From this coming Monday (29 March) we will be able to meet outdoors again as gatherings of six people or two households will be allowed, along with the return of some outdoor sports activities, as part of the government’s roadmap out of lockdown
However, the message remains to ‘act like you have it’ to help keep numbers down and ensure we can progress lockdown further.
COVID-19 hasn’t gone away and increased social contact means more opportunities for the virus to spread. Remember that some restrictions remain in place and we should try to avoid busy areas wherever possible when meeting friends and family.
Keep West Sussex Safe Podcast – Clare Lehman
Care homes are now open for visitors but there are steps you need to take to protect yourself and those around you.
Listen to our latest podcast with Dr Claire Lehman, Consultant in Public Health at WSCC, to find out how to visit your loved ones safely.
In the seven days to Saturday 20 March there were 271 new cases. In cases among those aged 60+ there were 39 new cases.
You can get information on the infection rates in your area by visiting our West Sussex COVID-19 Data Dashboard.
Remember, if you think you may have any coronavirus symptoms, isolate immediately and book a test by visiting our website, or by calling 119 to get an appointment to visit a test site.
Community testing for people without symptoms of coronavirus.
If you can’t work from home during coronavirus restrictions, it’s a good idea to have a regular test. The Symptom-free Community Testing programme in Sussex is available to everyone living and working across Brighton & Hove, East Sussex and West Sussex.
It aims to rapidly identify people who have COVID-19 but no symptoms who could be passing it on to others without knowing. Identifying people early will help break the chains of transmission, and so return life to normal as quickly as possible.
Anyone who is eligible is encouraged to book a test twice a week, with three days between tests. For details on how to book a test visit our website
Businesses: Don’t miss the deadline to register for the government’s testing scheme. The cut-off is next Wednesday (31 March). More details can be found on our website.
Help us to spread the message
Could you help us spread the message? We have shared the images we use for the Keep West Sussex Safe campaign on our website. Please feel free to download and share them with your friends, family and people in your community who might not otherwise see these important messages.
Thank you for your support and let’s continue to do all we can. Stop the spread of coronavirus. Act like you have it. #KeepWestSussexSafe
More than 880,000 COVID-19 vaccinations have been given to people across Sussex so far – but the NHS is appealing to people in the priority groups who haven’t had theirs to book an appointment as soon as possible.
You can book a vaccine appointment now if you are aged 50 or over, if you are at high risk (clinically extremely vulnerable) or moderate risk (clinically vulnerable) from coronavirus, if you have a learning disability, live or work in a care home, or are an unpaid carer.
You can book your vaccination appointment at one of the NHS centres by going online or by calling 119.
You can also have your vaccine at your GP led local vaccination service, and you will be contacted by their team to arrange an appointment or you can contact the them now directly.
There are now around 120,000 people across the whole of Sussex in the priority groups who are yet to have their vaccination and the NHS is keen to reach as many of those as possible to make sure they receive this vital protection.
This also covers health and social care staff, and we are encouraging any employed staff who are eligible to come forward for your vaccination as soon as possible if you are yet to receive your first dose. Please speak to your employer or visit the Sussex Health & Care Partnership website to find out more.
Vaccination services are also now starting to contact people who are due for their second dose.
People have to return to the place where they received their first dose; this is for patient safety and to ensure people receive the same type of vaccine for the second dose.
If you received your first dose at a GP led local vaccination service, you will be contacted by the team to arrange your appointment for 12 weeks from your first vaccination.
If you had your first dose at one of the pharmacy led services, such as in Midhurst or a vaccination centre such as Chichester, you should have been given a date for your second appointment at the time of booking your first vaccination.
It is really important to receive both doses and ensure you get the maximum protection from these vaccinations.
Check Before You Share
This week a new campaign has also started to counter false information about the COVID-19 vaccine.
When false information is shared, it can take on a life of its own and have serious consequences.
The new campaign from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport aims to tackle this and encourage people to think twice about the information they are sharing. It provides simple tips to help to empower communities with the resources they need to help stop the spread of misinformation.
Help us to share the message – there are videos, animations and quotes encouraging people to fact-check information before sharing online.
The NHS is the best source of info about the COVID-19 vaccine.
Continue to follow government guidance after vaccination
Whilst having the full course of the vaccine will reduce the chance of people suffering from COVID-19, they may still be at risk of catching it and spreading it to other people. Therefore, it is important that everyone is reminded to continue to follow current government guidance to stay safe.
You can find out more information about the local vaccination programme by visiting the Sussex Health & Care Partnership website.
A Day to Reflect and Remember
This week Councillor Paul Marshall, leader of West Sussex County Council, shared his own personal message expressing his condolences to those who have lost loved ones to COVID-19 and thanking frontline workers who have kept essential services running.
