to protect babies and children in the sun. Their skin is more sensitive than adult skin and damage caused by repeated exposure to sunlight could lead to skin cancer developing later in life. Children under 6 months should always be kept out of direct strong sunlight.

“It’s important to use a water-resistant sunscreen and to reapply it as soon as you or your child have been in the water as water washes it off.

“If you do get sunburn, stay out of the sun as much as possible, apply after-sun cream or spray and drink plenty of water. Your community pharmacists will be able to help you with the best treatments to soothe it and ease any pain, they will also advise if you need to see your GP.

Margaret Jones, Interim Director of Public Health for Sefton, said: “As people are out and about enjoying the good weather it’s really important to not rely on sunscreen alone to protect yourself from the sun.

“And it’s still important to follow social distancing guidance and wash your hands regularly and thoroughly.”

Sefton residents and businesses urged only to seek tests if they have COVID-19 symptoms

Residents and businesses across Sefton and the whole of Cheshire and Merseyside are being urged only to get a Covid-19 test if they have symptoms of the virus.

There has been a huge increase in the number of people seeking a test for coronavirus, partly due to the return of schools and the testing of international travellers. This has put a strain on the laboratories which process the tests.

On top of this, the number of people who do not have symptoms, being tested has also increased; meaning that some people who are symptomatic cannot access a test when they need it.

Successful

The delivery of testing sites across Cheshire and Merseyside has been successful, with enough facilities to meet the demand. However, the sheer number of people now being tested, who often do not have symptoms, has led to laboratories being temporarily overwhelmed across the country.

This situation has seen booking restrictions placed on some of the testing sites in Sefton while laboratories cope with such high demand.

The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) is in the process of delivering a huge increase in laboratory capacity. But while this work continues people are asked to only seek a test if they have symptoms and only to attend a testing site if they have an appointment.

Greater capacity

Margaret Jones, Sefton Council’s Director of Public Health said: “A vast amount of work has gone into delivering the testing infrastructure we need across Sefton. There are, Regional, Local, Satellite and Mobile testing sites available for our residents and workers across Cheshire and Merseyside.

“The increase in people using those sites in the last few weeks has, however, meant that laboratories need even greater capacity to cope with the demand. Many of the people now seeking tests do not have symptoms of Covid-19 and it is those people we are asking to wait a little longer while the capacity in laboratories is developed nationally.

“It is essential for people who do have symptoms or have been asked by Test and Trace or healthcare professional to get a test, to come forward.

“Testing people with symptoms will help us stop the spread of the virus. As we manage this period of high demand, it is especially important that if individuals don’t have symptoms and have not specifically been advised to take a test, to stay away for now. We are asking people to do this as they could be taking a test away from someone who really needs it at this time.”

Key workers

Key workers, frontline health and care staff and those in an outbreak area, will continue to be tested whether they have symptoms or not. Areas with outbreaks will also not see booking restrictions placed on Mobile Testing Units to enable local management of the situation.

Anyone with Covid-19 symptoms; a high temperature, a new, continuous cough and a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste, can book an appointment at nhs.uk/coronavirus or by calling 119.

Sefton Council Leader responds to Merseyside being added to Government’s COVID watchlist

Cllr Ian Maher
Council Leader Cllr Ian Maher

Responding to today’s announcement that Merseyside has been identified by the Government as one of two new areas of concern owing to rising number of COVID-19 cases, Sefton Council Leader Cllr Ian Maher said:

“In the light of this news, it’s essential that every single one of Sefton’s residents and businesses continue the great efforts they have made already to prevent us going into lockdown.

“The willingness and efforts of local people and the vast majority of the Borough’s businesses to follow the guidelines and implement the measures required have been impressive and were reflected in low numbers of cases recently. However, this current rise is a cause for concern.

Working age

“Infections in Sefton are spread across the Borough through people’s familiar social networks, whether at home, at work or out and about and while we are seeing cases being reported in people of all ages, those in the group from 20-60 are prevalent.

“Those people may be only mildly affected by COVID-19 and some are asymptomatic, but our real concern is how these people can still spread the infection, including to their loved ones at home who may be vulnerable and far more seriously affected.

Indoor meetings

“It’s vital that local people continue with social distancing and follow the Government’s recently revised guidelines restricting indoor meetings to members of two different households and keeping numbers at outdoor gatherings to a maximum of six. Wearing masks and face coverings where required and frequent, thorough hand-washing are also crucial.

