Latest Updates on Salford Council's response to the COVID-19 outbreak
Letter to Care Minister
Jim Taylor has written to the Minister of State for Care to explain the range of approaches and support Salford has co-designed and delivered with the care homes market though the COVID19 crisis period. He includes details of how we have used intelligence on what is happening locally to respond to the crisis to protect our most vulnerable residents. click here to see the letter
PUBLIC HEALTH UPDATES
As of Sunday 31 May, 931 people have tested positive for COVID-19 in Salford – a small increase of 13 additional cases (1.4%) since the week before.
Further work is taking place among Salford partners to produce a common approach to risk assessments for the workforce and volunteers, and including for those of BAME background.
Public health guidance for PPE and safe management has been produced for schools and early years settings, including the new guidance on Test and Trace issued on Thursday 28th May 2020.
- Care Homes Salford care homes that are eligible for the national care home testing have registered on the government portal. Up to 30 care homes are in line for this whole care home testing by 6 June, and we are arranging for others who are not eligible via the national system to be tested locally. We are finding a few asymptomatic staff and residents who are testing positive, and this seems to be the result of sustained transmission in the previous outbreaks. This is valuable information as staff are now self-isolating along with their household and there have been no work related contacts without PPE.
- Schools and Early Years Settings We have not found asymptomatic transmission in other settings like schools and workplaces in Salford. From 1 June 2020, 33 of the 79 primary schools in Salford will take additional children, representing approximately 10 per cent of the school population. This will then increase the following week when more schools return from half term to 20%. This is a gradual return and at each stage schools will review their risk assessments and increase the numbers of children in school if appropriate. Each local area is in a different stage of the pandemic, and some areas in the UK are still dealing with the tail end of their outbreaks. In Salford, on the basis of excess deaths now back to average levels in the last five years, Salford appears to be at the baseline position pre-COVID although we still do have the virus in circulation.
Test and trace
The NHS Test and Trace portal has gone live for positive cases to log their contacts in the 48 hours prior to the onset of symptoms (or date of the test for asymptomatic positive tests). Contact tracing is expected to take place nationally with escalation procedures and consequence management at GM level and locally.
Local testing and contact tracing is in place for care homes, other residential settings, schools and key workers in other frontline services. People working in roles where they have correctly used PPE, such as health and social care workers and cleaners, are not considered to be a contact. In other settings like schools and workplaces where PPE is not required as standard, employers will need to consider their business continuity plans and mutual aid. Pandemic preparedness modelling suggests employers should plan for 20% of their staff off at any one time.
Salford public health have been advising schools regarding the risk assessments for categories of staff and individuals who may be at higher risk of the severe complications from the virus. In Salford, we have local testing arrangements and we are working with schools closely to advise them. Should a staff member, pupil or other household member become unwell we can arrange for local testing and we can trace the contacts locally.
KEY SERVICE UPDATES
A full list of information about council services and access by the public can be found at council services information.
Spirit of Salford network
As of 29 May, the hotline has received 9,300 telephone calls, along with 1,300 requests for support from the website. Just over 3,000 food boxes have been delivered.
In Salford, work is on-going to mitigate the impact on the city’s economy:
- work continues to contact the small number of business who may not be aware they are entitled to government cash grants, with the council having paid out nearly £40 million to 90% of the eligible businesses. There is a section on the council website where businesses can check eligibility information and submit an application
- the council is awarding the extended business rates retail discount and nursery discount automatically if our data shows a customer is eligible. Businesses can also make an application online if they believe they qualify.
- the council has launched a local discretionary grant scheme to distribute £2.2million following the government’s announcement on the 1 May 2020 about a top up to the local business grant fund for businesses that are not eligible for other grants. Applications to the discretionary scheme can be made on the council’s website.
Schools and Early Years
Schools have been open to the children of key workers throughout the lockdown and from the start of June, primary schools are starting to re-open to specific class years where it is safe to do so. Just under a third of primary schools will re-open to some classes from Monday 1st June 2020. The majority of the remaining primaries will re-open either on Monday 8th or Monday 15th June 2020.
