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COVID-19 update

In response to COVID-19, we want to reassure you that all agencies in Dorset and nationally are working together to take all the necessary steps to contain and delay the spread of the virus and to ensure we are well prepared for increases in cases across Dorset. We know that this is a worrying and unsettling time and we are doing everything we can to keep families and communities safe.

Councils, NHS services, police, fire and voluntary and community sector organisations are all working extremely hard to make sure we can deliver our essential services and support the most vulnerable in our communities.

Please visit our website to keep up to date with council service changes/closures, and other important and useful information.
Visit www.bcpcouncil.gov.uk/covid19

National picture

We are now in the delay phase of the national COVID strategy. This week the Prime Minister announced that all schools would close from Friday 20 March until further notice except for children of key workers and vulnerable children. Exams in May and June have also been cancelled.

The government is going to be increasing the capacity for testing for COVID-19. It is anticipated this expansion will allow for the testing of key staff including frontline health and social care workers.

The government also announced a range of measures to help to protect businesses including a £330 billion package of loans and guarantees, mortgage payment holidays and relaxing rules so pubs and restaurants can operate as takeaways. 
Keep up to date at www.bcpcouncil.gov.uk/covid19

School closures

In response to the Prime Minister's announcement that schools will now be closed for most children, teachers have been working on packs and resources for children to use at home. Schools are also looking at ways of communicating online with parents while they are closed.  

We know that many people are concerned about the impact of coronavirus on children who are eligible for free school meals. The government has provided guidance for schools on how they can support vulnerable families.

Children will also be concerned and worried about a change in their routine. BBC Newsround has some really good information about coronavirus you can share including video clips, articles and frequently asked questions. 
Guidance for parents and carers on school closures

Keeping well

It’s really important you look after yourself and your community by following government advice.

If you have symptoms of coronavirus - which is a new, continuous cough and/or a high fever - and you live alone you should self-isolate for 7 days. If you live in a household with others you should all self-isolate for 14 days. The government’s stay at home guidance sets out what this means and what you need to do.

It’s important when staying at home to look after your mental and emotional wellbeing as well as physical symptoms. Dorset Mind has some really good information on staying well.

LiveWell Dorset has also launched a five-ways to wellbeing virtual challenge which you can do at home.

What is social distancing?

The government has introduced social distancing to reduce the transmission of COVID-19 and to protect vulnerable people as much as possible.

Those who are at an increased risk of severe illness from coronavirus should be strict in following the measures.This includes:
  • Those over the age of 70
  • People under the age of 70 with an underlying health condition (i.e. anyone who is advised to have an adult flu vaccination on medical grounds)
  • Those who are pregnant
Read more about social distancing

Hospital services

NHS services are likely to come under intense pressure as the coronavirus spreads, and we need to ensure that we have as many beds available as possible to care for patients with severe respiratory problems when the number of infections peaks. 
 
Therefore, in line with well-established plans for situations like this, every hospital in England has now been asked to suspend all non-urgent elective operations from 15 April for at least three months, with some other procedures likely to be rescheduled before then so we can train our staff and adapt certain areas.  
 
Urgent and emergency cases and cancer treatments will be carrying on as normal, but we know many people waiting for treatment will be disappointed or worried, hospitals will be contacting everyone affected as soon as possible.

Community response

We have seen some amazing examples of community spirit and people offering their help and support to those in need.

We have been working closely with the community and voluntary sector to launch a Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole ‘Together We Can’ community response scheme. The aim is to help and support vulnerable people during the coronavirus outbreak and ensure it is carried out in a safe manner.
 
If you would like to get involved and volunteer in the community response please get in touch.
Want to help? Find out more

Information everywhere!

The situation with coronavirus is constantly changing and it can be hard to keep up with the latest advice. Always use trusted sources of information including gov.uk/coronavirus and nhs.uk/coronavirus.

You can also sign up for alerts on the government site so that you know when new guidance has been added or updated.
Sign up for government alerts
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