“Sefton’s businesses need to ensure they are protecting their customers and staff by having all the required measures in place, including Test and Trace arrangements for pubs, bars and restaurants, distancing and cleaning procedures and face coverings where required.

Testing

“Also, we need those people who develop the coronavirus symptoms of a high temperature, or 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. They just need to visit www.nhs.uk/coronavirus  or call 119 to make an appointment at their nearest available Test Centre.  Home testing kits are also available on request.”

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

Efforts and sacrifices

“We really appreciate the huge efforts and sacrifices Sefton’s population and business have made to work with us to protect vulnerable people across our communities. Now we need them to continue those efforts and prevent tighter restrictions being re-introduced.”

You can read the Government’s latest guidance to meeting with others safely  and social distancing here.

Launch of 30 Days of Sefton in Mind

sefton in mindOn World Suicide Prevention Day Sefton Council is launching this year’s 30 Days of Sefton in Mind campaign.

Now in its fourth year, 30 Days of Sefton in Mind happens during the 30 days that fall between World Suicide Prevention Day and World Mental Health Day (10 October).

During this time, we will be promoting positive mental health across the borough and highlighting the many services available on our My Sefton website and across social media using the hashtag #SeftonInMind.

With the added impact of COVID19, our campaign this year asks, ‘Are you okay?’, with the hope that this question starts a conversation about stress or anxiety linked to various issues.  For example, residents might be worried about loneliness, financial difficulties, employment, social isolation or a lack of support. The campaign will provide information about local solutions to problems, such as financial support, friendship groups, or ideas for physical activities which can reduce feelings of isolation.

The campaign is led by Sefton Council and supported by Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust, North West Boroughs Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, NHS South Sefton Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), NHS Southport and Formby CCG and Sefton Council for Voluntary Service.

Cllr Paul Cummins, Mental Health Champion for Sefton Council said:

“With the unprecedented impact of COVID19 we need to promote positive mental health in Sefton now more than ever.”

“As we adapt to a world altered by the pandemic, levels of isolation, distress and anxiety increase. It is vital that we continue work together with our partners to provide services for people struggling with mental health and make sure that people know there is lots of support for them.”

Merseyside Police re-visit Skin Kerr Aesthetics

Officers from Sefton Council’s Environmental Health team and Merseyside Police, revisited Skin Kerr Aesthetics, Hair and Beauty, in Bootle today after the poster saying the businesses would not be following COVID-19 requirements was put back on display.

The poster had been removed on Tuesday 8th September, and after a meeting with the owner yesterday Sefton Council understood this was a permanent move. During the meeting, Environmental Health officers were also satisfied that all the measures currently required for the safe operation of the premises were in place.

However, after reports that the poster was back on display this morning (Thursday 10th September), they returned. The posters in question have been seized and discussions will now take place with Sefton’s Director of Public Health to instigate closure proceedings on the premises.

Cllr Paulette Lappin Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Regulatory, Compliance and Corporate Services said: “It is so disappointing that at a time when we are all focused on trying to limit the spread of coronavirus in the face of rising figures across the region, the owner of this business is taking this irresponsible action that could put their customers, their colleagues and the wider community at risk.

“We are all working hard to prevent more stringent restrictions that would have a negative effect on all local businesses and Seton’s local economy but selfish actions like this could contribute to jeopardising those efforts.”

Environmental Health officers were first made aware on Monday that Skin Kerr Aesthetics, Hair and Beauty was displaying the poster. It states that masks are not being worn at the salon despite rules requiring staff to wear surgical face masks and visors to limit the spread of the disease. The poster also denies the existence of COVID-19, which has been the cause of death for over 1,000 people in Merseyside hospitals, and bans mention of the pandemic.

Sefton Council and Merseyside Police have visited the salon more than once and it was understood the problem had been resolved.

Sefton Council is reminding local businesses and their customers of the importance of following the Government’s COVID-19 guidance, which includes the distancing, cleaning and face-covering measures required to help keep clients and staff safe.

For customers, this means following any of the measures in place for their protection and making sure they provide any Test and Trace information requested on arrival.

Cllr Ian Moncur, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing, said recently: “As well as protecting individual businesses and their customers, these measures are there to support the whole economy by helping to reduce the possibility of a wider COVID-19 outbreak and the potential need to introduce local restrictions, which would have a negative effect on everyone.”

The Government’s guidance for working safely, including at close contact businesses including barbers, beauticians, hairdressers and tattooists.

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