Cllr Marshall joined those across the county who paused for a minute’s silence on the National Day of Reflection on Tuesday 23 March, which marked one year since the introduction of coronavirus restrictions.
He said: “Amid the sadness we have seen so many instances of compassion and kindness. Across the country and our county, we’ve worked together, while we have had to stay apart, to protect the vulnerable and prevent the spread of the virus.”
You can read the leader’s full message on our website.>
Register now to vote in May
Local elections will take place on 6 May for West Sussex County Councillors and the next Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner. In some areas, district and borough councillors and town and parish councillors are also being elected.
Residents must be registered to vote several weeks ahead of election day on Thursday 6 May. For anyone not already on the electoral register, the deadline to apply to register to vote is midnight on Monday 19 April.
Registering is easy and takes just five minutes online. It is particularly important for anyone who has recently turned 18 or has moved home to act to ensure they are registered to vote.
We will make sure that polling stations are safe to use and that you can be confident in the arrangements for voting in person, but, as part of the county council’s current drive to help Keep West Sussex Safe, residents are being encouraged to consider postal voting, rather than travelling to attend polling stations, to help stop the spread of coronavirus.
Residents can apply for a postal vote by visiting the Electoral Commission website to download, print and fill in the postal vote application form. The deadline to apply for a postal vote is 5pm on Tuesday 20 April. Postal votes can be temporary for these elections only and will be sent out in the run up to election day, with clear instructions on how to return them.
Have your say on important proposals
Our new Your Voice consultation site is now up and running and we want to hear your views on key projects and proposals.
1. Early Help Redesign
Early Help services provide support to children and families facing any number of challenging circumstances, working to ensure every child has a safe environment in which to thrive. A series of changes are being proposed to the service, with a consultation running until 17th May. More information on the proposals, including video explanations and details of how you can take part, are on the Early Help Redesign project webpage.
2. Post-16 Transport Policy Statement 2021/22
Calling all sixth-form age students, your families and friends! We want to hear your views on a transport policy that outlines the support available to help sixth-form age students and those aged 19 and over who have an Education Health and Care Plan to get to school or college. Have your say on the Post-16 Transport Policy Statement for 2021/22 before it is finalised later this year. The closing date for the consultation is Sunday 25th April 2021.
We’d like to hear your views on ideas to improve the walking, cycling and transport networks around Shoreham. The proposals are part of the government’s Active Travel Fund. They focus on Upper Shoreham Road, Middle Road and Eastern Avenue and include things like segregated cycleways, discouraging rat-run traffic and signalised crossing. Take part in this pre-consultation engagement, which is being extended to Sunday 28 March to allow for any last-minute comments.
‘Book to Recycle’ trial starts Monday
So if you’re thinking of visiting one of these sites over the Easter Weekend now is the time to secure your slot.
Slots can be booked up to 14 days in advance but must be booked the day before you plan to visit.
You can make one trip each week (Monday-Sunday) per household and we would ask that you continue using a site local to you rather than traveling further afield.
The scheme is designed to allow you to safely dispose of your recycling and waste without enduring long waiting times, and will also reduce disruption to local residents, businesses and the highway network.
Find the opening dates and times of your local site. You can book your slot or find out more below.
Keep the kids entertained over Easter
Fear not, as West Sussex Libraries, teaming up with UK Harvest, will bring you a wealth of interactive activities to keep your children (and you) amused over the break.
The focus of the activities are all around food and there are four themes:
- Growing – Tuesday 6 April
- Fun with food – Thursday 8 April
- Fit & Strong – Tuesday 13 April
- Cooking and ingredients – Thursday 15 April
All the activities are being done virtually and are available online and on the Family Corner Facebook page.
For anyone who doesn’t have access to a computer, local libraries will have all the activities available, bagged-up and ready to collect from the door.
Act F.A.S.T. when stroke strikes
- Face – has their face fallen on one side? Can they smile?
- Arms – can they raise both arms and keep them there?
- Speech – is their speech slurred?
- Time to call 999 if you see any single one of these signs of a stroke
By recognising these signs and acting F.A.S.T. should any single one of these signs occur, lives can be saved and stroke sufferers can be given their best chance at recovery as well as a likely reduction in permanent disability.
The NHS has put in place a range of measures to ensure that people can be treated safely during the pandemic. So, if you see any single sign of a stroke, don’t hesitate – just call 999.
Find out more on the NHS website.
We can all act to help prevent a stroke by eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, and avoiding smoking and drinking too much alcohol. If you know you have high blood pressure, have been found to have an irregular pulse or need treatment for cholesterol, please follow the advice you have been given by your GP practice to manage these risk factors.
Wellbeing advisors, based in the local Wellbeing teams, can help to address these lifestyle issues.