Shielding Our Most At Risk Residents
A network of support is rapidly being set up in South Tyneside to help 'shield' those most at risk from coronavirus.
South Tyneside Council is working round the clock in response to the Government's announcement that 1.5million of the UK's most vulnerable people should be shielded from the virus for at least 12 weeks.
The rigorous shielding measures include minimising all interaction and avoiding any face to face contact to prevent being exposed to the virus. The measures apply to people, including children, who are at a very high risk of severe illness from coronavirus because of an underlying health condition.
The Government's advice is that visits from people who provide essential support such as healthcare, personal support with daily needs or social care should continue, but carers and care workers must stay away if they have any symptoms of coronavirus.
South Tyneside Council is currently co-ordinating targeted support for those identified as extremely vulnerable and living in their own home without any support.
Councillor Iain Malcolm, Leader of South Tyneside Council, said: "There has been a national call to action to protect people with serious underlying health conditions. These conditions put them at a very high risk of severe illness from coronavirus and they are strongly advised to rigorously follow shielding measures to keep themselves safe.
"We understand that this is a huge personal challenge. It is a very anxious time and those who are considered to be extremely vulnerable will understandably have concerns. But isolation is for their own protection.
"Please rest assured we are here to provide support and solidarity with plans in place to support those who have been advised to stay at home for 12 weeks. Council staff have been redeployed to coordinate immediate help for those with the greatest risk and will be working closely with our network of voluntary sector organisations and their community volunteers."
The NHS is directly contacting people who fall into the extremely vulnerable group to provide further advice on how to protect themselves and about what support they need. Individuals needing support are then urged to contact the Council so that support can be put in place.
Support will be tailored for individual needs and will include help with essential food and medicine deliveries as well as additional care if they live alone and don't have family, friends or social care services to support them.
The support will also include regular welfare checks by the Council as well as signposting to financial or welfare support, befriending services, mental health and third sector support.
Councillor Malcolm added: "These are extremely worrying and challenging times, but we are doing everything we can to support our communities. Family, friends and wider communities are already playing a significant role in supporting each other and this is fantastic to see. We are all in this together.
"Meanwhile it is absolutely vital that everyone continues to follow the Government's rules to stay at home and socially distance themselves to help protect our most vulnerable residents and ease the pressures on our NHS. This will save lives."
Those who are isolated in South Tyneside without any means of support can call the Borough's Covid 19 Support Hub on (0191) 424 7575.The service will operate from 8am to 6pm, Monday to Friday, and from 9am to 1pm, on Saturdays and Sundays.
For further information about the local support available visit South Tyneside Council's website at www.southtyneside.gov.uk/coronavirus or follow our social media channels.
The Government has published guidance on its website about the medical conditions which identify those most at risk of coronavirus including further information about shielding. This can be found at www.gov.uk