Covid-19 briefing note

Things are improving. Lockdown is having an impact and cases are going down rapidly.

But (and it’s a massive ‘but’)…

Wrexham still has the second highest coronavirus levels in Wales (122 per 100k population on a seven-day rolling basis).

Basically, if we drop our guard, we’ll be back to square one.

Lockdown is still in place and will only be relaxed gradually, and it’s vital we all keep sticking to the rules.

Changes to lockdown

Welsh Government today confirmed that some restrictions might begin to be eased in March if cases keep falling and that more children, including some secondary pupils, might be able to return to schools from March 15.

Welsh Government also announced that from tomorrow (February 20), up to four people from two different households will be allowed to exercise outdoors together.

However, this doesn’t mean you can drive somewhere to exercise. Exercise should still start and finish at home.

For the moment, Wales remains in lockdown.

So please keep sticking to the rules and help make sure Covid-19 levels keep falling in Wrexham.

We’re ahead on points, but the fight isn’t over.

Coronavirus levels in Wrexham on Feb 19

Vaccination update

The vaccination programme continues to rollout in Wrexham and the rest of North Wales.

Work has begun in earnest on administering second doses (to health and social care workers for example), as well as offering first doses to those aged 65-69.

Aged 70 or over, or shielding?

The local NHS health board and its partners are committed to making sure no-one is left behind.

If you’re over 70, clinically extremely vulnerable or a frontline health or social care worker and you haven’t yet received an appointment, please call 03000 840004 now.

If you’re aged 65 to 69, your jab is coming soon, but please wait to be contacted.

Vaccination appointments – do’s and don’ts

A lot of people are working hard to deliver the programme in Wrexham. Here are some things you can do to help.

  • Don’t phone the NHS or your GP to ask for a vaccination appointment (unless you’ve been advised to). When it’s your turn, they’ll contact you.
  • Many of us don’t answer our phones if we don’t recognise the number. However, if you’re in one of the groups currently being vaccinated, the NHS might try to call you if a short notice appointment becomes available.
  • If you receive an invitation for an appointment but don’t want to be vaccinated, please let the NHS know so it can be offered to someone else.
  • When you attend your appointment, stick to social distancing, don’t arrive early and bring a face mask. You should also bring photo ID.

You can read more about the vaccination programme in North Wales on the local NHS health board website.

Vaccination is free

There are people out there who might try to scam you with fake vaccination emails or bogus calls.

Remember…you’ll never be asked to ‘sign up’ or pay to be vaccinated, or asked to give your bank details or passwords.

When it’s your turn, you’ll be contacted by the NHS or your GP.

Questions about the vaccine? Get facts from the experts

If you have any questions about Covid-19 vaccination, it’s important to get the facts from people who know what they’re talking about.

And let’s face it…that bloke who lives down the road might not be an expert…despite what he says on Facebook.

Follow Public Health Wales (PHW) on social media, and get answers from people who really know their stuff.

Dr Giri Shankar of PHW has been answering popular questions on Twitter this week. Take a look…

Coronavirus levels where you live

Most parts of Wrexham continue to improve, although two areas have got worse.

The two areas where cases have gone up are:

  • Town North, University and Rhosddu – 236 per 100k (significantly up from 101 on Feb 12).
  • Acton and Maesydre – 178 per 100k (compared to 79 on Feb 12).

Only two areas have more than 200 cases per 100k:

  • Town North, University and Rhosddu – 236 per 100k
  • Coedpoeth and Brymbo – 208 per 100k

If you want to check the figures where you live, visit the Public Health Wales data ‘tableau’ and click on the ‘MSOA’ tab.

The virus is still mainly spreading in households between family members, with the ‘Kent’ variant accounting for all cases.

More people eligible for £500 support payment

Earlier this week, Welsh Government confirmed that more people will now be eligible to apply for the £500 Self-Isolation Support Payment.

The scheme, which has been extended until June, will now be open to applications from people with a personal income of less than £500 per week and those on Basic Statutory Sick Pay who’ve been asked to self-isolate by Test, Trace and Protect (TTP), the NHS Covid-19 App or by their child’s education setting (e.g. school).

The changes mean more people will be able to get support if they’re asked to self-isolate and would lose income as a result.

Find out more – including how to apply – on the Welsh Government website.

Cautious return of foundation phase pupils

As reported last week, planning is underway as Wrexham considers arrangements for reopening schools to foundation phase learners (3-7 years olds).

Welsh Government says that schools can start to reopen for younger children from this Monday, February 22.

The council and headteachers are carefully considering plans, while continually monitoring the local situation.

In light of this cautious approach, children will not be returning to schools in Wrexham until next Friday, February 26 at the very earliest – depending on local coronavirus levels after half-term.

Schools will be in touch with parents and carers next week to confirm arrangements.

Planning underway for cautious return of foundation phase pupils in Wrexham

As mentioned earlier, Welsh Government has also announced that it will look at whether all primary children, and some secondary pupils, can start to return to schools from March 15.

More information is expected in the coming weeks.

Wrexham businesses doing their bit

Police and Trading Standards officers in Wrexham have been working closely to ensure businesses are complying with Covid-19 restrictions on opening.

Overall, they’re reporting that the majority of premises they’ve visited are sticking to the rules, which is good news.

The few who’ve been found flouting the rules are being visited and – where necessary – action is being taken, including issuing fines.

Keep your guard up

Act as if you – and everyone you meet – might have Covid-19.

Stick to the current restrictions in Wales and:

  • Don’t mix with people from other households – although from tomorrow, up to four people from two different households will be allowed to exercise outdoors together.
  • Don’t travel except for essential purposes…such as work, health reasons or caring duties.

If you have symptoms…

If you have coronavirus symptoms, make sure you self-isolate and get a test.

It could be the most important thing you ever do.

Read more on the Welsh Government website.

Useful sources of information