Coronavirus (COVID-19) update

Coronavirus (COVID-19) update

The following information is based on information made available by Wirral Council on 19 March. This page will be undated as the Council makes more up-to-date information available.

 

Vaccine news

Over 50s now eligible for the vaccine
The COVID-19 vaccination programme has now been extended to people aged 50 and over. The Clatterbridge Vaccination Centre and your GP practice, can now take bookings and are working with partners across the system to vaccinate our local population.

If you are eligible, please contact your GP to book an appointment at a local vaccination centre, or book an appointment at Clatterbridge Vaccination Centre via the following link: https://bit.ly/3cKnWTr

In receipt of Carers Allowance? Then book your jab now
If you are in receipt of carers allowance and have received a letter inviting you to get your COVID-19 vaccine, please come forward to book your jab. Local appointments are now available at the Clatterbridge Vaccination Centre, just call 0151 482 7652 Mon-Fri 08.30-18.00 or 10.00-16.00 Sat.

Safe and Effective
The EU’s medicines regulator has reviewed the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine and concluded that it is ‘safe and effective’ and its benefits outweigh the risks. The World Health Organization has urged countries to continue using the vaccine, and the UK medicines regulator has said there is no evidence the vaccine causes clots. You can read more about it on the BBC website.
More information about the vaccine is available on the NHS website, including:

  • the groups currently being invited to receive it
  • advice if you’re of childbearing age, pregnant or breastfeeding
  • vaccine effectiveness
  • possible side effects

Vaccine and fertility
The NHS has worked with regional clinical leads to produce a short film on the vaccine and fertility. You can view the video on YouTube.

Eight steps to workplace safety

Managers are being encouraged to remember these eight steps to protect themselves and their staff, volunteers and customers during coronavirus:

Schools and colleges re-open

The Prime Minister has praised the efforts of the public to bring infection rates down, which has enabled pupils in England to return school and college.

Getting children back to face to face education has remained the national priority throughout lockdown and this NHS blog sets out what is known about transmission of COVID-19 in schools and details the safety measures and mass testing in place.

Expansion of symptom-free testing in Wirral
Following publication of the Government’s roadmap we have expanded the use of rapid symptom-free testing in Wirral to help break chains of Covid-19 transmission, protect public health and enable people to return to a more normal way of life.

Infection rates have significantly reduced and as we prepare for restrictions to ease we want to enable people across Wirral to have easy access to both symptoms-only (PCR) and symptom-free (LFD) testing at a location and time that suits them.

The first step on the roadmap has been the return of children to school and in Wirral this has gone extremely well. To support the return to school and to ensure we identify infection quickly and stop the spread, symptom-free testing kits are now available for all adults in households with school children to test themselves for COVID-19. Adults in childcare and support bubbles are also able to get tested.

You can order symptom-free testing kits to be delivered to your door (via www.Gov.uk website) and carried out at home, you can collect kits for your household from any our testing centres across Wirral from Wednesday 24 March or you can book a test at one of our symptom-free testing centres where staff are available to assist you. More information is available at www.wirral.gov.uk/test 

Home test kits available for households with school children

As laid out in the Government’s roadmap, secondary school and college students will be tested twice a week, receiving three initial tests at school or college before moving to twice weekly home testing.

The following are eligible for free home testing kits:

  • Households, childcare and support bubbles of primary and secondary-age pupils
  • Households, childcare and support bubbles of primary and secondary staff
  • Adults working in the wider school community, including bus drivers and after school club leaders.

Primary school children will not be regularly symptom-free tested due to low levels of transmission between younger children, but they will still have to come forward for tests if they have symptoms.

Those who are able to collect their test kits in person can go to any of Wirral’s symptoms-only test centres (which are in Birkenhead, Bebington, Liscard and Heswall) between 1:30pm and 7.00pm each day. No appointment is needed.

Anyone who cannot collect their kits in person can order online to receive a home delivery.

About a third of people with coronavirus show no symptoms, so are potentially spreading it without knowing. Regular household testing will mean more positive cases are found and prevented from entering schools and colleges.

