Category: Covid-19

Covid Watch 138: Tomorrow is a day for reflection with a midday silence and 8pm vigil

On March 23, 2020 England went into its first lockdown. Addressing the nation on nearly all media channels prime minister Boris Johnson told us we could only shop for basic necessities. Essential goods, like new shoes and undies, became non-essential. We were instructed to limit outdoor exercise to once a day. Lockdown restricted travel only to and from essential work. The UK was told stay at home. Most of us did. We are being asked tomorrow to observe a minute’s silence at 12 midday and take part in a national doorstep vigil at 8.00pm to reflect on the impact of the epidemic and the 125,000 people in the UK who died after testing positive for Covid-19.

Covid Watch 137: Almost no new Covid cases in South West Shropshire but it is not time to party yet

The local news is good. South West Shropshire is coming close to Covid free. Shropshire and Telford cases of Covid-19 are now low. In the week to 15 March, there were fewer than three coronavirus cases identified in each of the Ludlow, Bishop’s Castle, Cleobury, Church Stretton and Craven Arms areas. Across the Channel, it is not so comfortable, with new lockdowns announced in France and Poland. Cases are rising in north Herefordshire though they are not yet at a high level.

Patients are being discharged from Shropshire hospitals into family homes and care homes with Covid. While it is to be expected that patients are transferred when their treatment has ended, what is not acceptable is that the families and care homes are not always told whether discharge patients are Covid positive. This goes counter to the public health messages we hear every day. Lax practice by Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital Trust has led to Covid spreading. After councillors Tracey Huffer and Heather Kidd raised the issue in local media, county health chiefs pledged to review current practices and protocols. They said health chiefs need to ensure that the discharge practices at the county’s hospitals do not risk spreading Covid into the families and care homes.

NHS pay rise of 1% is too little to reward the heroes of our nation says Tracey Huffer

We have stood on the streets and applauded our front line NHS staff. We have wondered at their resilience in the biggest health crisis of our lifetimes. We have sympathised with them when they have fallen ill and with their families when they have died. The reward health service workers will get for their efforts is a measly 1% pay rise. Ministers seem not to recognise that those who have worked themselves into exhaustion, taken on extra shifts, faced danger every working day need a boost. With tax allowances frozen, the lowest paid staff and frontline nurses should at least get the 2.1% pay rise they were promised.

Covid Watch 134: Good progress on vaccination in Ludlow and Shropshire for those over 65

Two good news stories this weekend. Infection rates in Shropshire, Telford & Wrekin and across England have fallen rapidly. There were seven cases in Ludlow in the seven days to 28 February, down for a peak of 30 cases a week a few weeks before. Vaccination rates are increasing with 95% of Ludlow residents over 65 years of age now vaccinated. Restrictions haven’t been lifted and our behaviour can’t change but we are at last looking towards the end of rules that have kept some people largely confined to their homes for a year.

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