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Coronavirus update from Somerset County Council – 21/01

Posted on 21st January, 2021 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:

More support for families in lockdown

Somerset County Council has allocated a further £427,000 of funding to help schools provide families with food support during this lockdown.

During term time, the Department for Education (DfE) has asked schools to provide meal options for all pupils who are in school – including vulnerable children and the children of critical workers – as well as those children being home-schooled who are eligible for Free School Meals.

The decision on whether to provide boxes or vouchers rests with the individual schools. However, Somerset County Council is working with them to ensure that Somerset food boxes meet or exceed the DfE standard.

Somerset County Council is providing schools with an additional £427,000 to enhance the level of food provided and meet dietary requirements. The Council recognises that some children are not eligible for Free School Meals but for one reason or another would benefit from receiving food support. Therefore, this funding can also be used by schools to support a wider range of children.

Before the February half term, all schools in Somerset have also been provided with funding from the Winter Covid Grant scheme for every child who receives Free School Meals. This funding can be used to provide vouchers or food.

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Somerset County Council supports the national vaccination effort

Hundreds of Somerset County Council staff are working tirelessly alongside the NHS and within communities to help support the fight back against Coronavirus.

Somerset County Council officers are redeployed from their ‘business as usual’ jobs to project manage the setting up of Somerset’s GP vaccination hubs, now live across Somerset.

Council staff are also contacting eligible residents inviting them to vaccination appointments, supporting the ‘Test and Trace’ effort if a Somerset resident tests positive, running the care home vaccination programme and delivering vital food parcels and PPE.

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Lateral flow tests in Somerset

On 10 January 2021 central government announced that a community testing offer using lateral flow devices, was to be expanded across all local authorities in England to test people without symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19).

Lateral flow testing involves a swab of the nose and throat to collect a sample and provides a result within around half an hour. This screening test will require twice weekly testing and will be targeted at people who cannot work from home during lockdown.

In Somerset targeted testing is already in place for workers who care for vulnerable groups such as the elderly in their own homes. This testing sits alongside the multitude of national testing programmes. This latest announcement expanding the offer across a wider group of workers presents a new challenge. Any new testing programme in Somerset will need to be phased and designed to reach the most urgent areas of our community first.

Coronavirus Appeal raises £1.5m for communities in Somerset

The Somerset Coronavirus Appeal, launched by charity Somerset Community Foundation (SCF) at the start of the pandemic, has raised a phenomenal £1.5 million. The funding has enabled the Foundation to award grants to more than 300 local charities [correct as at 19/01/2021] in just 10 months, thanks to the generous support of local individuals, businesses, charitable trusts and public sector partners, as well as funding from a national appeal run by The National Emergencies Trust (NET).

Donations to the Somerset Coronavirus Appeal are continuing to help provide grants of £100 up to £5,000 to local groups and charities, helping those in our communities across the county who are most affected by the outbreak, including vulnerable older people, domestic abuse survivors, people experiencing mental health problems, and children and families living in poverty.

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Feeling anxious? You’re not alone

The impact of coronavirus has affected people in so many different ways. If it has made you feel more anxious, that’s perfectly natural.

You are not alone and there’s some helpful advice on how to cope with feelings of anxiety that can, sometimes, be overwhelming. You can find top tips here: Anxiety | Every Mind Matters | OneYou (www.nhs.uk)