Please Remember…
Parents and carers are asked to help schools with their Covid-secure measures by remembering to:

  • Wear a face covering on drop off and pick-ups (unless exempt)
  • Keep 2 metres apart from those not in your household
  • Make sure their child wears a face covering if they take public transport (unless exempt)
  • Get tested and DO NOT attend school if your child or someone in your household is showing any symptoms of Covid.

Change to operating hours at Wirral’s symptoms-only testing centres

To accommodate the collection of the home testing kits, the opening hours of the symptoms-only testing centres in Wirral have changed.

Symptoms-only testing centres at Birkenhead, Bebington, Liscard and Heswall will now operate at the following times every day:

  • 8am to 12 noon – available to anyone with symptoms to get tested. You can walk-in or book at www.wirral.gov.uk/test
  • 12noon to 1.30pm – CLOSED
  • 1.30pm to 7pm – collection point for symptom-free home testing kits only

Vaccination clinic for patients with learning disabilities and/or autism

Nearly 70 patients with learning disabilities and/or autism and 42 or their carers received the Covid vaccine in a single day at a dedicated Wirral clinic.

Primary Care Wirral supported Healthier South Wirral PCN (HSW) with specialist staff and by providing a mobile clinical unit for patients who preferred to have their vaccinations outdoors.

The immunisations took place at HSW’s Covid-19 vaccination centre at The Oval Leisure Centre, which was adapted to suit the group via a series of reasonable adjustments.

Suzanne Thomas, HSW Learning Disability Care Coordinator, said:
“In the past, it has been notoriously difficult to encourage the uptake of vaccinations within this vulnerable cohort.

“Some patients feel uncomfortable in a clinical environment, others have needle phobia and others feel stressed when they are taken outside of their normal routine and in contact with people they are not familiar with or do not have a relationship with.

“We knew from the very beginning that we needed a tailored approach starting from the moment patients and carers were first contacted.”

Following the success of the day new dedicated clinics will be organised.

You can find out more on the Primary Care Wirral website.

Guidance on enabling safe and effective volunteering during coronavirus

The Government has released guidance to help organisations and groups understand how to safely and effectively involve volunteers during the pandemic. It includes guidance lots of useful information for the organisers and managers of voluntary groups, including:

  • Volunteering outside the home
  • Business and venue closures
  • Volunteering in groups and around others
  • Volunteers eligible for vaccines
  • Covid testing for volunteers
  • Ensuring volunteers and their workplaces are safe
  • Volunteers who claim benefits or who are ‘furloughed’

You can view the guidance here and can find additional guidance on how to help safely on the government website.

Check before you share toolkit

Sharing false information about the Coronavirus vaccine can be dangerous, so the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport is leading a new campaign to help tackle the spread of false information about the vaccine.

The campaign includes a range of social media posts, fronted by trusted community members, including faith leaders, clinicians and community leaders.

The key message is to check before you share.

The posts include simple tips on how to critically analyse sources, spot false information and help stop its spread, signposting to the NHS as the most accurate source of information.

Download the social media toolkit.

NHS text message vaccine invites

The NHS is sending texts to some people to invite them to book a COVID-19 vaccine appointment. These may come from a local NHS service or from ‘NHSvaccine’.

Don’t be scammed – Remember the NHS will never ask for payment details or arrive at your home unannounced.

You can find out more about how you can be contacted at: nhs.uk/covid-vaccine-advice

New in brief…

Guidance on ventilating indoor spaces
Public Health England has published guidance on the ventilation of indoor spaces to stop the spread of COVID. The includes how to increase ventilation at home and as well as in other settings.

Updated guidance on stopping the spread of COVID-19
The Government has recently updated its guidance on how to stop the spread of Covid. The information is available in different languages and formats, including easy read, Arabic, Bengali, Chinese, Polish and Urdu.

Get the latest data daily

Wirral’s latest COVID-19 data is published on the Council website each weekday.

The information, which includes the number of cases and is broken down by gender, age, ethnicity and Council ward, is available at: www.wirral.gov.uk/health-and-social-care/covid-19-statistics-wirral

A more in-depth, weekly report of Wirral’s statistics is also available on the Wirral Intelligence Service website at: www.wirralintelligenceservice.org/covid-19/covid-19-the-data/