Covid-19 cases in Wiltshire
A number of cases of Covid-19 have been reported in Wiltshire over the past 7 days.
We would like to reassure people living and working in Wiltshire that while we do expect to see more cases in the weeks and months ahead, we have robust mechanisms in place to contain the infection and protect the health of the local community.
Our priority is to safeguard local communities which sometimes involves taking preventative measures to help reduce the risk of further cases.
For more information and advice on coronavirus (COVID-19)
1. PHE www.gov.uk/coronavirus
2. NHS https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/
3. ‘Hands. Face. Space’ public information campaign - Click here
COVID-19 testing in Wiltshire
Following national media reports that some people across the country are struggling to get test appointments near their homes, our advice remains that we encourage people to try and get a test as soon as possible if they are experiencing any sort of COVID-19 symptoms and they should isolate themselves for 10 days. Those living in the same households should self-isolate for 14 days if they or any members of the household receive a positive test.
We’d encourage people to regularly check the online portal to not miss out on the opportunity of getting a test as close to their home as possible. Booking slots are made available the evening before for morning appointments, and on the morning for afternoon appointments. We are in regular contact with the Department for Health and Social Care and it is aware of the need for people to get quick and easy access to testing should they require it.
The Department for Health and Social Care say there is a high demand for tests and to stop the spread of the virus they are targeting testing capacity at the areas that need it most, including those where there is an outbreak, as well as prioritising at-risk groups.
Those who are experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms – a high temperature, a new continuous cough, a loss or change to sense of smell or test, should visit the NHS website or call 119 to book an appointment or order a home test kit.
The best way to prevent the spread of the virus is to regularly wash hands, maintain social distancing and to continue to stay at home as much as possible.
Precautionary COVID-19 measures taken at St Augustine’s Catholic College, Trowbridge
St Augustine’s Catholic College in Trowbridge has taken precautionary measures after one of the pupils at the school tested positive for COVID-19.
The pupil is in Year 9, and while all precautionary and proper bubble measures have been followed, the school agreed to take additional precautions with advice from public health professionals and asked all Year 9 groups, a total of 160 pupils, to self-isolate for 14 days. This isolation took effect from Saturday 5 September.
The pupil is one of five positive cases associated with the school. The other four are a mixture of non-teaching and teaching staff who had limited contact with students and teachers and are currently self-isolating. As one of the five cases is a Year 9 student, as a precaution the decision was made to isolate the whole year.
The school has been working closely with PHE and Wiltshire Council to ensure high standards of hygiene and social distancing are maintained and ensuring all the necessary measures are in place.
Those who are being asked to self-isolate will continue to carry out home learning so they can continue their studies.The Department for Education has produced information here for parents of children returning to school for the start of the autumn term which includes advice following a case of Covid-19 in their school.
Precautionary COVID-19 measures taken at Trinity CE Primary Academy, Devizes
Trinity CE Primary Academy in Devizes has taken precautionary measures after a Year 4 pupil at the school tested positive for COVID-19.
While all precautionary and proper bubble measures have been followed, the school has asked all Year 4 pupils, a total of 28 pupils, to self-isolate for 14 days until 23 September. The Year 4 self-isolation is very precautionary to minimise any risk to others. As an additional precautionary measure, two staff members have also been asked to self-isolate.
The school has been working closely with PHE and Wiltshire Council to ensure this is managed appropriately and the rest of the school can continue as before. Close contacts identified are now self-isolating for 14 days in line with Government guidance. Those who are being asked to self-isolate will continue to carry out home learning so they can continue their studies.
Small number of positive COVID-19 cases in Devizes
Wiltshire Council and Public Health England are working together to manage a small number of positive COVID-19 cases associated with some players at Devizes Football Club and The Cavalier pub in the town.
Three of the positive cases are players of Devizes Football Club, who recently returned from abroad, and two further cases have also been identified, all of whom recently attended The Cavalier pub.
Anyone identified as a close contact of a positive case will be contacted by the NHS Test and Trace service. Contacts of a confirmed case should get tested if they go on to develop symptoms. Even if people test negative, they must still self-isolate for 14 days.
