23 March 2021
More than 21,000 vulnerable people across Cheshire will no longer have to shield from coronavirus from 1 April.
Updated national guidance has been issued for Clinically Extremely Vulnerable (CEV) people following the announcement of the new roadmap for easing restrictions.
All Clinically Extremely Vulnerable residents will receive a letter from Government this week advising them of the end of shielding from 1 April 2021 and providing new guidance on how to best to protect themselves.
Alongside following the national restrictions, people in the CEV group are still advised to take extra precautions to keep themselves safe from the COVID-19 virus. For example:
What support is available locally?
- You should still work from home if you can. If that is not possible, you can return to the workplace. However, your employer may still be able to furlough you under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.
- You are advised that if you do go out to the shops or pharmacy, you should consider going at quieter times of the day.
- Even if you have had both doses of the vaccine you must continue to take extra precautions to keep yourself safe.
- Children on the shielded patient list may also return to school or college.
Ian Ashworth, Director of Public Health said: “We understand that the end of shielding may cause some worry or anxiety, which is why we are working closely with local businesses, schools and colleges, and our voluntary, community and NHS partners to ensure that the transition is as smooth it can be and our most vulnerable remain protected.
- The NHS Volunteer Responders Programme will continue providing support with food, prescription and essential items to those who need it and can be contacted on 0808 196 3646 (8am – 8pm 7 days a week) or by registering online on the NHS Volunteer Responders website.
- All supermarkets have committed to continuing priority access to supermarket delivery slots until 21 June for CEV individuals already signed up for support via the National Shielding Support Service (NSSS) by 31 March 2021.
- The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (furlough) and the Self-Employed Income Support Service Scheme (SEISS) have been extended until 30 September 2021.
- The £20 per week increase to Universal Credit will remain in place until September.
- CEV people who need support to work at home or in the workplace can apply for Access to Work, which provides disability-related extra costs of working beyond the reasonable adjustments an employer must provide.
- We know that this is a huge challenge and it can really impact on our mental health and wellbeing. Local support is available through Cheshire and Wirral Partnership NHS Foundation Trust’s dedicated 24/7 all age urgent mental health helpline: 0800 145 6485 and support hub: www.cwp.nhs.uk/contact/need-urgent-help
- If you need to self-isolate due to a positive test or through close contact with someone who tests positive for Coronavirus we have support and guidance available on the Council's website.
- Access to local support can be found on Live Well Cheshire West www.livewell.cheshirewestandchester.gov.uk/Categories/4854
- The Council dedicated COVID-19 helpline 0300 123 7031 will continue to offer support, guidance and advice to those who need it and is available Monday – Friday 8am – 7pm and Saturday 9am – 2pm and via www.cheshirewestandchester.gov.uk/coronavirus
- The Deafness Support Network is providing a relay service to people who cannot use the telephone and require assistance: 07786 200547 (text only) or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Whilst we strongly encourage a friends and family first approach, our dedicated helpline and virtual hub will remain open for anyone who has any concerns and we encourage you to make contact with us if you need any assistance.
“We urge you to remain vigilant and continue to follow the guidance that remains in place to protect yourself – respect social distancing, wear face coverings where you can, continue to wash hands regularly and minimise contact where possible”
In future formal shielding will only be reintroduced for the worst affected areas and for a limited time. This will be based on a recommendation from the Chief Medical Officer.
Full guidance for Clinically Extremely Vulnerable people will be published on 1 April here. www.gov.uk/coronavirus.
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