Covid-19 – Infections, Testing and Vaccinations update
Infection Rate and Local Communications – In the seven days up to 15 January 2021 there were 801 new cases in Cherwell. This is equivalent to a weekly rate of 532.2 per 100,000 residents.
Whilst slightly down on last week, the figures for Cherwell are still over six times higher than they were in early December, so we still have a long way to go. Moreover, the NHS in Oxfordshire is currently caring for twice the number of COVID-19 patients than at the peak of the first wave in spring 2020 and is under immense pressure.
We need to make sure the recent fall in cases is sustained and the only way we can do that is by sticking to the lockdown rules and following public health guidance. The measures are there to protect the NHS and our vital social care services, and to save lives. It is vital everyone does their bit during this difficult period to support the NHS and our social care staff to stop the spread.
There is now a COVID-19 dashboard on the county council’s website where you can access daily COVID-19 statistics.
Please take the opportunity to reinforce these vital messages when you communicate with your residents. Attached are two graphics that you can use on websites and social media.
Testing – Testing is a key part of our response to the virus. Across Oxfordshire, we have a range of testing sites for people who have coronavirus symptoms, including drive-through sites, walk-through sites and mobile testing units. Booking is required for all testing sites.
Community COVID-19 testing services for key workers will start to be rolled out in Oxfordshire in early February. The new service will be for those who have to leave home to go to work during lockdown. They will be at three locations in the county – one in Banbury, one in Wantage, and one in the city of Oxford. More information can be found in the news story on the county council’s website.
Vaccination – Local vaccination sites often serve a number of GP practices – this means that patients may need to travel to a neighbouring town or village to receive their vaccination. Each local vaccination site is managing its own patient lists and is working through them as quickly as possible, as vaccine supplies are delivered. Vaccine supplies are being allocated nationally and so not all sites will be operational all of the time. You can find a list of local vaccination sites and the GP practices they serve at www.oxfordshire.gov.uk/stopthespread.
Winter Support Grant for Families and Individuals
Cherwell District Council is able to help people who are struggling to afford food and stay warm this winter. The Winter Support Grant scheme is available for households that have been hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic. The support is available through Citizens Advice North Oxfordshire, in the form of advice, supermarket and fuel vouchers or through the direct payment of energy or water bills.
Any household struggling to afford food or pay fuel bills may be eligible to receive help. If you know of someone who is struggling please advise them to get in touch:
- Phone: 01295 221448
Village Halls and Local Businesses – Local Restrictions Support Grant
Grants are available for businesses that have had to close due to the tier and lockdown restrictions that have been in place since November 2020. In this context a business is any property that has a business rates account, so most village and community halls are eligible to apply. There have been several iterations of the scheme as restriction levels have changed. A business only needs to fill in one application form and the council will work out which elements it qualifies for. Further details and application form are at: https://www.cherwell.gov.uk/info/258/coronavirus/675/coronavirus-guidance-for-businesses/2
Census 2021 – Two Months and Counting
Thank you to all those who have already completed the short, online survey . If you haven’t had the chance yet, the Census team covering Oxfordshire would like to understand where your community may need or can offer support with the Census on the 21 March.
If you have town or parish newsletter deadlines due in the next two weeks, please feel free to use the following text to introduce the census: ‘The Census is coming on 21 March. Information from the digital-first Census will help decide how services are planned and funded in our local area. Census outputs inform where millions of pounds of public funding is spent on services like transport, education and health, and on cycle routes, schools and dental surgeries. Everyone will receive a letter with a unique access code in the post, allowing them to complete their questionnaire online. Paper questionnaires will be available on request. For more information visit Census.gov.uk.’
If you would like accompanying census graphics and social media content please contact lisa.stead58@field.Census.gov.uk or on 07452 942723