We are in an unknown situation, and guidance and advice is changing daily. Please keep yourselves up to date with the NHS and Department of Health and Social Care information. We will also be sharing how local charities and organisations are adapting to the current situation.

The Government has set out the plans for moving to the next phase of its response to the virus.

The main changes to the top line advice includes:

  • Stay at home as much as possible
  • Work from home if you can
  • Limit contact with other people
  • Keep your distance if you go out (2 metres apart where possible)
  • Wash your hands regularly
  • Self-isolate if you or anyone in your household has symptoms.

Find answers to the most frequently asked questions about what you can and can’t do during the coronavirus outbreak

_______________________________________________________________________________________

The public is advised to consider wearing face coverings in enclosed public spaces such as shops, trains and buses to help reduce the spread of coronavirus.

Selective focus color image depicting a caucasian woman in her 30s wearing a protective surgical face mask and plastic surgical gloves during the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic, in a bid to stop the spread of the virus. The woman is pushing her shopping cart inside a supermarket while shopping for groceries and fresh fruit and vegetables.

  • People who use public transport or visit shops should consider covering their mouth and nose based on advice from SAGE
  • Face coverings are not a replacement for social distancing and regular handwashing which remain the most important actions, says Chief Medical Officer
  • Public urged not to buy medical grade masks so they can be saved for frontline health and care workers, and instead make their own face coverings at home

Here’s guidance on how to make a face covering.

website button

_______________________________________________________________________________________

Prime Minister Boris Johnson addressed the nation on coronavirus – 10 May 2020

Prime Minister Boris Johnson

_______________________________________________________________________________________

NHS Covid-19 app

Technology has the potential to save lives and to help the country deal with the COVID-19 pandemic.

NHSX has launched the NHS COVID-19 app to support the first phase of an integrated contact tracing and testing programme on the Isle of Wight, as announced by Secretary of State for Health and Care Matt Hancock on 4 May 2020. This programme will play a central role in how the UK manages the rate of COVID-19 transmission alongside restrictions on social distancing.

The NHS COVID-19 app is part of a wider approach that includes manual and web-based contact tracing coupled with virology swab testing. We are working hard to make sure that all of these components are fully joined up, to make the system as seamless as possible for members of the public and to ensure the app complements more traditional measures. This coordinated approach will help protect vulnerable groups, including those who cannot or do not want to use digital tools.

The NHS COVID-19 app is currently only available for use on the Isle of Wight. More details about national rollout will be shared over the coming weeks.

More information about the app and the Isle of Wight programme is available on the NHSX website.

_______________________________________________________________________________________

NHS asks people to share their coronavirus symptoms to help others

A new Coronavirus Status Checker that will help the NHS coordinate its response and build up additional data on the COVID-19 outbreak has been launched by Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock.

People with potential coronavirus symptoms are now being asked to complete the status checker and answer a short series of questions which will tell the NHS about their experience.

For more information on the Coronavirus Status Checker, please visit the .gov website.

_______________________________________________________________________________________

A substantial network of NHS volunteers have been recruited to support the COVID-19 response in the BLMK area. If you or a dependent are considered to be a ‘vulnerable person’ (due to age or health condition) and have received a targeted letter from the NHS, here is a helpful link to register for help with accessing food or medication:

https://coronavirus-vulnerable-people.service.gov.uk/live-in-england

_______________________________________________________________________________________

‘Shielding’ is for people defined on medical grounds as extremely vulnerable from COVID-19.

Shielding is a measure to protect people who are clinically extremely vulnerable by minimising all interaction between those who are extremely vulnerable and others. We are strongly advising people with serious underlying health conditions (listed below), which put them at very high risk of severe illness from coronavirus (COVID-19), to rigorously follow shielding measures in order to keep themselves safe.

_______________________________________________________________________________________

Inpatient Next of Kin helpline – Bedford Hospital and Luton & Dunstable Hospital

Local hospitals have set up a Next of Kin helpline for family members who want to check up on their loved ones – please nominate one family member:

Bedford Hospital

The nominated next of kin will receive a general daily update between the hours of 13:30 and 16:30 every day of the week. Should you fail to receive a call back during this time, and are concerned, the helpline is also available: 01234 730500.

Luton & Dunstable Hospital

The nominated family member to call 01582 718884 between 8am and 6pm.

_______________________________________________________________________________________

Bedfordshire Community Health Services

Bedfordshire Community Health Services have created a new website page for their Bedfordshire Services, and all the latest information regarding these services, during this outbreak, click on this link.

ADULT SERVICES

  • Acquired Brain Injury Service: 01582 709037
  • Neuro rehabilitation and early supported discharge stroke service: 01582 707651

_______________________________________________________________________________________

Central Bedfordshire Council Adult Learning goes online

The Bedfordshire Employment and Skills Adult Learning team (BESS) has moved from the classroom, to online during the COVID-19 national emergency.

Until a month ago, 90 per cent of adult learning operated as a face-to-face service, but since the lockdown we have reshaped how the service is delivered.

Online and distance based courses currently include support with wellbeing and mental health, using IT to stay in touch and communicate with others, understanding children’s mental health and challenging behaviour and preparing for employment. More courses will be added over the next few weeks.

To see the courses available, for more information and to enrol visit the Adult Learning Courses pages.

The team also continues to provide a National Careers Service (NCS) for information, advice and guidance with finding work. To arrange one-to-one support please complete an online form and you will be contacted by an adviser.

_______________________________________________________________________________________

How are charities and other organisations helping us during the Covid-19 Pandemic?

  • The Princes Trust have pulled together some of the most useful advice, guidance and resources so 11-30 year olds can continue to upskill by developing their confidence and abilities during this challenging time, as well as find the answers to questions on work and self-employment. They also have a live chat for advice and guidance. https://www.princes-trust.org.uk/about-the-trust/coronavirus-response/resource-centre
  • Food can affect your mood! There is a link between what we eat and how we feel so it’s important to have a healthy, balanced diet for both your body and mind. Eating well doesn’t have to be expensive. Try these sites for brain food on a budget:
  • Coping as a keyworker – when you’re busy doing important work, it might not feel possible to take care of yourself. But even doing small things for yourself can make a big difference to your mental wellbeing, and there are lots of ideas you can try. National Mind now have a page dedicated to coping as a keyworker
  • Circle Integrated Care communication concerning running of services during the COVID-19 Pandemic
  • Carers in Bedfordshire are still here for carers. They are still also accepting new referrals. Please call their telephone support service on 0300 111 1919 between 9.30am and 4.30pm, or visit their website.
  • Independent Age local volunteers stepping up to support their older neighbours across the UK.
  • Carers UK has produced recommendations for carers.
  • The Financial Conduct Authority has released information for consumers on personal loans, credit cards and overdrafts: https://www.fca.org.uk/consumers/coronavirus-information-personal-loans-credit-cards-overdrafts?
  • Housing Justice has issued specialised advice to homeless shelters. Glass Door is emphasising the importance of handwashing and has boosted their stock of hand gels kept in their vans that move between shelters. Pathway and Crisis have called on the government for guidance on how best to protect homeless people against coronavirus.
  • Full Fact has generated a fact check page on covid-19 to help dispel any false information.

_______________________________________________________________________________________

Are you a Volunteer and worried or anxious, or want to offload a bit?

  • Bedfordshire Local Emergency Volunteers (BLEVEC) has set up a peer support service for volunteers from voluntary sector organisations involved in the coronavirus emergency. BLEVEC volunteers have good listening skills and are able to provide emotional support.