Council News 190
This week’s news from around the Council.
- COVID-19 update
On Monday 12 October 2020, the Prime Minister announced the introduction of a new three-tier system of COVID-19 restrictions – ‘medium’, ‘high’ and ‘very high’ alert levels. You can read more about his statement here.
Staffordshire is in the Medium Tier of the Government’s three-tier system but COVID-19 cases are rising fast in South Staffordshire. Residents and businesses are urged to help protect the district and avoid tighter restrictions by continuing to follow the national guidance and observe the crucial messages about the importance of handwashing, wearing face masks, maintaining social distancing and following the Rule of Six, and self-isolating when needed.
COVID-19 testing sites have been set up in the district on Saturday 17 October 2020, from 10am to 2pm to find out how much the virus is circulating in the local community. To do this, testing is being carried out on people who aren’t currently showing any symptoms of COVID-19 and residents are being asked to help with this important work.
Testing is taking place at:
- Cheslyn Hay Leisure Centre, Saredon Road, Cheslyn Hay, WS6 7JQ
- Great Wyrley Scout and Guide Centre, Walsall Road, Great Wyrley, WS6 6LA
Testing is quick and free and 200 appointments for each location are available. They must be booked in advance here: https://staffordshire.zipporah.co.uk/TrackAndTrace/
If you have symptoms of COVID-19, please do not attend this testing. You must stay at home and book a test through the NHS national portal or by calling 119. If positive, you must stay in for 10 days. Anybody who you have been in close contact with must self-isolate for 14 days.
What the three alert levels mean…
Tier 1: Medium alert level – summary document listing restrictions for the tier.
This covers most of the country including Staffordshire. In this tier, current national guidance measures apply, which includes:
- Follow the Rule of Six.
- Work from home if you can.
- Wash your hands regularly.
- Wear a face covering when you need to and in shops and on public transport.
- Keep a safe social distance.
- The closing of hospitality venues at 10pm.
Tier 2: High alert level – summary document listing restrictions for the tier.
This is for areas with a higher level of infections and includes areas in the West Midlands including Wolverhampton, Walsall, Sandwell, Solihull and Birmingham. People must not meet with anyone outside their household or support bubble in any indoor setting. The Rule of Six applies outdoors.
Tier 3: Very high alert level – summary document listing restrictions for the tier.
This is for areas with very high level of infections. Pubs and bars must close, and additional measures are determined in consultation with local authorities.
Retail, schools and universities remain open.
If you are unsure what the alert level is for your address, you can find out the local alert level in your local area with the following Postcode Checker:
For more information, visit: www.sstaffs.gov.uk/coronavirus
- Useful COVID-19 information
- Information about face coverings – When to wear one, exemption cards, enforcement measures for failing to comply with the law, and how to make your own.
- Information about meeting others safely – Social distancing, the rule of six, and COVID-Secure guidelines.
- Information about what you can and can’t do – Frequently asked questions about social contact, visiting public places and taking part in activities.
- Information about NHS test and trace – The NHS test and trace service is a vital tool and helps control the spread of coronavirus. To get a test, you will need to apply online or call 119 and the test involves taking a swab of the inside of your nose and the back of your throat, using a long cotton bud. If you test positive for COVID-19, you will be asked where you’ve been recently and who you have been in close contact with. This will help the NHS contact anyone who may have caught the virus from you. All information you provide is confidential and no one who is contacted will be told your identity. Anyone you’ve been in close contact with will be told to stay at home (self-isolate) for 14 days. This is because it can take up to 14 days for coronavirus symptoms to appear.
- Information about the NHS COVID-19 app – This app is an integral part of the test and trace programme and is the fastest way of knowing when you are at risk from coronavirus. It is available to download on smartphones from Google Play Store and Apple App Store.
- NHS test and trace support payments
This week, South Staffordshire Council launched applications for NHS Test and Trace support payments. This follows the Government’s announcement that from Monday 28 September 2020 people who have been told by NHS Test and Trace to self- isolate who on low incomes and unable to work from home can claim a support payment of £500 to compensate for their loss of earnings if they meet certain criteria. Local authorities are administering the payments for self-isolation and residents in South Staffordshire are now able to submit an application for this support and the application form is now live.
