Year: 2020

Covid Watch 107: Breaking news… Vaccination starts in Ludlow area care homes Saturday

Only a few hours ago, we wrote about the failure to rollout vaccinations in Ludlow and south west Shropshire. We wrote about the need to vax now. Lobbying has been going on behind the scenes as Tracey Huffer and myself, along with many medical professionals, have been pressing home the message of vax now. The news just in is that the Shropshire Clinical Commissioning Group has given permission for vaccination to start in care homes in this area on Saturday. That must happen. It will now happen. The emergency is becoming so great we can’t afford to waste a day. The virus doesn’t care about holidays and weekends. It thrives on them.

Covid Watch 106: We want vaccination! When do we want it? Now! But local health managers won’t act quickly

“We want vaccinating.” Those are not the exact words used by many callers over the last few days, but they express the common sentiment. Expectation has reached a high point with yesterday’s approval of the easier to administer Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine. We have two vaccines, millions of doses, but here in south west Shropshire we still don’t know when vaccination will begin in earnest. Local GPs are frustrated. They are ready to go. They will begin in care homes this Sunday if needed. Their switchboards are busy with callers asking when their vaccination will be available. They don’t have an answer because health service managers don’t seem to be up to speed on vaccination rollout. The virus didn’t take a holiday at Christmas. It won’t take a holiday at New Year. It will spread faster threatening the lives and health of people in our area of Shropshire. We need action. All we have got from the Clinical Commissioning Group is inaction.

Covid Watch 105: Tier 3 status for Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin – unwelcome but essential

No one is surprised. There is a sense of resignation and growing weariness as we face another partial lockdown locally. Most of the rest of the country is from midnight in lockdown in all but name. For a town like Ludlow which relies heavily on the visitor and hospitality industry, it is a bitter blow for our local venues to have to close their doors yet again. And we don’t know for how long. There will be a staggered return to schools and higher education though we don’t have the details for Shropshire yet. I have no doubt that this change is essential but that does not make it any less a bitter pill to swallow.

Covid Watch 104: Cases are growing among younger people in Shropshire as the nation heads towards an even tighter lockdown (updated)

It’s quite hard to a grip on the details of the coronavirus epidemic at times. The headline figures hide a lot of detail. In this article, we concentrate on infection by age group within Shropshire. Before the holiday, Shropshire infection rates were dropping. That is in stark contrast to England as a whole. Particularly Tier 4 areas in the south and east and in South Wales. The soaring infection rates across the country are driven by the faster spreading new variant of Covid. It’s scary. Very scary. The latest data for our locality gives us an insight into the age profile of those testing positive for Covid-19 in Shropshire. The over eighties, considered the most vulnerable age, still have worryingly high infection rates. But the highest rates are among people in their twenties through to their fifties. The most socially and professionally mobile age group in our population.

It’s coming up to New Year. It is normally a time for partying and what self-respecting party doesn’t drag everyone out into the cold for the firework display? The problem, coronavirus restrictions aside, is not the fireworks. It is that they have become noisier over the years. They scare the hell out of some people and traumatise a nation of pets. My dog hides under the bed in a panic, despite being an ex-farm dog used to guns. My cat is well frit for hours. It is not just animals. Many people with autism, tinnitus and other conditions also suffer. Shropshire Council has twice debated fireworks in the last year. On both occasions it agreed to provide advice and it has done so. But the council cabinet member overseeing regulation was meant to lobby government but has not acted. We need national action by MPs, not just debates in hallowed chambers.

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