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Cheshire West and Chester in strong position to turn Coronavirus surge around

Cheshire West and Chester is well placed to deal with the current surge of Coronavirus in the Borough having learned much from the first outbreak of the virus in the Spring.

This is the conclusion of Health and Wellbeing Board, following an informal session last week during which key partners reviewed and shared their experiences.   

Arrangements put in place to maintain services and protect the most clinically vulnerable to Covid 19 residents in the Borough include new ‘hospital discharge arrangements and the Home First approach; a new team to support adult social care providers; and new mental health crisis cafes. Both health services and adult and children’s social care services have maintained safe face to face contacts including support to schools, home assessment visits, treatments and protection in safeguarding situations. 15,000 of the most vulnerable residents have been contacted to see how they are coping and provide additional support where needed.  

All services are planning to meet normal winter pressures as well as ensuring there is enough flexible capacity to meet additional needs in the community, schools and hospitals, particularly for more vulnerable residents.  

Councillor Louise Gittins, Leader of Cheshire West and Chester Council said: “Our Council and partners are supporting each other in meeting the new challenges posed by COVID and where demands on services are returning to more usual levels.  Although the volume of work is increasing, dedicated staff and volunteers in hospitals and the community are working hard to meet levels of demand and our services are managing well. Despite the numerous challenges over recent months, general practice has remained very much open for business to support local people.  Our hospitals have made available additional beds, making flexible use of others and are making good progress in providing non-COVID services, with an emphasis on vascular and cancer treatment.  We are also very grateful for the dedication and professionalism of our Fire Service, those who provide care in our communities and voluntary and community sector colleagues, all of whom have made an enormous contribution to the network of services providing support to the  most vulnerable people in our Borough. 

“Understandably, many people will be feeling isolated and anxious at this time and improving the accessibility of information, including online and through helplines, is important to us so that people have ready access to the advice and support they need for both their physical and mental wellbeing. We have seen a large increase in calls to mental health helplines - over half from people who have never before used mental health services.   We value the commitment of our staff and one of our key priorities is to give them the information, equipment, emotional and technical support they need to keep going in these unprecedented times. 

“Data and evidence suggest we are better placed compared to many areas, but rates have risen and we need to maintain vigilance. You’ll see the Council and partners using the call ‘Let’s turn this around’ to remind everyone that we all have a part to play, whether as organisations or individuals - helping reduce the infection rate, getting out of tough restrictions, supporting local businesses and helping turn the economy round. We all need to work together to play our part in tackling the challenges faced by our borough.”

Preventing the spread of Coronavirus is the key to turning this around. It is vital that we all do what we can to reduce the risk to ourselves and other people getting ill with Coronavirus. The virus can spread even if you don’t have symptoms.  

1.            Try to stay at least two metres (three steps) away from anyone you do not live with (or anyone not in your support bubble).

2.            Wash your hands with soap and water often – do this for at least 20 seconds; use hand sanitiser gel if soap and water is not available

3.            Wash your hands as soon as you get home

4.            Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (but not your hands) when you cough or sneeze

5.            Put used tissues in the bin immediately and wash your hands afterwards   

The Health and Wellbeing Board receives an update on the COVID situation at each meeting as part of the network of inter-agency groups which are responding to COVID, both locally and in the Cheshire and Merseyside Sub-region.

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