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Covid-19 General Information

The Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service works with employers and employees to improve organisations and working life through the promotion and facilitation of strong industrial relations practice.

Accessible Information:
The Forum Central team have gathered together loads of accessible information all into one place.

Alert Level:
As of 19th June the alert level came down from 4 to 3 with fewer cases of coronavirus and a downward trajectory of the R number.  However, it is still deadly and in our world that means full PPE, vigilant infection control, strict social distancing and some old school practices to keep people safe.

Anti-body Testing:
The government announced that health and care home staff will be able to get the anti-body test from week commencing 25th May 2020.  It looks like this test will also be available to those people delivering, or in receipt of, wider social care services subject to recommendation by a clinician.

Bin Olympics 2020:
Do the quiz to test your knowledge and find out whether you’re a bronze, silver or gold recycler.

You could be a binfluencer!  Do you know someone who could benefit from TimeToRecycle?  Perhaps you’re already a great recycler.  Learn more about reducing, reusing and repairing on the Zero Waste Leeds website.

Cancer Awareness:
Life goes on, despite the coronavirus, and Darren Meade from the Leeds Cancer Awareness Programme wants people to remember that we need to continue to spot possible signs of cancer.  Darren said people should still get in touch with their GP about anything that could be cancer to seek advice, and a Leeds GP has also issued an urgent plea for people not to delay in seeking advice.

Care Homes:
The government has updated (4th June) its dataset on the number of COVID-19 outbreaks in care homes.

Carers Leeds:
Are continuing to provide support to family carers throughout the pandemic.

The independent regulator of health and adult social care services in England.

Clinically Vulnerable People:
It may be safe for clinically vulnerable people to go back out into the world from 6th July.

Community Help & Support:
Events4Covid19 is a network of large and small event organisers and suppliers who are working together and pooling resources to assist with requests to help with any efforts to support communities.  They are ready to assist the NHS, charities, government and other organisations across the north of England.

Connecting Leeds:
Friday, 5th June 2020 is your final chance to add your comments and suggestions to Connecting Leeds, to help create better spaces for walking and cycling in light of the Covid-19 pandemic.  the idea is that you can drop a marker on an area of Leeds and comment on the current facility for walking and cycling plus add some suggestions for improvements.  You can also see comments left by others.

Coronavirus – What You Can & Can’t Do:
The government has issued Frequently Asked Questions on what you can and can’t do during the coronavirus outbreak; this is updated regularly to reflect changing guidance.

Coronavirus Outbreaks:
There is guidance on the government’s approach to managing local outbreaks.

Council Buildings:
On 6th July the government updated its guidance for the safe use of Council buildings to include up to 30 people rule.

Council Transparency Data:
To improve transparency, the government asked local authorities in England to publish on their websites the financial support they’ve offered to their local adult social care market.

Covid-19 Testing Regime – Non-Compliance:
Under the Coronavirus Act 2020 Public Health Officers have the following powers for where a potentially infectious person will not comply with testing regimes:

  • the officer may direct, remove or request a constable to remove, an individual to a place suitable for screening and assessment
  • the time such person is required to remain at the place for screening and assessment cannot exceed 48 hours
  • the officer may require an individual to be screened and impose other requirements on an individual in connection with their screening and assessment
  • following an assessment, an officer can impose requirements and restrictions on the individual. 

Covid-19 and Excess Weight:
Public Health England has issued a report: Excess Weight and Covid-19, Insights from New Evidence which confirms that being obese or excessively overweight can increase the risk of severe illness and death from Covid-19.  The government has launched a major new campaign encouraging millions to lose weight and cut their Covid-19 risk.

Crime Prevention:
Central government has brought together a lot of useful advice for individuals and businesses about how to protect ourselves from fraud and cyber crime during the pandemic and where to get help.

Cycling in Leeds:
Connecting Leeds have launched a scheme to encourage cyclists back into the city to achieve a greener Leeds.  There is now a staffed bike park in Leeds Kirkgate Markets where you can park your bike for £1 or pay a one-off £10 subscription and park for free.  You can also park for free for 2 hours if shopping at the market.  They are offering a free bike check whilst your bike is there and a chance to discuss all things cycling.  Information is contained in their recent tweet.

City Connect are offering grants of up to £5k to organisations to encourage employees to cycle.  The grants can be used for things such as secure cycle storage, pool bikes and to put towards better show and change facilities.  The grants are open to third sector organisations as well as businesses.  Lead for the scheme is if you have any specific queries from organisations who wish to apply.

Deaths in the Learning Disability Community:
This article from Home Care Insight reports on the higher number of deaths in the learning disability community in England.

Public Health England have issued this very long review into the disparities in COVID-19 risks and outcomes.

On 2nd June CQC published figures on the number of deaths of people with a learning disability which is sobering reading.