Schools have carried out robust risk assessments and the local authority has developed a quality assurance process to support schools in their responsibilities. Most primary schools are commencing their offer with just Year 6 pupils to allow for adjustment to the new policies and procedures. A small number of schools are providing an offer to other year groups.
20 early years settings and 29 childminders have indicated that they intend to reopen on Monday 1st June 2020.
6,000 new supported homes as part of plans to end rough sleeping
Plans to provide thousands of long-term, safe homes for vulnerable rough sleepers taken off the streets during the pandemic have been announced by Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick.
The government is backing this work with £433 million to fast-track the safe accommodation.
£160 million will be made available this year and will support rough sleepers currently housed in emergency accommodation to move on to more sustainable, long-term housing. The funding will ensure that 6,000 new housing units will be put into the system, with 3,300 of these becoming available in the next 12 months. The government is also increasing the revenue support of the total programme by 37% to pay for support from specialist staff.
Rough sleepers will be supported by specialist staff to access the help they need, such as support for mental health or substance abuse problems, so they can rebuild their lives, move towards training and work, and remain off the streets for good.
Homes England, in partnership with Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) will work with leadingv housing associations and local authorities to fast-track thousands of units of longer-term accommodation for rough sleepers needed now.
£50m reopening high streets safely fund
The High Streets Minister Simon Clarke has announced a new £50 million Reopening High Streets Safely Fund. Salford has been allocated £230,071.
The Fund will help councils in England introduce a range of safety measures to kick-start local economies, get people back to work and customers back to the shops. It will also support a range of practical safety measures including new signs, street markings and temporary barriers.
Councils will also be able to use this money to develop local marketing campaigns to explain the changes to the public and reassure them that their high streets and other commercial areas are safe.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer has provided further details of employer’s contributions to the costs of the furlough scheme, which will remain open until October.
He confirmed that:
- There will be no employer contribution in June or July
- In August, tax payers contribution will stay at 80% and employers will just pay National Insurance and pensions contributions
- By September, employers will be asked to pay towards wages - tax payers will cover 70% of salaries (to a cap of £2,190) and employers 10%
- By October taxpayers will pay 60% of salaries (to a cap of £1,875) and employers will pay 20%
To protect jobs and help businesses decide when to bring people back, the government is introducing a more flexible furlough. The flexible furlough will be in place one month early, from July 1st. From then, employers will have the maximum flexibility to decide to bring back employees for a number of days per week.
VCSE SECTOR UPDATES
Funding boost for the Citizens Advice service
Citizens Advice and Citizens Advice Scotland will receive a funding boost of up to £15 million to help them deal with increased demand for advice and information from the public during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Consumer Affairs Minister Paul Scully has announced recently.
Coronavirus Community Support Fund - £200 million
Government has committed £200 million for small and medium sized charities and social enterprises. Funding will help maintain and enhance services for vulnerable people affected by the current crisis, where delivery organisations are experiencing income disruption and/or increased demand. Funding is being distributed by the National Lottery Community Fund, alongside its own funding. Applications opened on Friday 22 May 2020.
Volunteers Week 1- 7 June
This year Volunteers' Week will be taking place in a different way due to the current Covid-19 situation. Volunteers Week is our annual chance to say thank you to the thousands of people who volunteer in Salford. The theme of the week is “be inspired and inspire others”. Throughout the week we will share some of the stories we’ve heard lately as the celebratory events that would usually take place can not be held.
During the coronavirus pandemic we’ve seen our fabulous Spirit of Salford. Hundreds of people have volunteered their time to support our most vulnerable residents – delivering food, medicine, walking dogs or making and taking phone calls to check all is well and keep people from feeling lonely.
From Monday 8 June look out for our June issue of Life in Salford coming through your door or read it online with extra content on Issu. It’s packed with amazing stories of how Salford has responded to the pandemic.
Social distance markings
Highways staff have produced some markings on road surfaces reminding visitors to social distance at the request of cemeteries. A new stencil was made and the markings installed last week. They have received some really good feedback and cemeteries from other local authorities have commented and enquired about them.