Safety appeal to Swindon people amid covid surge

By Barrie Hudson - 21 October 2021

CommunityHealth

Swindon Borough Council is warning residents that the pandemic is far from over.

  • Swindon public health chief Steve Maddern wants everybody to do their bit in the covid battle

    Swindon public health chief Steve Maddern wants everybody to do their bit in the covid battle

The council's message comes as the covid case rate in the borough remains high.

Residents are being urged not to become complacent and to continue doing their bit to tackle the spread of the virus - especially heading into the winter months, which already cause additional pressures on local health services.

In recent weeks, staff at Great Western Hospital have seen an increase in the number of patients admitted to hospital with the virus. Today, there are 70 patients with covid, 10 of whom are in the Intensive Care Unit.

Steve Maddern, Swindon Borough Council’s Director of Public Health, said: “As we head into the colder, darker months, we know the pressure on our hospital is only going to increase, as it does every winter. We all must play our part now to help ease that pressure, before it’s too late.

“Although it’s no longer a legal requirement, please do continue to follow the guidance – get vaccinated, wash your hands, wear a face covering, keep testing regularly, let fresh air in and keep your distance from others. 

"Do it for yourself, do it for the rest of our community, particularly those who are vulnerable, and do it for our emergency services. It’s up to all of us to reduce the spread of covid-19.”

Residents who have not yet had a first or second dose of the vaccine are being encouraged to do so, alongside those who are now eligible for a booster vaccine. More information about vaccinations can be found on the NHS website at: www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/coronavirus-vaccination/book-coronavirus-vaccination

Vaccinations for 12 to 15-year-olds can now be booked through the National Booking System, with local sites such as the STEAM Museum due to be added to the system in the coming days. More information on this will be issued by Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group in due course and residents are encouraged to keep an eye on the booking system to see when new vaccination locations are added for this age group.

Regular Lateral Flow Tests (LFTs) should continue to be taken twice a week, even if residents don’t have symptoms. Anyone who does have symptoms, has received a positive result from an LFT, or has been contacted by NHS Test and Trace, should self-isolate and book a PCR Test as soon as possible. These can be done at multiple sites in Swindon or by ordering a home-testing kit. More information can be found on the Government’s website: https://www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test

Residents are also being encouraged to wear a face covering, unless exempt, in enclosed spaces when mixing with people they wouldn’t normally mix with. Although this is no longer a legal requirement, residents are strongly encouraged to consider wearing a mask when out in public, as a key way of reducing community transmission of the virus.

Opening windows or doors to increase ventilation is also crucial in reducing the spread of covid, as well as regular hand-washing with soap or anti-bacterial hand gel.

Kevin McNamara, Chief Executive at Great Western Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Our primary care practices and the Great Western Hospital remain extremely busy and pressure is being felt right across the health and social care system as a result of the high number of people needing care for covid-19 along with a range of other conditions and illnesses.

“As things stand today, our hospital position and covid-19 patient numbers look very similar to where we were back in November 2020 but, back then, we had the support of a national lockdown which helped to ease the pressure, which we don’t have this time around.

“Please do your bit to help us here at GWH by getting your vaccine. I would also continue to urge people to wear a face covering, keep your hands clean, and practice social distancing where you can.”

Gill May, Director of Nursing and Quality, Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “As we approach winter, it’s vitally important that those most at risk of becoming seriously ill with covid-19 keep their immunity topped up, and the best way to do this is by having the third dose of the coronavirus vaccine.

“These booster vaccinations are available six months after the date of a person’s second vaccine, and I’d strongly encourage all those who are eligible, such as health and social care workers and all people over the age of 50, not to delay in booking an appointment as soon as they are able to.

“People will be contacted when it is their turn for a booster, and these are being offered from locations across Swindon, including the STEAM Museum and a number of community pharmacies.”

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