Domestic Abuse:
Updated guidance has been issued about how to get help if you or someone you know is a victim of domestic abuse.  This version has more specific advice about how to access help.

English Not First Language:
The latest NHS guidelines on coronavirus is available translated into 36 languages.

Face Masks/Coverings:
Government guidance on when to wear face coverings and how to make your own.  The guidance on face masks was updated on 23rd July to include updated information about face mask exemptions.  The use of face coverings is also referenced in the safe use of multi-purpose community facilities guidance.  (See also ‘Travel & Transport Guidance’ below regarding wearing/not wearing face coverings on public transport.)

Forum Central:
A network of health and social care third sector organisations in Leeds.

Going Into Hospital:
The Learning Disability and Autism Team at LTHT want you to know that, if people are attending LTHT but are unable to tolerate a face mask, they will work with the individual departments to find solutions.  So please encourage people as always to get in touch with the team via email or phone: 0113 206 6836.  This is particularly important as elective surgery and out-patient appointments build back up and they want to ensure that people attend when they need to.

The best place to find government services and information.

The latest ‘stay at home’ guidance (issued 26/03/2020 at 10:30am) by central government; this includes an easy read publication and translations into several languages.

The government has issued it’s numbers from the best and worse case planning scenarios from late March.

Grief and Loss:
Government guidance was issued in April, and updated on 15th June about what to do when someone dies during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Grief and Loss Support Service:
For anyone suffering any form of grief and loss, or those worried about losing someone, whether this relates to a family member, friend or member of their community.  The West Yorkshire and Harrogate Health and Care Partnership Grief and Loss Support Service offers practical and emotional support and advice from 8am to 8pm, 7 days a week via the freephone number 0808 196 3833 or through it’s online chat facility.  The team can offer support and help connect you with organisations local to you, who can offer additional help where needed.  NB. This service replaces the Covid-19 Telephone Support Line previously offered by St. Gemma’s Hospice and Sue Ryder Wheatfields Hospice.

Guidance on Shielding and Protecting People:
There is now guidance available, in multiple languages, on shielding and protecting people defined on medical grounds as extremely vulnerable.

Health Services:
Anyone accessing health services in Leeds is expected to wear a face covering as part of the city’s effort to reduce the spread of Covid-19.  The advice, issued by the NHS in Leeds, builds on the government’s announcement on 5th June telling people they must wear face coverings when accessing care in hospital.  This means people in Leeds should wear a face covering when visiting GP practices, community health centres and hospitals in the city.

For some people, wearing a face covering may be difficult due to physical or mental health conditions.  In these instances other measures will be considered on a case by case basis, for example, timed appointments and being seen immediately upon arrival.  You can find out more about when you should wear a face covering and those who don’t need to wear one.

Healthwatch Leeds Survey:
Each week Healthwatch Leeds is undertaking a survey to see how people who receive health and social care services plus unpaid carers and those who work in the services are feeling through the pandemic.  Healthwatch Leeds would be grateful if you and/or someone you support could answer the questions so they can feed back your experiences and help shape the city’s response to coronavirus in Leeds.

Hospital Consultation:
There is still time to comment on the new Leeds Teaching Hospital Trust proposals.  Click here for the easy read version or here for the main page.

Hospital Discharge Process:
The government has updated (20th May) its guidance for stepdown of infection control precautions and discharging COVID-19 patients from hospital which now covers all settings.

Hospital Visitor Guidance:
NHS England guidance has changed to: “A carer will now be permitted to attend with a person with a mental health condition, learning disability or autism, where not being present would cause the patient to be distressed.

Hot Weather Warning:
The government has issued some advice about hot weather for shielding and more vulnerable groups.

The Health and Safety Executive is a government agency responsible for the encouragement, regulation and enforcement of workplace health, safety and welfare.

Keeping Neurodivergent People Connected:
Advonet and Specialist Autism Services are involved in the new regional ‘Keeping Neurodivergent People Connected’ project.  They are two of the services that are funded to run short-term information support for adults in Leeds with neurodivergent conditions.  They will provide information by phone, email and text on staying safe during the Covid-19 crisis.  More information can be found on the Advonet and Specialist Autism Services websites.

Learning Disability & Autism Programme:
The team has published some Frequently Asked Questions and plan to update these regularly.

Leeds City Council:
Has a dedicated Coronavirus webpage with some useful help for people and communities, including information on how to volunteer via VAL.

The Council has also published some useful information about services in Leeds.

Mental Health & Wellbeing:
The Care Provider Alliance has an overview of what sources of support are available to frontline workers and individual carers (paid or unpaid).  This is extremely useful for anyone looking for support around mental health and wellbeing.  Also, there is Mindwell Leeds and Skills for Care’s Building Your Own Resilience, Health and Wellbeing.