- Protect against flu
Every year, the annual NHS flu vaccination is available to help protect adults and children at risk from flu and its complications. With COVID-19 still in circulation, it’s important that as many people as possible get vaccinated for flu this autumn to protect the most vulnerable and reduce the number of people needing flu treatment from the NHS. This year, the flu vaccination programme has been expanded and more people are eligible for free flu jabs. The flu can be a serious disease and by getting the vaccine, you will be protecting yourself as well as your loved ones. Visit the NHS website to find out more about the flu vaccine and visit your GP practice website or speak to your pharmacy about booking a flu vaccination. High street chemists and most of the leading supermarkets also offer the vaccination to any adult at varying costs.
- High streets recovery work in South Staffordshire
This month, Councillors have been delivering hand sanitisers to local businesses and the Council’s Locality Enablers and Street Scene team have been busy displaying information and social distancing posters in local high streets throughout the district. You can see some pics here.
Remember, there is a selection of free resources in the Council’s business toolkit. This includes posters about face coverings, hand sanitisers and social distancing and they can be found in the Council’s online bank of resources on its website. Businesses can download and print the posters and signs free of charge and display them in their place of business.
- Leisure Services update
Last week, swimming lessons re-started at Wombourne Leisure Centre and swimmers adapted extremely well. Everyone followed the new protocols, which made the lessons run smoothly, and we felt really proud of all of the young swimmers and their parents who all played their part in making the return of swimming lessons such a success. We would like to take this opportunity to thank the staff and swimming instructors for their support and enthusiasm and especially thanks to Bridget Chambers for all her hard work over the past few months.
The Leisure Services team is now working on preparations for Codsall Leisure Centre and it is hoped that swimming lessons will re-start there in November. Cheslyn Hay and Penkridge Leisure Centres are still undergoing work and so lessons will re-start at these centres in due course.
- 4% satisfaction levels for waste and recycling service
A recent survey launched during National Recycle Week last month showed that 95.4% of residents in South Staffordshire are satisfied with their waste and recycling kerbside services.
- Doing our bit – community fund now open
A new grant fund to help community groups who are doing their bit to support vulnerable children or older people in our communities opened this week. Groups and organisations can apply online for grants of up to £2,500. Find out more here.
- Birmingham 2022 launches apprenticeship scheme
A new Birmingham 2022 apprenticeship scheme has been launched, giving you the chance to be part of the 2022 team whilst gaining top class support and training. Find out more at:
- Do you know a Hometown Hero?
Birmingham Commonwealth Games are looking for Hometown Heroes as part of their marketing campaign in the run up to the games in 2022. They are asking people to nominate those who deserve to be recognised for making a difference to their communities by dedicating their lives to grassroots sport. Nominees could be an inspiring coach, dedicated volunteer, courageous player or diehard supporter, or anyone who’s had a real impact on their sport club, team or facility. To find out more, visit:
- Together we win!
Now more than ever, good causes in South Staffordshire need your support. One way you can help is by buying a lottery ticket in our weekly Community Lottery and as well as supporting a good cause you might even win a cash prize ranging from £25 up to a jackpot of £25,000. To buy a lottery ticket, simply register on the website www.southstaffslottery.co.uk or telephone 01902 213777. The next super draw also takes place on 31 October 2020 so there’s a chance to win a family forest staycation voucher worth £500 too, redeemable with Forest Holidays.
- Council job vacancies
- Street Scene Operative – Level 3 (Arboriculturist) – application information.
Closing date 19 October 2020.
- Technical Support Officer – application information. Closing date 30 October 2020.
- Next week’s Committee/Panel meetings
- Planning Committee – Tuesday 20 October 2020 – 6.30pm – virtual meeting on Teams.
- Personal Development Review and Appointments Panel – Wednesday 21 October 2020 – 2pm – virtual meeting on Teams.
- Locality 2 Forum – Wednesday 21 October 2020 – 5pm – virtual meeting on Teams.
- Overview and Scrutiny Committee – Wednesday 21 October 2020 – 6.30pm – virtual meeting on Teams.
- Locations for Growth Discussion Member Briefing Session – Thursday 22 October 2020 – 5.30pm – virtual meeting on Teams.
Members of the public can virtually attend these meetings via Microsoft Teams – links can be found in the news section on the Council’s website at www.sstaffs.gov.uk.
Everyone is encouraged to submit news items, please email: [email protected]