Remember, please stay home, protect our NHS and save lives!
At yesterday’s briefing from the Prime Minister, I heard the latest total of fatalities, a record, and yet more people are getting ill with Covid-19 and the peak is a way off yet.
This virus has turned everyone’s lives upside down: the experts expect these rules to be in place for a while yet. Like everyone else I have been staying at home, to help protect our NHS and ultimately save lives. I try to take solace from the fact we are protecting our fellow citizens, particularly the most vulnerable.
If you do have the symptoms, for example, a new continuous cough and/or a high temperature, you must stay at home for 7 days from when your symptoms started. Also if you live with others and you are the first in the household to have symptoms of coronavirus, then you must stay at home for 7 days, but all other household members who remain well must stay at home and not leave the house for 14 days.
The 14-day period starts from the day when the first person in the house becomes ill. The government guidance is here. If you are in any doubt about your symptoms or what to do, you can always check with the NHS online 111 service. But if at any point during a 7 or 14 day self isolation someone’s breathing gets difficult, please do call 111 as medical help or advice might be required.
Despite the wealth of expert advice from Public Health England and GOV.UK, there is still a lot of fake news and fake advice appearing. A new GOV.UK WhatsApp Coronavirus Information Service has been launched to help combat this spread of misinformation. To use the service you simply add +44 7860 064422 to your contacts and send a WhatsApp message saying “Hi”. You can then follow the steps to find the information you need.
The 1.5 million people identified as extremely vulnerable, because of an underlying health condition, should have received their letter from the NHS - it should have arrived by Sunday 29 March - if you haven’t received a letter, but think you should have, please check the government guidance for the full list of people who fall into this group. Government advice is to contact your GP or consultant if you are in this group and have not received a letter.
Following the extensive measures put in place by government for businesses and individuals, at a local level, the Council has been working hard to help put in place support. In the case of businesses, this has involved trying to identify and contact many hundreds of those that may be eligible.
If you are out of work, on reduced pay or on a low income, you may be eligible for council tax reduction: you can find more information and help with your council tax here. It is unclear how long our current circumstances will prevail, so do look out for whatever help is available.
I hope everyone is doing what they can to stay well, both physically and mentally - have a look at the advice from our Solihull Active team about keeping active and well. The Every Mind Matters campaign also has some great advice on helping you to get through this. For those at home with children the Children’s Commissioner has produced a ‘children’s guide to coronavirus’, which is a useful resource for families to help explain the situation to children. You can find it with other useful resources at the bottom of our schools page on the Council website.
The community response in Solihull has been nothing less than magnificent; soon we’ll have more information on how you can both get help, and be of help. One thing you can do now, if it is safe, is to donate tinned goods to food banks, now supermarkets are returning to a version of normality.
Thank you to all those who are helping us to get through this crisis, and a thank you also to all those in Solihull who are staying at home, self-isolating and keeping a 2m social distance. You are all playing your part in the fight against this vicious virus; you are all helping to save lives.
‘Stay home, protect the NHS, save lives’.
Councillor Ian Courts, Leader of Solihull Council, 2 April 2020