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Coronavirus update from Somerset County Council – 09/12

Posted on 11th December, 2020 in News

All our help and information is now available in a single place on the SCC website https://www.somerset.gov.uk/coronavirus/covid-19-latest-advice/

This page is refreshed through the day so please check in regularly to keep across developments and news.

Public Health dashboard: Detailed Public Health information dashboards are available on our website www.somerset.gov.uk/coronavirus just scroll down to ‘Covid-19 dashboard’. These are updated daily.

Top stories today:

Somerset’s first patient receives the COVID-19 vaccine, as NHS vaccination programme is launched

Following the very first deliveries of the approved Pfizer vaccine, the Somerset-wide COVID-19 vaccination programme for those in the highest priority groups, has begun at Yeovil Hospital, as part of the biggest vaccination programme in history.

The hospital is part of the initial wave of 50 hospital hubs, announced last weekend that is providing the first vaccinations across the country.

Today, it has begun vaccinating people from the most vulnerable groups which includes patients aged 80 and above, who are already attending hospital as an outpatient, those who are being discharged home after a hospital stay, and care home staff who look after some of the most vulnerable people in Somerset. Any appointments not used for the initial groups at the hospital will be used for healthcare workers who are at highest risk of serious illness from COVID-19.

Since the Pfizer vaccine was given the green light from regulators last week, Somerset health and care organisations have been working around the clock to manage the huge logistical challenge of deploying the vaccine.

Further plans for the local NHS vaccination programme are currently being drawn up, to ensure that the wider population across Somerset can access the vaccine in line with national guidance and as vaccine is available. This includes delivering it in a number of locations to enable easier access for as many people as possible, including large county sites, community sites in locations across the county, hospital hubs, some GP surgeries and via teams of mobile vaccinators for those who cannot leave their homes.

As plans progress across Somerset, the public have an important part to play to help:
• Please don’t contact the NHS to seek a vaccine, we will contact you;
• when we do contact you, please attend your booked appointments;
• and please continue to follow all the guidance to control the virus and save lives.

For further information on the roll out of the NHS vaccination programme in Somerset, visit: https://www.somersetccg.nhs.uk/covid-19-vaccinations-in-somerset

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Food support for families in need this Christmas

A £1million support package is in place to support Somerset families in need with food this winter.

Somerset County Council, the District Councils and Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group have been busy working with partners to ensure a robust system is in place so that help can be directed where it is needed.

Through partnership working, a wide network of community food support has already been established in Somerset during the pandemic and the Government’s Winter Covid Grant Scheme has bolstered this by providing additional funding to support families.

All schools in Somerset will be provided with £30 for every child who receives free school meals for the Christmas Holidays and £15 for February half term. Schools will use this funding to provide vouchers or food and will contact their families accordingly.

A fund has also been established so that schools can bid for money to set up new breakfast and after-school clubs or expand their existing ones. There is also an option to bid for funds towards new community food projects, such as setting up a community larder or an allotment scheme.

In line with national policy, from Easter 2021 the Free School Meals vouchers programme will be replaced with the new Holiday Activities and Food programme. Before Christmas, Somerset County Council will be writing to schools to ask if they would like to bid for funding to host or run holiday activities with food for children eligible for free school meals.

Families with children under 4 on low income may be able to claim Healthy Start Vouchers https://www.healthystart.nhs.uk/ which gives parents £3.10 per week to help buy healthy food, vitamins and milk.

Families with children 16-18 not in education, employment or training can also have help over Christmas by emailing somersetworks@somerset.gov.uk

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Support for Somerset residents

Help is available for anyone in Somerset who may need additional support. The five councils in Somerset have been working together since the first lockdown to provide a single phone number for anyone in Somerset who needs Coronavirus-related support.

Residents are reminded they can call 0300 790 6275 if they need any help themselves or are concerned about relatives or neighbours. Lines are open seven days a week between 8am and 6pm.

Job retention scheme (furlough)

The extended job retention scheme has monthly claim deadlines – employers must submit any November claims no later than 14 ‌‌December. Employers should:

  • Check if they’re eligible, and work out how much they can claim using the CJRS calculator and examples, by searching ‘Job Retention Scheme’ on GOV‌.UK.
  • Submit any claims for November, no later than 14‌‌‌ December.
  • Keep any records that support the amount of CJRS grant they claim, in case HM Revenues and Customs needs to check them.

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