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Friday 16 April 2021
Positive coronavirus case rates in Devon have continued to fall across the county and in all age groups. Levels now are similar to those seen last September, but still higher than they were during the summer. However, we are seeing some outbreaks across Devon in work settings, caused in many cases by car sharing.
In this update:
- COVID-19 restrictions - what can I do now?
- New fund launched to boost local economy and tackle inequality
- Meal boxes delivered to families with young children across Devon
- Next phase of vaccine roll-out starts early so if you're aged 45 to 49 book now!
- Car sharing linked to increase in workplace COVID-19 outbreaks in Devon
- Have you got your free rapid COVID-19 tests yet?
COVID-19 restrictions - what can I do now?
This week we've been able to do a little bit more as COVID-19 restrictions continue to ease in line with the government's roadmap.
Residents across Devon have been visiting local high streets, getting back to the gym, enjoying beer gardens and sorting out lockdown locks with long awaited haircuts.
However, many restrictions remain in place, and are underpinned by law, so don't get carried away just yet.
You must not socialise indoors with anyone you do not live with, unless you have formed a support bubble with them, or another exemption applies. Stick to meeting outdoors for now, in groups of up to six people or two households of any size.
Tina Henry, Deputy Director of Public Health Devon, said:
"We welcome the easing of restrictions and the opportunities it presents to re-start our local economy, but urge people to remain vigilant and to continue to act responsibly.
"Devon is still in a good place, with one of the very lowest rates of coronavirus in England. But we must stay alert as the virus is still circulating in our communities.
"Please do not be tempted to move too fast. We are not yet in normal times, and we must not allow ourselves to behave as if we are. To keep case rates down in Devon, we must all continue to follow the rules, and support each other to stay safe and well. And that way, help us to recover quicker."
Find out more about what you can and cannot do at the moment on the government website.
New Community Renewal Fund launched to boost local economy and tackle inequality
A new national fund has been set up to help kickstart local economies. Applications for funding opened in Devon this week.
We're looking for organisations with great ideas to help boost Devon's economy, and help people and businesses hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic.
It's to encourage innovative schemes that will invest in skills, help people into employment, supporting local businesses to grow and develop, and help local communities become more resilient and sustainable.
And specifically we're inviting bids in line with set priorities - key themes include digital inclusion; schemes that encourage business and employment growth in sectors such green engineering, health and agritech; encourage entrepreneurship and business start-ups; and that focus on the green economy.
The Community Renewal Fund is a one-year pilot, potentially worth up £24m across Devon this year, and is a trial for the Government's 'Shared Prosperity Fund'.
Interested organisations are being encouraged to find out more and make bids via our website.
Meal boxes delivered to families with young children across Devon
We're delivering two thousand meal boxes to families with young children this Easter holiday in an initiative designed to help those who are struggling during the coronavirus pandemic.
We've called them Goodie Boxes, and they include ingredients and simple recipes for a range of tasty and nutritional meals. They also include a fun book with activities and useful information, and cress seeds for planting.
There are tips on how to swap or add ingredients, advice on healthy eating and how to prevent food waste. The ingredients are widely available, and many are consistent with food available for purchase with Healthy Start vouchers (should families be eligible).
Ruby Entwistle of Public Health Devon, and coordinator for the Goodie Box initiative, said:
“We know a lot of families with very young children have found the coronavirus pandemic extremely challenging. Many families’ incomes have changed and they have been faced with new sources of stress, which can affect both mental and physical health. These pressures can make it difficult for families to eat healthily.
“The Goodie Boxes are designed to help connect children and parents with food, and provide some inspiration for recipes which are healthy for people and planet. The recipes themselves are simple, and good fun for families to make together. And there are tips on how to eat up the leftovers, so that there’s no food wasted.
“So these boxes are about eating well, but they’re also about having fun as a family and learning important skills, from planning and preparing healthy meals, to minimising food waste.”
The Goodie Boxes have gone down extremely well with families. You can read what they said on our website. We've also shared all the Goodie Box recipes online too.