Staying Safe as Lockdown Eases

Staying safe as lockdown eases is a worry for some whereas others are putting the pandemic to the back of their minds or thinking, “it won’t make me that ill anyway” or “the virus has has left us now”.

Use alcohol gel when on the move or wash your hands with soap when returning home

Well, as your local Cornwall Councillor, I am attending weekly briefings and feel I should pass on some of my understanding of the situation, which may give a little comfort to those worrying but, as important, might make those that think the pandemic has passed us/ them by, have a re-think.

Nationally, the lockdown was too late and the virus was circulating our UK population, particularly through our cities and poorer over-crowded housing areas. For Cornwall, it probably came at about the right time so here, we have not seen the scale of infection and transmission of the virus as in other parts of the UK and world, and lucky for us, our one General Hospital coped. Like residential homes elsewhere, where the virus got in, it was able to spread through the vulnerable populations with ease BUT, luckily or through good planning, that has happened in very few of our residential homes.

So, I don’t know about you, but with the National announcements coming so rapidly, I struggle to keep pace with what I could not do yesterday but can tomorrow. The other thing about the National announcements and messages is that they have become less clear. At the start, that “Stay at Home” message cut through and we had no doubt what we should do to keep ourselves and our loved ones safe. As things a have been added to the list of open shops and facilities, confusion has reigned as things that seemed less safe to do were allowed to open before other smaller, seemingly easier to run safely things could not.

From the information I’m hearing, direct from Public Health staff and those in the Council that are in the front line of infection control, the virus has not gone away or lost it potency, but because us humans drastically reduced our social contacts, it could not spread. Now that we can choose to go to the pub, eat out, have our hair cut and meet with people outside our households, the virus will have the opportunity to spread further UNLESS we out smart it and bring in measures to reduce the risk of spread, even though many of us are no longer just Staying at Home.

Continuing to stay safe

So, this is my advice as your local councillor, based on what I have been told and learnt. It is up to those reading this whether they follow it but, if we all did this, we would reduce the opportunities for the virus to spread.

  • If you get symptoms of COVID19, a new persistent cough, a fever, loss of taste or smell, book yourself a test and self isolate until you receive a negative test result or for 14 days and get the rest of your family to do the same (Booking a Coronavirus test); do not visit medical facilities unless advised to do so through 111 and this is agreed by the facility you are attending.
  • If you go somewhere and it is crowded, do not take the risk of joining them.
  • Keep your 2 meter distance from those outside your household or social bubble and if there are risks this will be breached, wear a face covering.
  • To further reduce the opportunity for the virus to spread; in shops and other indoor places where the unexpected can happen, and you do not know everyone there, wear a face covering.
  • On returning home, after putting shopping or other deliveries away, wash your hands with soap and water.
  • When out and about, take any opportunity to use alcohol gel and carry some with you for when returning to your vehicle or after touching things others might have too.

These tips all reduce the risk of spread, whether from us to others because we do not know we have the virus or from others to us and our loved ones. Remember many people will have the virus and be infectious but be totally unaware and never have symptoms.

Face coverings do not have to be expensive masks. They can be fabric and washable or a scarf, you already have.

People might have heard of local outbreak plans and be wondering what these will mean. People fear it means their town or their County/ Duchy, shut down like Leicester. The Leicester situation was beyond a Local Outbreak plan, although local services would have been involved. The Outbreak Plan in Cornwall will swing in to action if there at 2 people (not from the same household) that test positive and a place connects them. So, 2 people test positive and they both were at a particular pub last Saturday, attend the same school or work in the same factory. Public Health and Environmental Health will then contact the venue, those likely affected and, if necessary, will close the venue/ site. All this will also happen if just 1 person in a residential care/ nursing home tests positive, in recognition that those living under that one roof will be more susceptible.

Other useful links

Age UK advice page

Cornwall & Isles of Scilly Local Outbreak Plan