Update from Steve Maddern, Director of Public Health
Now more than ever we appreciate how much we depend on our NHS and the Great Western Hospital (GWH) to support our 24/7 health needs – it’s more than likely you or someone you know, will have benefitted from the life-saving and enhancing services it provides.
The situation remains challenging for the GWH treating a high number of COVID-19 patients, while staff also do everything they can to meet all our existing treatment and healthcare needs at this time of year.
Across the UK, over 38,000 people are currently in hospital with coronavirus. That’s up 4.8 per cent from last week.
Every unnecessary interaction you have could be the link in a chain of transmission which has a vulnerable person at the end. We also know there’s a more transmissible (spreadable) variant of the virus present across the UK that may be up to 70 per cent more transmissible than the original variant.
One in three people who have the virus have no symptoms, so you could be spreading it without knowing it. That’s why we must continue to follow the ‘Stay at home’ national lockdown rules in place.
We still have weeks to go before vaccines will start reducing COVID deaths and, some weeks later, the number of people being hospitalised.
Please continue to play your part: stay at home to protect the NHS and save lives.
Latest case rate data for Swindon
Swindon has seen 648 new COVID-19 cases in the last seven days, down from 916 new cases last Friday (15 January).
Swindon's current seven-day rolling average case rate is 291.6 per 100,000, down from 412.3 per 100,000 last Friday (15 January). The national case rate is 447.3 per 100,000 and 305.5 per 100,000 in the South West.
This week, 29 people have sadly passed away within 28 days of a positive test for COVID-19 bringing the total number of deaths in Swindon to 185.
Bending the rules costs lives
One in three people with coronavirus don’t have any symptoms but can still pass it on. That’s why it’s so important that we all follow the guidelines to make sure we don’t spread COVID to the ones we love and to our wider community.
If you’re leaving the house this weekend to do some essential shopping, exercise or travelling for work, make sure you’re clear on what you can and can’t do.
The Government also announced this week that a new £800 fine will be introduced for those attending house parties, which will double for each repeat offence to a maximum of £6,400.
These fines will apply to those who attend illegal gatherings of more than 15 people in homes. Attending events like this poses a significant threat to our community, not only to those in attendance, but also to the police officers who shut down these events.
Wearing a face covering is an important tool in preventing the spread of coronavirus in our community, but using and storing it properly is essential to ensuring it is as effective as possible.
With the new variant of COVID-19 between 50 and 70 per cent more transmissible, it’s up to all of us to do everything we can to limit the spread of coronavirus in Swindon. If you’re able to wear a mask, make sure you’re wearing it correctly. Click here for more guidance.
While NHS staff may act like heroes, they are not invincible.
Dr William McCrea is a Consultant Cardiologist at the Great Western Hospital. As well as looking after patients with COVID-19, Dr McCrea also experienced the terrifying consequences of catching the virus when he was treated for it himself last year. His message now is that we must do all we can to prevent spreading it to those we love.
It's crucial we all do our bit to protect our community and our hospital, which is still under an incredible amount of pressure. Let’s do it for our GWH.
"It feels strange to me how in some parts of the country we've gone from clapping for keyworkers in the spring, to denying COVID is a real thing in the winter."
Last week, Steve Maddern and Kevin McNamara, Chief Executive of Great Western Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, were live to answer your COVID-19 questions. Click on the video above to hear Kevin address those who deny the seriousness of the situation in our hospital.
You have to meet certain eligibility rules to form a support or childcare bubble.
You can only form a support bubble with another household of any size if you meet these eligibility rules.
You are allowed to leave your home to visit your support bubble (and to stay overnight with them). However, you should try to form a support bubble with a household who live locally to you.
If you live in a household with anyone aged under 14, you can form a childcare bubble. This allows friends or family from one other household to provide informal childcare. You must not meet socially with your childcare bubble, and must avoid seeing members of your childcare and support bubbles at the same time.
Children are allowed to move between their parents households if they no longer live together.
You can read the full guidance for forming a support bubble here and read the full guidance for forming a childcare bubble here.
COVID-19 hasn’t just affected us physically, it’s also having a huge impact on our mental wellbeing too. In fact, in a recent survey, almost half of adults felt that the pandemic had impacted negatively on their mental health and wellbeing.
If you’re feeling stressed at the moment, support is available. By answering five quick questions, Every Mind Matters will get you started with a free Mind Plan, including a personalised action plan with practical tips to help you deal with stress and anxiety and help you feel more in control. Visit the NHS Every Mind Matters website.