The big announcement this week has been the change in message about the vaccination programme: anyone who is over 70 and who has not yet been invited for the vaccine is now being asked to book their vaccination appointment online or by calling 119. The rollout is still on track to offer the vaccine to the top four priority cohorts by the middle of February.
There is also a focus on encouraging as many Frontline Health and Social Care Workers in our area to take up the offer of a vaccination – there are FAQs specifically for this group on the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Clinical Commissioning Group’s website – the CCG is running the local vaccination programme. Also, the vaccination is now available to all frontline health and social care workers, both within the NHS and in private provider organisations. If you are a frontline health and social care worker please go to this page for advice on how to access the vaccine.
Meanwhile, our case numbers in South Cambridgeshire continue to decline – but slowly – so we all need to keep doing all the right things to keep the numbers going down. For those of you who are looking ahead to a half term break – whether from home-schooling or work – I wish you a restful time. I am sure that everyone who has not seen their friends for some time may be itching to do so, especially young people, but we all need to continue to pull together at half term and ensure that the lockdown is fully complied with.
Half term food vouchers
Cambridgeshire County Council will be providing vouchers to all children who usually receive Free School Meals for use during February half term. The £15 supermarket vouchers will be issued automatically by 12 February, ready for use during the half term week. Vouchers will be sent by email and text message to parents/carers.
Vouchers will be provided to families via the government-funded Winter Grant Scheme that we are working on with the County Council. For further information about the Winter Grant Scheme and the other support available during this challenging period, please visit the County Council’s website.
Local testing for people without symptoms who go out to work
There are six new rapid testing centres in Cambridgeshire where key workers, or other people who cannot work from home, are invited to book twice-weekly lateral flow tests. These tests are for people who do not have any symptoms of covid-19.
With 1 in 3 people who have the virus not displaying any symptoms, this regular testing of people without symptoms will help us to break the chain of transmission, giving workers more peace of mind and protecting others in the workplace. Find the latest information about testing sites and how to book on the County Council’s website. The six current sites are:
- The Hub, High Street, Cambourne
- Queen Mary Centre, Queen’s Road, Wisbech
- Soham Town Rangers Football Club, Julius Martin Lane, Soham
- The Coneygear Centre, Buttsgrove Way, Huntingdon, PE29 1PE – opens today (11 February)
- The Meadows Community Centre, 1 St Catherine’s Road, Arbury – opens tomorrow (Friday 12 February).
Each site will be open from 8am to 8pm, Monday to Saturday. The lateral flow test takes about 15 minutes and results are available within an hour.
People with symptoms will not be tested at the rapid testing sites. Anyone with one or more of these symptoms – a high temperature, a new, continuous cough, or a loss or change to sense of smell or taste – should book a test at www.nhs.uk/coronavirus or by calling 119.
Enabling safe and effective volunteering during coronavirus
The Government has updated the guidance to help organisations and groups understand how they can safely and effectively involve volunteers during the pandemic. The update includes new information on political campaigning and volunteers eligible for vaccines.
Practical grief advice
The Good Grief Trust brings together many different organisations and types of advice for bereavement and loss. Many of us may have lost someone or know someone close to us who has. The current government rules may clarify some aspects for the bereaved but finding the right type of help can be difficult, especially during the pandemic, whether logistical or emotional. On the Good Grief Trust site there are a number of useful links and resources.