It’s been an interesting couple of weeks as we’ve started to see some localized outbreaks of Covid-19 across parts of the country. We’ve heard mainly about places like Leicester and the North West, but this trend has been echoed across the whole of the Midlands, the country and likely the world.
You will have seen that Shropshire got into the national newspapers too, with reports about the Covid-19 outbreak at a caravan site in Craven Arms. I guess we all knew that an outbreak would come at some point, and at this stage in the pandemic we must expect outbreaks as the virus continues to circulate within communities.
The outbreak at the Long Lane Traveller site in Craven Arms, worried a lot of people and caused great interest, both residents on the site and in the wider community. The good news is that things are now easing, and the majority of residents have either completed or are nearing the end of their self-isolation period. Those residents who had tested positive for coronavirus or are showing symptoms have been asked to self-isolate in line with government guidance. Testing for the wider community has been in place since 25 July 2020, and no one in the wider Craven Arms community has tested positive so far.
This successful containment has involved a lot of people. Thank you to all. Staff from across Shropshire council are continuing to work with Public Health England (PHE) Midlands, key partners and all people in the area to contain the outbreak. We are supplying food and essential supplies for those in isolation and officers have been in Craven Arms daily, both onsite and in the town, to offer support to residents, local businesses and the wider community.
As an additional measure, testing has also been made available across Craven Arms, regardless of whether individuals have COVID-19 symptoms. A test site at Craven Arms Business Park is open every day from 10.30am to 3.30pm and Craven Arms residents can book an appointment to be tested. We are aware that some residents in and around Craven Arms have had some issues in booking their test via NHS 119. We have contacted the NHS with regard to this and been advised that local residents go online to book a test. We will also be offering a further drop-in session over the weekend and we will release further information on our newsroom in the coming days.
The important thing is that such outbreaks do serve as a reminder that the pandemic is still with us and that we cannot get complacent. We have to remain alert to the risks. It also shows that we all have our part to play when it comes to keeping ourselves, friends, loved ones and our communities safe, and there is a wealth of resources and information so that everyone can help pass on the key messages.
A range of posters have been added to the Council website which can be used in your communities and workplace, and contain the most up to date coronavirus public health advice. They include simple messaging around Contact tracing: what it is, privacy reassurance, ‘Enjoy summer safely’ in English, Bulgarian, Polish and Romanian, Face coverings, Know the symptoms, ‘Park open’ in English, Bulgarian, Polish and Romanian and how long to self-isolate. They can be found at this link: https://www.shropshire.gov.uk/coronavirus/resources-and-grant-funding-opportunities-for-local-communities/posters-for-use-in-local-communities/
Latest guidelines do seem to change at a rapid pace. So, it’s worth repeating:
- Wearing face coverings has become mandatory in supermarkets, shops, indoor shopping centers, banks, building societies and post offices – with museums, cinemas galleries and places of worship set to follow from 8 August. Guidelines and exemptions can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/face-coverings-when-to-wear-one-and-how-to-make-your-own/face-coverings-when-to-wear-one-and-how-to-make-your-own. It’s clear from government guidance that face coverings can be beneficial in protecting against the spread of COVID where social distancing is not possible, in enclosed public areas.
- People who develop coronavirus symptoms, or test positive, will now be asked to self-isolate for a minimum of 10 days. The latest advice from the UK Chief Medical Officer means the period of isolation has been extended by three days from the previous minimum of 7 days. The new advice is in line with World Health Organisation guidance.
Please be sure to keep up to date as things can change quickly and suddenly. You can find the latest news, developments and guidelines by visiting: https://www.shropshire.gov.uk/
Finally, to finish on a lighter note, following the tireless efforts of staff across the Museums service, Shrewsbury Museum and Art Gallery and Shrewsbury Castle, along with the Soldiers of Shropshire Museum, have reopened…and in time for the school summer holidays, so perfect timing!
Safety measures have been put in place to ensure people can enjoy a relaxing experience at all sites and museums staff are really excited to be able to welcome visitors back. And we nearly forgot to mention… Shrewsbury Museum & Art Gallery is giving everyone free entry until the autumn, making this a cheap and fun family activity during the holidays, but you must pre-book your tickets so visitor numbers can be monitored.
Keeping up the trend of our museums welcoming back visitors, Acton Scott Historic Working Farm will be reopening on Friday 7 August and can’t wait to welcome people back. Like Shrewsbury Museum & Art Gallery, you must pre-book your tickets, but be quick, the first day has already sold out!
Free central heating for eligible households!
We may be in the middle of summer, but we’re encouraging people who may be eligible for free first time central heating to apply now, ready for the colder months. Warmer Homes Shropshire initiative offers grants for eligible households across Shropshire.
If you or someone you know feel would benefit from this scheme, call our Keep Shropshire Warm Team on 0800 112 3743 or visit online here. The scheme is also open to homeowners, as well as private tenants and their landlords.
Stay alert and stay safe. If you have any worries at all, please simply call the Shropshire Council Covid-19 direct line on 0345 678 9028.