Coronavirus in Charlton update: Tips on wearing face masks and help with grief

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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.

Training available

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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Use volunteers to get food, Greenwich Council tells shielding tenant cut off by building works

Fletching Road
The access route to Louise Noyce’s home was cut off on Wednesday

A disabled woman living in a Greenwich Council flat has been told to rely on volunteers to bring in food because her usual access route to her home has been cut off by contractors building new homes.

Louise Noyce lives in a block of flats in Charlton next door to where Meridian Home Start, a council spin-off company, is building 29 houses and eight flats on the site of an old sheltered accommodation block and garages.

The construction work cut off access to the flats from Fletching Road, a quiet street behind Charlton Village, apart from a narrow alleyway. The residents all have Fletching Road in their addresses.

This final remaining route to their road was blocked on Wednesday, with residents told that they would have to use a bin storage area on Charlton Church Lane to get in and out of their homes. The route is expected to be closed for about eight weeks.

Fletching Road
Residents used to have deliveries taken down this alley, which is now closed for 8 weeks

Noyce, who uses a crutch or a mobile scooter to get around, has been shielding during the lockdown and relies on supermarket deliveries for her supplies. She is also recovering from injuries sustained after falling while trying to use the bin storage area, which sits on top of a slope. “My knee gave out on the slope because it is too hard on my joints,” she said.

She has been told by her supermarket that because she cannot provide a recognised address on Charlton Church Lane, she can no longer get deliveries.

“The shop said they can only deliver to my bank card address,” she said. “I have to eat to take medication, so either I don’t eat or I go out to get my shopping myself and break the lockdown law and hope I don’t get coronavirus.”

Fletching Road
Noyce injured herself using the council’s suggested access route, via the bins

She said others in her block are elderly or disabled and face similar problems. “I am not the only one who will have to do this if we don’t get access to our road.”
After raising the issue with the building contractor in November, and getting nowhere, she tried emailing Greenwich Council leader Danny Thorpe earlier this month. She was advised by a council officer to use the town-hall’s volunteer-led community hub service to get supplies.

Noyce, who is 50, has had to spend the pandemic stuck at home next to the noisy building site, making her depression and anxiety worse. “I don’t like asking for help because I will try and look after myself,” she said. “I have had people help me but I get ripped off or they can’t help when I need it.”

The new development, Duke Court, replaces a sheltered accommodation block, Fred Styles House. The 37 homes were given planning permission as council housing in October 2017; however the development has been transferred to Meridian Home Start, a spin-off company which charges tenants about 65 per cent of market rent, compared with the 40 per cent typically charged for a council flat.

Fletching Road
Noyce has been stuck at home next to a building site during the pandemic

At the time, residents complained of a lack of consultation about the planned work – and the then-chair of planning, Labour councillor Mark James, said more work needed to be done in communicating with residents. Three years on, it appears his words have not been heeded.

“I had no idea until it started coming down,” Noyce said. “I feel they should have moved us all out. I feel as if I don’t have a voice in the matter.”

When visiting the block on Thursday, The Charlton Champion spoke to an elderly neighbour of Noyce’s who told how she took a bus one stop to reach Charlton Village because she was unable to walk up the hill at Charlton Church Lane. She added that the problems accessing the block were compounded by a broken lift.

Fletching Road
Work on the new homes is taking place behind the plywood partition

Despite Noyce’s pleas for help, the council has been insistent that using Charlton Church Lane should be sufficient, even though her supermarket will not recognise the address. “Please could you advise delivery companies that the most appropriate access arrangement to your flat is via Charlton Church Lane,” a council officer wrote on Wednesday.

“They don’t care what happens to disabled and old people,” Noyce said.

“I don’t know what I will do next, I will just try and look after myself the best I can. I will keep trying with the council because what they are doing is wrong.”

Fletching Road
The new homes replace a sheltered accommodation block

A Greenwich Council spokesperson told The Charlton Champion: “Fletching Road remains open to vehicles and no area of the road is due to be closed off. As part of the building works, a footpath will be closed for eight weeks and affected residents were given advanced warning by the contractor beginning a year ago.

“In the interim, affected properties can be accessed from Charlton Church Lane via a footpath to the street. Signs have been installed advising visitors to the area of access routes to the various blocks on the estate.

“Residents should advise their delivery companies of these temporary arrangements. It is disappointing if supermarkets are not currently recognising this alternative route – and we would urge them to rectify this.

“If shielding residents are unable to receive their groceries, the council’s community hub can help.”


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Coronavirus in Charlton update: What to do if you test positive

Keep your distance banner

An update in the coronavirus emergency from Greenwich Council’s public health team, with special advice on what to do if you need to self-isolate.

In the past seven days, there have been 2,447 confirmed new cases of coronavirus in Greenwich borough. There are signs that lockdown is beginning to work, with cases lower than they were a week ago. However, numbers are still very high across the country, and are even higher in London – including Greenwich. We need to stay safe and avoid our health system being overwhelmed by following the guidance explained in this update.

242 people are in hospital right now in the borough because of coronavirus. Hospital numbers remain high and are not yet reducing. To have to go to hospital because of coronavirus means your case is very serious, and these high numbers are putting 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.

Self-care at home if you test positive

If you do test positive with coronavirus, try not to panic. There are things you can do at home to help you recover.

It’s common for symptoms to re-emerge when you think you’ve recovered. Don’t worry if this happens – continue to rest and look after yourself and the likelihood is you’ll feel better in a few days.

If you have a high temperature, it can help to get lots of rest, drink plenty of fluids (water is best), and take paracetamol or ibuprofen if you feel uncomfortable.

If you have a cough, it’s best to avoid lying on your back. Lie on your side or sit upright instead. You can also try at home cough remedies such as lemon and honey or cough medicine.

If you’re feeling breathless, it can help to keep your room cool. Try turning the heating down or opening a window. Do not use a fan as it may spread the virus. You could also try:

  • breathing slowly in through your nose and out through your mouth, with your lips together like you’re gently blowing out a candle
  • sitting upright in a chair
  • relaxing your shoulders, so you’re not hunched
  • leaning forward slightly – support yourself by putting your hands on your knees or on something stable like a chair

Try not to panic if you’re feeling breathless. This can make it worse.

NHS.uk has more information about self-care at home, and a helpful video on what to do if you’re feeling breathless.

If you feel breathless and it’s getting worse, get medical advice from the NHS 111 online coronavirus service.

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.

Training available

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.


PLEASE SUPPORT THE CHARLTON CHAMPION

We tell the SE7 stories you won’t read elsewhere. We can’t do it without your help.
– Please tell us about your news and events
– Become a monthly supporter at presspatron.com/charltonchampion
– Donate to our running costs at paypal.me/charltonchampion