Update from Steve Maddern, Director of Public Health
With more freedom comes more responsibility. While the legal COVID-19 restrictions were lifted across the country this week, it’s important to remember that the pandemic is not over.
Capacity limits have been lifted for large events including festivals and concerts, as well as for weddings and funerals. There is also now no limit on the number of people you can meet indoors or outdoors.
However, cases of COVID-19 are again rising at a rapid rate across the country, so it’s extremely important that you continue to follow the recommended guidance to keep yourself and others safe. You should:
Wear face coverings in crowded and enclosed areas. This is recommended and expected
Self-isolate and test if you have COVID symptoms or if you have been asked to by Test and Trace
Meet in well-ventilated spaces where possible
Wash your hands with soap and water or use hand sanitiser throughout the day
With schools breaking up for the summer this week it’s also important that everyone regularly tests themselves to help prevent the spread of the virus.
While case rates continue to rise across all demographics, the increase in cases in people between the ages of 15 and 24, is particularly concerning, with the case rate for people in this age group now 1513.2 per 100,000.
All residents aged over 18 are now eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine, it’s important young people consider the vaccine and book their vaccine appointment as soon as possible or look out for our drop-in sessions and COVID-19 vaccination bus. Vaccination will help to protect ourselves and others, and will allow us to enjoy getting back to a new normal, living alongside COVID-19, while being safe.
The publication of todays' data by Public Health England has been delayed. The figures above represent yesterday's published figures.
From 12-18 July, there were 1,094 new COVID-19 cases in Swindon, up from 626 the previous week.
As of yesterday (22 July), the COVID-19 case rate in Swindon was 491 per 100k, up from 281 last Friday. The South West average was 525 per 100k and 530 per 100k for England.
Sadly, one resident has died within 28 days of taking a positive test.
Latest vaccine data
The publication of todays' data by Public Health England has been delayed. The figures above represent yesterdays published figures.
A further 2,727 residents had their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine this week, bringing the total number of people aged 18 and over vaccinated with the first dose to 158,569 (82.9%).
A total of 3,055 residents had their second dose this week, bringing the total number of Swindon residents aged 18 and over who are fully vaccinated to 114,549 (59.9%).
COVID-19 reopening anxiety
With coronavirus restrictions lifting earlier this week, you might be feeling a bit anxious or nervous, but this is to be expected. If you’re feeling more stressed throughout this time, visit the NHS website for 11 tips to help you cope with anxiety related to coming out of lockdown.
Important information about your waste and recycling collections
We’ve taken the difficult decision to change the frequency of our recycling box collection service due to a combination of staff shortages and the recent rapid rise in the number of people needing to self-isolate when alerted by the NHS COVID-19 app.
This is a situation which is affecting a number of councils and businesses across the country and has been compounded by the current UK-wide shortage of HGV drivers meaning we are unable to recruit agency drivers to replace our own staff who currently cannot work.
We would like to assure residents that all our other waste and recycling services (i.e. black wheelie bin, blue bag, plastic recycling, food waste, garden waste and clinical waste collections) are continuing to run as normal.
Up to this point, our hard-working and dedicated team have kept recycling collection services fully operational since the first lockdown in March 2020 with the exception of a short (two week) pause on the garden waste collection service. However, in the current exceptional circumstances, we have had to switch to a temporary four-weekly recycling box collection.
Find out when your next recycling box collection will be here
From 27 July the HWRC will be open until 8pm every Tuesday and Thursday evening for pre-booked appointments. These evening appointments will be available to book from Saturday (24 July) here
Ditch the car and give cycling a go
Swindon Travel Choices will be bringing its bike roadshow to South Marston Recreation Ground tomorrow (24 July). There's loads of reasons to pop along including, free bike checks, free bike security marking and free maps and guides. Want to know what else you can do to reduce your impact on the environment? Check the Be the Change website.
Consultation open for future of GWR Park
In May, over 400 of residents responded to our online survey to tell us why GWR Park is important and what you want to see change. Now, a draft plan has been prepared which sets out how the park could be managed in the future including:
Potential new facilities such as a food kiosk or café
New activities including yoga or cricket
What the park will be officially called - GWR Park or Faringdon Road Park
We want to know your views on this plan. Please go to www.swindon.gov.uk/gwrparksurvey before July 30 to see how people responded and view the draft plan before completing our short survey about the future vision.
This project has been made possible by the Heritage Action Zone, through which the Council is being supported by Historic England to deliver a range of projects aimed at revitalising the Railway Village.
Volunteers give Faringdon Road planters new lease of life
An enthusiastic team of volunteers have spruced up Swindon’s Heritage Acton Zone.
Members of Swindon Borough Council’s Housing team were joined by volunteers from the Mechanic’s Institution Trust, property maintenance company Quicksons and South Swindon Parish Council before weeding and replanting the brick street planters along Faringdon Road.
The plants were provided by Quicksons who carry out the maintenance of the Railway Village cottages. And to lift the spirits, everyone warmed up afterwards with coffee and cake.
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