National lockdown: Where Swindon goes from here View in browser
Update from Steve Maddern, Director of Public Health

The next four weeks will be challenging for all of us, as we live with the new national restrictions now in force in England until 2 December. But the Government’s decision to introduce them, agreed by Parliament, was informed by clear evidence that hospitals across the region were projected to run out of capacity in a matter of weeks.

As of yesterday (5 Nov), Swindon’s case rate was 177.3 cases per 100,000, which is now above the average for the South West region of 153.3 per 100,000 but below the 236.6 per 100,000 case rate for England as a whole. In the last seven days, there have been 394 new positive cases in Swindon.

It is more important than ever that we all take steps to reduce the spread of infection in the community to save lives and protect the NHS.

Early next week we will be contacting Swindon residents who are considered to be ‘clinically extremely vulnerable’. This group includes those with reduced immune systems, for example due to organ transplants, or those with specific cancers or severe respiratory conditions, such as cystic fibrosis. If you are in this group, you will previously have received a letter from the NHS or from your GP telling you this. You may have been advised to shield in the past. Clinically extremely vulnerable residents should have received a letter from the Government this week advising on what you need to do during lockdown. A letter from the Council next week will explain the local help and support on offer to you.

I would like to stress that during these national restrictions, the Government is supporting the NHS to safely carry out urgent and non-urgent services. It is vital that anyone who thinks they need any kind of medical care comes forward and seeks help.

If there is anyone in your household with possible or confirmed coronavirus (COVID-19) infection: this is what you need to do.

Thank you for playing your part to protect yourself, your loved ones and the thousands of vulnerable and at-risk residents across our community.

What are the new rules?

What can and can’t I do during lockdown? Find answers here.

Need mental health and wellbeing support? Find out more here.

Update on council services

Here’s the status of council services during lockdown:

Household Waste Recycling Centre: Will remain open for pre-booked visits. All waste and recycling collections will continue as normal but services may need to be prioritised should resources be affected.

Libraries: Will remain open to provide access to IT and digital services and for click-and-collect. Only West Swindon library will close. Several online library services - such as online story times, eBooks, eMagazines and eNewspapers - are also available and the Home Library Service will continue to run.

Public toilets: Town centre toilets will remain open, as will the toilets at Lydiard Park, Barbury Castle, Coate Water and Stanton Park.

Car parks: All council car parks will remain open.

Parks: People will continue to be able to visit council-run parks, as long as they adhere to the guidelines on socialising outdoors. At the Coate Water country park, the golf course will be closed as well as the play area and the Coate Water Miniature Railway. The cafés at both Coate Water and Lydiard Park will remain open for takeaway only.

The following venues are closed (or will remain closed if they are already):

  • STEAM Museum
  • Swindon Museum and Art Gallery

The Council's Customer Services desk will also remain closed.

Non-essential housing repairs for council tenants will temporarily cease, but emergency and urgent housing repairs will continue.

Check the Council’s website for the latest updates on services impacted by the national restrictions.

Support for people who need help

If you need support during the lockdown period, we are here to help.

Our Customer Services telephone number is 01793 445500. We're available to provide support from Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm, except Tuesdays when we close at 4pm.

If you wish, you can request a call back from someone who can talk to you about how to stay well and active at home.

Click here for a full breakdown of the support that is available locally.

Special guidance has been published for everyone in England who has been identified as clinically extremely vulnerable. If you are in this group, you will previously have received a letter from the NHS or from your GP telling you this.

For the full guidance on shielding and protecting people who are clinically extremely vulnerable from COVID-19, click here.

Update on COVID marshals

Our COVID marshals, with the support of Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs) from Wiltshire Police, went out on their first patrol over Halloween to help keep people safe. They patrolled areas in the town centre and Old Town to make sure the right safety measures were in place in pubs, restaurants and shops and offered advice to business owners as needed, which we’re pleased to say was followed very quickly.

Now that many venues won’t be operating as normal under national lockdown restrictions, our COVID marshals will be focussed on making sure shops, takeaways and restaurants which are providing takeaway services continue to have the correct measures in place.

    Extension of the furlough scheme

    Workers in Swindon will benefit from increased support with a five-month extension of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS), also known as furlough.

    Click here to find out more.

    Remembrance Sunday

    This year, the COVID-19 pandemic means we can't gather to honour Remembrance Sunday as we normally would. This Sunday (8 Nov), instead of attending any public gatherings, please help protect our most vulnerable residents by commemorating those who gave their lives, from the safety of your own home.

    There are many alternative ways of marking Remembrance Sunday this year:

    • If you wish to pay your respects at a grave or remembrance garden please ensure you are following the latest guidance. The 2020 Lydiard Park Field of Remembrance, located in the Walled Garden and organised by the Royal British Legion, will reopen on Sunday (8 Nov) from 11.15am to 4pm and from Monday (9 Nov) to Sunday, 22 November from 11am to 4pm. You can also leave a virtual tribute to our Armed Forces on the Royal British Legion website.
    • In London, the Cenotaph will be closed to the public. However, a Remembrance service will be broadcast nationwide for those who wish to remember the fallen.
    • If you’d like to donate or show your support to our Armed Forces, you can donate to the Royal British Legion online, via phone or by post to receive a poppy poster, which you can proudly display in a window at home. Donations can be made here.

    Many will be disappointed that we cannot honour our Armed Forces in the way we normally would but it’s crucial we do all we can to protect our community and our most vulnerable residents, including our veterans.

    NHS Volunteer Responders needed

    Following the introduction of new lockdown restrictions, NHS Volunteer Responders are needed.

    The NHS Volunteer Responders scheme is run by the NHS in England and delivered by Royal Voluntary Service and the GoodSAM app. It will continue until at least 31 March 2021. It supports clinically vulnerable people to keep well by staying at home and helps the NHS with tasks such as deliveries and directing patients.

    The scheme complements existing local volunteer networks and provides an additional ‘safety net’ to communities.

    Other news
    • Closure of Ermin Street: From Monday (9 Nov), Ermin Street will be closed to through traffic for three weeks to allow improvement work to be carried out as part of the White Hart junction scheme. This is necessary to widen the road to create more capacity. A signed diversion route via Swindon Road and Grange Drive will be in place throughout. This work will be undertaken between 8am and 6pm Monday to Friday.
    • £650,000 for rough sleepers: We are to receive £650,000 from the Government to provide secure accommodation for rough sleepers. The money will allow us to provide ‘move on’ accommodation for people sleeping rough, or at risk of sleeping rough. Read more here.
    • Road resurfacing: We will begin resurfacing a number of roads in North Swindon from Monday (9 Nov). Oakhurst Way, Lady Lane, Elstree Way and the Manor Farm roundabout will all be improved over the next three weeks. Access will be maintained to all local residents and bus companies will be amending their services. Click here for more information.

    Make sure you are following our social media channels to get the latest COVID-19 alerts as and when they happen.

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