Mental Health Week – Kindness:
The week 18-24 May was Mental Health Awareness Week and, this year, the theme was kindness.  The team at Mindwell Leeds produced a week of kindness planner.  They explored different themes and activities each day.

The mental health website for people in Leeds has launched their Coronavirus Mental Health Hub which will act as a portal, bringing together information about mental health and Covid-19.

National Research Project:
King’s College, London, is looking for people to take part in research which could help save lives.  They are tracking the spread of coronavirus and we can all help with the research.  Simply download the app and check in for 1 minute every day to report how we’re feeling and whether we’re unwell or currently fit.

Office of National Statistics:
Three studies released on 19th June from the ONS make sobering reading.  They remind us of why we need to remain vigilant.  In relation to people with disabilities “After full adjustment, the rate of death involving COVID-19 was still 1.6 and 1.9 times greater for males whose day-to-day activities were ‘limited a little’ or ‘limited a lot’ respectively, compared with those who were not disabled.  The corresponding hazard ratio for females were 1.6 and 2.4 respectively.”

On 3rd July the ONS published provisional figures on deaths involving the coronavirus within the care sector in England and Wales.

The ONS published its report on Coronavirus and the Impact on Caring on 9th July.

The police have been issued with guidance about what constitutes a reasonable excuse for people to leave the place where they live.  They also have specific guidance relating to exercise for vulnerable people (at point 15).

Psychological First Aid:
There is a free 3-hour Public Health England course which is based on international guidance from the World Health Organisation, United Nations and partners.  The training examines psychological first aid for those coming out of emergency situations.  The course includes useful prompts around ow to engage with people as lockdown is easing and discuss, and hopefully ease, their anxieties.  There’s a test and certificate awarded at the end.  PFA is the globally recommended training for supporting people during emergencies and offers guidance on delivering psychosocial care in the immediate aftermath of the emergency event.

Public Buildings:
As lockdown measures begin to ease, helpful guidance has been issued for the safe opening of public buildings:

Recovery Strategy:
On Sunday, 10th May the government issued it’s roadmap for how and when the UK will adjust its response to the Covid-19 crisis.  One of the predictable issues covered in the full plan that is very relevant to the people we support has now been confirmed by the government at 5.3: life for shielded groups is not going to be changing anytime soon.  “It is likely that the Government will continue to advise people who are clinically extremely vulnerable to shield beyond June.”

On 22nd May the government updated its FAQs on what you can and can’t do during the coronavirus outbreak.

On 17th July the government issued ‘The next chapter in our plan to rebuild: The UK Government’s covid-19 recovery strategy‘ including how local outbreaks will be managed.

Leeds City Council has issued a press release re: social care recruitment.

Scam Alert:
Unscrupulous people are taking the opportunity of the Coronavirus to scam vulnerable people.  West Yorkshire Trading Standards have published a flyer.

The Social Care Institute for Excellence provides training, consultancy, research and resources for the social care and health sectors.

Shielded People:
On 30th May the government issued guidance that shielding should continue for another month.  However, on 31st May further guidance has been issued to the effect that shielded people can now venture out of their home, subject to specific conditions.

Update 23.06.2020 – the government plans to suspend shielding and protecting people defined on medical grounds as extremely vulnerable from August 2020 plus added guidance on accessing food and medicines if shielding.

Update 06.07.2020 – updated shielding guidance including an easy read version.  Further updated 07.07.2020 to include clinical risk to children and young people.

Shielded People Registration:
People who are shielding should register online, even if they do not need additional support now.  This includes clinically extremely vulnerable people living in long-term care facilities for the elderly or “people with special needs”.

SignLive Directory:
Leeds City Council has set up a dedicated line on SignLive for deaf customers.  This new line can be accessed by selecting ‘Leeds City Council Covid19 Support’ on the SignLive Directory.  This will go through to the Council’s Covid-19 helpline which supplements the line already in place for general Council enquiries.

If deaf customers/BSL users need help to get food or medication delivered to their home, they can use SignLive and they will do their best to assist.

A BSL video has also been produced.

Social Care Institute for Excellence
SCIE has really well laid out guidance supporting autistic people and people with learning disabilities, including guides for families and professionals supporting autistic adults and adults with learning disabilities during the coronavirus crisis.  There is guidance for:

  • social workers and occupational therapists
  • care staff
  • carers and families  (This link connects to a guide to help family members and carers supporting adults and children with learning disabilities or an autistic adult or child through the Covid-19 crisis.  Its aim is to ensure that carers are able to carry on giving good, safe, support to their family members during the pandemic.)

Social Distancing:
On 23rd June the government announced the easing of lockdown restrictions: two metres is still a preferable safe distance, but one metre plus mitigations may be ok in some circumstances.  A review of the two metre social distancing guidance and summary of review findings was published on 24 June (it was updated on 26 June with Welsh versions of the guidance added).

