Friday 12 March 2021
Coronavirus case numbers in Devon are continuing to fall, although the rate of decline has slowed over recent weeks. Positive cases are currently highest in those aged 80 years and older, with rates slightly higher in East Devon.
In this update:
- Care home outbreaks are a reminder of how infectious this virus is
- Parents asked to do all they can to help prevent the spread of coronavirus
- Asymptomatic community testing now available in Newton Abbot
- NHS in Devon working with local Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic communities to increase vaccine take-up
- Free online event to support Devon's hospitality and tourism sector
- Young people warned about ‘fake jobs’ on social media
- Plans to reintroduce in-person library services
Care home outbreaks are a reminder of how infectious this virus is
Cases of coronavirus in Devon may still be low in comparison to the rest of the country, but we're still seeing outbreaks in some settings, including in a small number of care homes, warns Steve Brown, Director of Public Health Devon.
He cited two care homes this week in East Devon:
“We are working very closely with those homes to make sure residents and staff are safe, to control the outbreaks, and to reduce the risk of further transmission.
“Coronavirus is still a very infectious virus, and cases like this are a reminder of how important it is for us still to remain vigilant and to take every precaution to prevent its further spread.”
You can watch Steve Brown's weekly update in full on our YouTube channel.
Parents asked to do all they can to help prevent the spread of coronavirus
Steve Brown, Director of Public Health Devon, is asking families with school-age children to do all they can to help prevent the spread of coronavirus.
The call comes as schools and colleges invited all students back to the classroom this week and pupils begin to be regularly tested using rapid, lateral flow tests.
“With the significant increase in the number of students becoming routinely tested, we are likely to see an upturn in the number of positive cases,” said Steve Brown.
“This is a good thing. We’re picking up people who have no symptoms, who if they weren’t tested could go on to transmit the virus to other people.
“We’ve seen a high rate of pupils returning to the classroom for face-to-face teaching, and really good take-up by them taking the lateral flow test.
“Any parents who haven’t yet given their consent for their child to be tested at school or college, I urge them to do so."
Households of school-aged children are also encouraged to take two lateral flow tests a week, and can arrange to collect the home test kits from their nearest national testing centre, or there is home delivery by the NHS for those who can’t collect.
Alternatively, parents can have their lateral flow test at any of our local community testing centres, with results emailed and texted back to them within the hour.
We've set up community testing centres in locations across the county, with fixed sites in Exeter, Barnstaple and Tiverton; and mobile facilities serving Axminster, Exmouth, Honiton, Ivybridge, Newton Abbot, Okehampton and Tavistock. Tests should be booked in advance via our website.
Asymptomatic community testing now available in Newton Abbot
Newton Abbot has been added to the list of stops for our new mobile community testing centres this week.
The service, which offers rapid tests for people without symptoms, with results available within the hour, will be at Teignbridge Depot Car Park on the Brunel Industrial Estate between 8.30am and 5.30pm every Friday. And from Sunday 21 March it will also visit the town's Cattle Market every Sunday.
If you are a carer, a member of a household or support bubble with school-aged children or you leave the house to work or volunteer, we encourage you to take these quick and simple tests twice a week to identify whether you are carrying the virus and potentially unknowingly giving it to others. If you test positive you'll need to isolate immediately to break the chain of transmission.
Mobile testing vans already stop in Axminster, Exmouth, Honiton, Ivybridge, Okehampton and Tavistock and there are also fixed community testing sites at County Hall in Exeter, the Civic Centre in Barnstaple, and the Exe Valley Leisure Centre in Tiverton. You can find out more and book a test via our website.
NHS in Devon working with local Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic communities to increase vaccine up-take
The NHS in Devon is supporting people from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic
communities in the county to feel confident having their potentially life-saving coronavirus vaccination when they are contacted as part of the national programme.
Like other areas of the country, take-up of the vaccination in Devon is lower among ethnic minority communities, ranging from approximately 63 to 76 per cent compared to 85 per cent of White British people.
They are encouraging people from communities where take-up is low or concerns are high to get in touch by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org so support can be offered.
Vaccine ambassadors representing different Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic
communities will also be working with local groups to provide information and reassurance.
You can find out more about the COVID-19 vaccine on the NHS website including videos of vaccine information in different languages.
In January, Citizen Khan creator Adil Ray OBE also shared a video featuring well-known British Asian people to dispel myths and encourage people from ethnic minorities to have the vaccine.
Free online event to support hospitality and tourism sector
A Devon charity is hosting a free online event next week to support those in the county’s hospitality and tourism sector through the COVID-19 pandemic and recover from it.
Devon Communities Together has organised the “Surviving and Thriving in Devon’s Tourism and Hospitality Sector” event on Friday 19 March from 11.30am - 1.00pm as part of its Listening Ear service, which we launched in partnership earlier this year.
It's specifically designed for those in the sector but businesses in the supply chain, aligned with the industry, or considering diversification, are very welcome to attend. Four speakers from hospitality and tourism businesses in Devon will reflect on the pandemic as well as looking at growth, diversification, taking time for wellbeing, and finding hope for the future.
To book a free space at the online event please visit the Eventbrite website.
The Listening Ear service gives business owners anywhere in Devon the opportunity to talk informally to an experienced volunteer about the pressures of trying to keep a business afloat during the pandemic. To find out more or book your session please visit the Devon Communities Together website or email email@example.com or call 01392 248919.
NHS starts text alerts for life-saving COVID-19 jab
The NHS has started texting people to invite them to book their COVID-19 vaccination, making it quicker and more convenient to get an appointment.
The message will include a web link for those eligible to click and reserve an appointment at one of their local large-scale vaccination centres or pharmacies.
Texts will arrive in advance of the standard letter, meaning the NHS can react faster to changing vaccine supplies and fill appointments quickly to help increase uptake of the life-saving jab.
However, in some cases text messages have been used by scammers to try to collect personal details from people, get them to ring premium rate numbers or enter their bank details. So our trading standards team is reminding people of a simple checklist to help give reassurance that a text invitation for a vaccination appointment is genuine:
- Texts will be from ‘NHSvaccine‘ and are separate to any invites people may get from local NHS services such as GP surgeries or hospitals.
- The COVID-19 vaccine is free of charge – a genuine text will not ask for money or state a cost.
- The NHS will never ask for bank account or card details, PIN or banking passwords or copies of personal documents to prove identity.
People will continue to receive letters inviting them to book an appointment as well as a text alert, to ensure that those who don’t have a number registered or need information in different languages or formats don’t miss out.
If people cannot or would prefer not to travel to a mass vaccination centre or pharmacy, they can choose to wait to be invited by their local GP service.