The pub has a number of COVID-19 safety measures in place and has chosen to close to carry out a deep clean. Devizes Football Club won’t play in any fixtures until after 15 September.
New Government 'Rule of 6' law for social gatherings
The Government has announced new measures to suppress the virus and keep the number of infections down.
From today, Monday 14 September, you must not meet with people from other households socially in groups of more than six. This will apply indoors and outdoors, including private homes.
This change will simplify and clarify the rules on social gatherings, so they are easier to understand and easier for the police to enforce. There will be a limited number of exemptions. Education and work settings are unaffected, and organised team sports will still be able to proceed, as will weddings and funerals up to 30.
The rule will also not apply to individual households or support bubbles of more than 6 who will still be able to gather together.
Full details can be found here.
A further eight libraries will soon be opening in Wiltshire, providing a new order and collect service to local residents.
From today, Monday 14 September, libraries in Amesbury, Bradford on Avon, Calne and Marlborough will open, followed on 21 September by Royal Wootton Bassett, Westbury and Melksham. On 28 September Malmesbury will open.
People won’t be able to drop-in and browse at these libraries, but an order and collect service has been set-up providing access to books. People can also book to use the computers for up to 45 minutes. It is hoped that people will be able to browse at these libraries in due course.
Further information about the libraries click and collect scheme can be found here
Venues legally required to record contact details from next week
From Friday 18 September 2020, premises and venues will be legally required to record contact details of their customers, visitors and staff to help tackle the spread of coronavirus.
Businesses and other public places where people meet socially including hospitality, close contact, tourism and leisure venues such as pubs, restaurants, cafes, hairdressers and cinemas must collect details from every customer and visitor to their premises.
All details must be securely stored for 21 days and shared with NHS Test and Trace, if requested.
Businesses could face fines if they fail to collect contact information, take bookings for more than six people or ensure their premises remain COVID-secure.
To find out more click here.
New recovery grants available from Monday
From today, Monday 14 September 2020, small and medium sized businesses can apply for grants of between £1,000 and £3,000 to help them recover from the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.
The grant can be used to pay for:
specialist professional advice such as human resources, accountants, legal, financial, IT and digital etc
purchase of minor equipment to adapt or adopt new technology so they can continue to deliver their business activity or diversify
As well as completing an online application form, three quotations for the required products/services and evidence of business registration and trading since March 2019 will need to be submitted. Businesses will be encouraged to source products/services from within Wiltshire to support the ongoing recovery of local businesses. Further eligibility guidance will be available on Monday 14 September.
Applications can be submitted to the Swindon and Wiltshire Growth Hub until 5 October 2020. The grants are fully funded by the Government and there is no obligation for businesses to contribute financially.
For more information: https://growthhub.swlep.co.uk/
New grants for businesses affected by local lockdowns
Businesses required to close due to local lockdowns or targeted restrictions will be able to receive grants worth up to £1,500 every three weeks.
Those businesses with a rateable value of £51,000 or above will receive £1,500 and those with a rateable value less than £51,000 will receive £1,000. Local authorities will also receive an additional 5% top up amount of business support funding to help other businesses affected by closures which may not have business rates.
Local authorities will be responsible for distributing the grants and determining further eligibility criteria. The council is reviewing the guidance from Government and aims to have the scheme set up in advance of any potential local lockdown in Wiltshire.
To find out more: Click here
Kickstart Scheme now open for applications
The Government £2 billion Kickstart Scheme is now open to any employer who is looking to create high quality, 6-month work placements for young people aged 16-24, who are claiming Universal Credit.
The Government will fully fund each ‘Kickstart’ job, paying 100% of the relevant National Minimum Wage for 25 hours a week plus employer National Insurance contributions and employer minimum automatic enrolment contributions. In addition, the government will pay £1,500 per job placement to cover setup costs, support and training.
For more information visit https://jobhelp.campaign.gov.uk/kickstart/.
Cllr Philip Whitehead