An update in the coronavirus emergency from Greenwich Council’s public health team, with special advice on wearing face masks and where to go if you are grieving.
In the seven days until Tuesday there were 702 confirmed new cases of coronavirus in Greenwich borough. Cases are gradually decreasing, but are still high. We need to stay safe and make sure this number continues to go down, by following the guidance explained in this update.
185 people are in hospital right now in the borough because of coronavirus. This number is starting to go down, but is still far too high. To have to go to hospital because of coronavirus means your case is very serious, and puts a strain on our hospitals and everyone who works in them.
A national lockdown is in place across the country. This means everyone must stay home except for when it is absolutely necessary to leave.
It has never been more important to take every measure we can to fight the virus. Everyone needs to stay at home, except for essential activities. If you do need to leave home: Wear a mask. Make space. Wash your hands.
You can read all the details about the lockdown at gov.uk/guidance/national-lockdown-stay-at-home.
Masks versus visors
Unfortunately, a face shield, or visor, is not a suitable face covering as it does not cover the nose and mouth properly.
Please wear a face mask, not a visor, when in enclosed spaces such as shops, public transport and places of worship. This is important to stop the spread of this virus and reduce the amount of people that are ill, and sadly, die, from coronavirus.
Coronavirus is spread by droplets from coughs, sneezes and speaking. When used correctly, wearing a face mask may reduce the spread of coronavirus, helping to protect others.
A face mask should:
- cover your nose and mouth while allowing you to breathe comfortably
- fit comfortably but securely against the side of the face
- be secured to the head with ties or ear loops
- ideally include at least two layers of fabric
- unless disposable, be able to be washed regularly
Because face masks protect others from coronavirus rather than the wearer, they are not a replacement for social distancing and regular hand washing. It is important to still regularly wash your hands and stay at least two metres from people not in your household or support bubble.
Support if you’ve lost someone to coronavirus
Most people experience grief when they lose someone important to them. It affects everyone differently. There’s no right or wrong way to feel.
You may be finding it particularly difficult at the moment because of the changes in place to try to stop the spread of coronavirus.
Changes have been made to several services, including end-of-life and palliative care, as well as funeral arrangements.
You may feel that you need some extra help and support during this time. There are local places that can help, such as Greenwich Cruse Bereavement Centre, Greenwich and Bexley Community Hospice as well as national helplines such as Samaritans and Sudden.
Live Well Greenwich has lots of helpful links that can hopefully help you during this difficult time.
Getting tested for coronavirus
If you have coronavirus symptoms: (a high temperature, a new, continuous cough, a loss of, or change to, your sense of smell or taste), even if they’re only mild, it’s important to get a test and stay at home until you get your result.
There are several local testing centres – please go to gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test to book a test. Booking is essential for all testing centres. Order a home test kit if you cannot get to a test site. If you have problems using the online service, call 119. Lines are open 7am to 11pm.
Rapid testing centres
If you can’t follow the Government guidance to stay at home and have go to work, you can get a test very quickly in a number of walk-in centres around the borough, including at The Valley.
The test takes five minutes, and the results are emailed to you in 30 minutes. It will tell you if you have Covid-19, but no symptoms, so that you can protect those around you by self-isolating for 10 days until the virus clears from your body. Book a rapid test here.
Testing is NOT available at the Emergency Department at the hospital or at your GP practice, so please do not attend here trying to get a test.
Support if you test positive and have to self-isolate
If your test result is positive, you and your household will need to stay at home and self-isolate for 10 days (this has changed from 14 days). This is important to stop the virus spreading and to keep your community safe.
This can be stressful and worrying when you need to go to work. If you are unable to claim sick-pay from your employer and are a low income household, a one-off £500 payment may be available from the Government to support you and your family during these 14 days. Find out if you are eligible to apply for this payment or call 0800 470 4831.
If you’re interested in helping your community through volunteering, short training is available to introduce and prepare volunteers for the role of Neighbourhood Champion. This is an opportunity to learn, ask questions, share information and practice.
For more information, please email victoria.smith[at]royalgreenwich.gov.uk.
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