Social Impact of Covid-19:
The Office for National Statistics has issued it’s report: Coronavirus and the social impacts on disabled people in Great Britain which, unsurprisingly, confirms that people living with disabilities are more adversely socially impacted.

Speak Up About Your Care:
Because We All Care is a new campaign led by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) and Healthwatch England.  It aims to help services identify and address quality issues and support patients in response to COVID-19 by encouraging people to share feedback on their experiences of health and social care services in England.

Stay at Home Guidance:
On 17th March a Stay at Home guidance chart was published to assist households in working out how long people should self-isolate at home when they or someone they live with has symptoms.  On 30th July this was updated at 9:12am in respect of the 7 day isolation rule.  However, at 10am an announcement was made that the 7 day period of isolation has now changed to 10 days!

Surveillance Reports:
Weekly infographics from Public Health England:

Infographics for outbreaks in care homes in England:

Symptoms of Covid-19:
Anosmia – the loss or change of sense of smell – has been added as an official Covid-19 symptom.  Inevitably we will all need to update our guidance to reflect this additional symptom.

Through the Maze:
An information and signposting service in Leeds for adults with learning disabilities, family carers and professionals

Travel & Transport Guidance:
Following the announcement by the government (Sunday, 10th May) of Phase 1 of the easing of restrictions, it has issued guidance for people using transport during the pandemic which may be helpful for people who have to make their way to and from their workplace by public transport.  There is also safer travel guidance for passengers first issued on 12th May and updated on 29th June.  Older Peoples Commissioning have put together the below information about what to do on public transport, especially if you need extra help/can’t tolerate wearing a mask:

First Group
Face Coverings. Ask passengers to be prepared to inform the driver and show an Extra Help to Travel Card (Journey Assistance Card) which is available from their website.

Arriva Leeds
Covid-19 FAQs.  Also have downloadable and printable Journey Assistance Cards.  These cards are covered in the response to Question 6 on the page (Is there support for me to show other people that I am exempt?).

Northern Rail
Travel help and information.  Assistance cards again can be accessed and printed from their website.  You can find the link to this under the question: ‘I am in one of the groups that is exempt from wearing a face covering, how can I prove it when I travel?’  Northern Rail also state that the assistance card is for a passenger’s own peace of mind and is by no means a requirement of travel.

The Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) updated its advice, on 11th June, for British people travelling overseas during the coronavirus pandemic.  From 10th July we will be able to travel to countries abroad without having to self-isolate upon return to Britain.

For those of you contemplating taking a cruise anytime soon, the government has issued guidance for British people about cruise ship holidays during the coronavirus pandemic.  In summary this includes updated advice against cruise travel following the changes to the global advisory against non-essential travel.

Visiting Guidance:
Leeds City Council has helpfully pulled together information on visiting for care homes and other settings.  For those interested, we have just updated our visiting protocol for families (and the risk assessment template we use) though all credit should go to the good people at LYPFT’s supported living service from whom much of their information was appropriated … with their consent!

Voluntary Action Leeds:
Website useful for local social care news and/or linking to resources for people with learning disabilities.

Leeds City Council and Voluntary Action Leeds are setting up a system to mobilise volunteers across the health and social care sector within the city for non-personal care tasks.  Care providers will already have been communicated with about their need for volunteers and info on how to volunteer is available on the Doing Good Leeds website.

Winter & Coronavirus:
This report from the Academy of Medical Sciences makes depressing forecasting for the months ahead.

Documents :

Coronavirus Scam Alert

West Yorkshire Trading Standards newsletter vol.1 2020

Learning Disability & Autism Programme FAQs

FAQs published by the Learning Disability and Autism Programme, Leeds Teaching Hospitals Trust, on 27th March 2020

Stay at Home Guidance for Households

Current guidelines (as at 17th March 2020) illustrated

Coronavirus: Public Information

Government & NHS poster

Wet Soap Wash Rinse Dry

NHS poster

Letter to Care Managers – 7 April 2020

How to respond to a suspected outbreak of COVID-19 within the care home (Public Health England)

Cancer Awareness – Urgent Plea

Press release from a Leeds GP urging people to continue to check for possible signs of cancer and to get in touch with their GP about anything that could be cancer related.

COVID-19 Poster for Care Homes

Public Health England poster for the identification and management of outbreaks of COVID-19 in care/residential homes.

Every Sip Counts …

Poster highlighting the importance of staying hydrated during isolation, and the symptoms of dehydration, produced by Leeds Community Healthcare NHS Trust

Palliative Care – Additional Support

Flyer explaining the additional support available from Specialist Palliative Care Community Services during the COVID-19 pandemic

Wearing Face Masks

The unsafe use of surgical face masks increases the risk of spreading COVID-10.  This good practice poster covers using face masks for all staff and individuals.  It is published by Leeds Community Healthcare NHS Trust.