In this update:
- Summer is here! South-west hots up for G7 summit
- Enjoy Euro 2020 safely
- What do under 30s need to know about the COVID-19 vaccine?
- Four new work hubs in Devon
- Doctors in Devon remind their patients “We are here for you”
Summer is here! South-west hots up for G7 summit
Temperatures are set to sore this weekend, and the world’s leaders attending the G7 conference in Cornwall will be seeing the south-west at its sunny best.
And while many a hot topic will be on the discussion table indoors, among them no doubt coronavirus, the higher temperatures, indoors and out, carry health risks that can be amplified during the pandemic, particularly for those spending more time at home because of self-isolating.
Social distancing measures have also reduced the opportunities for people to check on vulnerable friends and neighbours and some people may avoid seeking emergency healthcare when needed because of fears of catching coronavirus.
Much of the advice on beating the heat is common sense:
- If you’re spending time outdoors remember to drink plenty of water and avoid excess alcohol. Stay in the shade, apply sunscreen and wear a wide-brimmed hat
- Try to keep out of the sun and avoid physical exertion during the hottest hours of the day, usually between 11.00am and 3.00pm when the ultraviolet (UV) rays are strongest
- Never leave anyone in a locked, parked vehicle, especially infants, young children or animals, even if windows are left open
- Look out for those who may struggle to cope in the heat and to keep themselves cool and hydrated, such as young children or older people. Those with underlying conditions and those who live alone are particularly at risk
- Close curtains in rooms that face the sun to keep indoor spaces cooler and remember it may be cooler outdoors than indoors in some buildings
Enjoy Euro 2020 safely
The long awaited and much talked about Euro 2020 football tournament starts tomorrow (Friday 11 June). There will be 51 matches over 31 days at 11 venues including London and Glasgow.
The games that kept their 2020 badge and title, have been postponed until this year because of the coronavirus pandemic. And yet amid the excitement, we’re still very much in the midst of that same pandemic, with case numbers across the country rising as the latest and more transmissible Delta strain becomes dominant.
“While case numbers are comparatively low in Devon for the moment, positive cases across the country are rising,” said Steve Brown, Director of Public Health Devon.
“Euro 2020 will be a time of much emotion for football fans. And for those perhaps not sat watching it on TV at home, you may be travelling to friends and family to watch games or even to Wembley or Hampden Park to see the matches.
“My message is simple. Enjoy the tournament, but do so safely.”
The rules inside and out
- You can watch football inside pubs across the UK, but remember that in England, only up to six people from six households or two households of any size can meet indoors
- In England, up to 30 people can meet outside, including in a pub garden, but check if the place you’re visiting has any restrictions due to the size of their outside space
- Follow the rules if you’re inviting people back to yours to watch the game too. Up to six people from multiple houses or any number from just two households can gather indoors, and up to 30 people outdoors
- Use personal judgement when it comes to hugging close friends. Public Health advise to err on caution and be careful
People aged 25 to 29 invited to book COVID-19 vaccination appointment
The NHS invited around three million people aged between 25 and 29 to book their COVID-19 vaccination earlier this week.
Those now eligible for a vaccine are being asked to book their jab once they receive the ‘NHSvaccine’ text message alert which includes a web link to the NHS website to book an appointment. People who cannot go online can call the service on 119 instead to book their jab. GPs are also contacting patients to urge the newly eligible to come forward.
Current advice on COVID-19 vaccinations is that people aged under 40 years old and pregnant women should have the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine. So vaccination centres in Devon are now using Pfizer or Moderna vaccines for all first doses.
What do under 30s need to know about the COVID-19 vaccine?
The COVID-19 vaccine roll-out has reached young adults, with those aged 25 years old and over now invited to book their vaccination appointments.
You can’t choose which COVID-19 vaccine you get, but you will be allocated one based partly on your age. Those under 40 years old or pregnant, will get the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, but if you’ve already had one Oxford-AstraZeneca jab with no after-effects, you should have a second dose.
You might experience some side effects after your jab because your body’s defences are reacting to the vaccine. You could have a sore arm, feel tired or sick or have a fever or headache. These symptoms are usually mild and disappear after a few days.
Younger people may think that they’re less likely to be seriously ill if they catch coronavirus because of their age and general good health, compared say to older and more vulnerable people. And that may be true. But don’t let that persuade you not to have the vaccine. You might still catch coronavirus, and studies are now suggesting that those who have been vaccinated are less likely to transmit the virus to other people.
Please take up the vaccine when it’s offered to you, if not just to protect you, but to also help protect others. For more information on the COVID-19 vaccine, visit the NHS website.
Don’t delay your second COVID-19 vaccine dose
The NHS is urging people that are contacted to bring forward their second COVID-19 jab to rebook as soon as possible.
Last month the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) advised that everyone aged 50 years old and above or with underlying health conditions should have their second vaccine dose brought forward from 12 to eight weeks as part of the government’s plans to tackle rising cases of the Delta variant.
People who used the National Booking Service will receive a text message prompting them to cancel their existing second appointment and rebook an earlier one. There are currently plenty of appointments available and new appointments are being added regularly, so please keep checking.
Those not in vaccination priority groups one to nine will continue to get their first dose, with their second dose at 12 weeks in line with the current vaccine strategy.
Further advice regarding the vaccines and pregnancy
Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are the preferred vaccines for pregnant women of any age who are having their first dose. Around 90,000 pregnant women in the USA have had these vaccines and no safety concerns have been identified.
Anyone who has already started vaccination and is offered a second dose while pregnant, should have a second dose with the same vaccine, unless they had a serious side effect after the first dose.
Following World Health Organization advice, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has recommended that breastfeeding mothers can have the vaccines. There is also no need to avoid trying to conceive after a COVID-19 vaccination as there’s no evidence that the vaccines have any effect on pregnancy or fertility.
Funding secured to support Devon’s economic recovery
We’ve secured funding to support some of the local economies hardest hit during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and help Devon’s strong recovery.
In partnership with Exeter City Council, Torbay Council and Torridge District Council, we’ve been awarded more than £2.3 million of government funding to deliver local regeneration schemes. The funding will help to deliver initiatives that will create economic growth by unlocking land for new homes and jobs; providing new opportunities to save on running costs or generating income funding; or transforming services. You can find out more about the projects that will benefit from the funding on our website.
We also successfully bid for £640,000 from The Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership (HotSW LEP) to grow our award-winning network of work hubs. They provide flexible-term, value for money office space, equipped with modern facilities and are ideal for small businesses that may have started from home but are looking to grow into larger accommodation.
New work hubs are being established in Great Torrington, Newton Abbot, and Teignmouth to provide co-working and office space, while the existing hub in Tavistock will also be expanded.
Our work hubs play an important role in supporting local communities and stimulating the local economy by providing flexible and versatile spaces which help businesses to grow and create local jobs. And with more people likely to be working from home, even after normality returns, these facilities will be an asset to local businesses, workers and entrepreneurs and will help to create high quality jobs and attract businesses to Devon.
For more information and guidance, and to download an application form, please visit the Devon Work Hubs website.
Doctors in Devon remind their patients “We are here for you”
Devon’s GP practices are open and encouraging patients to get touch when they need to. While practices have had to move to greater use of telephone and online appointments, they have continued to offer face to face appointments to those that need them. In fact, almost 60 per cent of appointments in Devon GP practices are now face to face, which is higher than the national average.
NHS Devon Clinical Commissioning Group is urging people in Devon to use the right service for their needs and to bear with the very busy NHS services in the region.
The NHS 111 service is available 24/7 to provide advice, treatment and care. Just ring 111 or visit the 111 website and the service will provide advice and refer you to another service if you need it.
Don’t forget your local pharmacist can provide health advice and help with minor illnesses like colds, rashes, sunburn, hay fever and diarrhoea. You don’t need an appointment and they can provide you with the right medicines at the same time.
If you, or someone you know, is struggling with their mental wellbeing, 24/7 mental health lines are available in Devon and Torbay on 0808 196 8708 and Plymouth on 0800 923 9323.
Please remember Emergency Departments are for life-threatening emergencies. There is a network of minor injury units in Devon that can provide the treatment you need – often they’ll see you quicker, and closer to home.
You can find local guidance and information about the impacts on our services on the Devon County Council website.