Last Updated 13:06pm, 22 July 2021
This page contains information, which we published in the PEN newsletter, but which does not fit into other parts of this website or is relevant to all sectors.
COVID-19 Response: Summer 2021
The government has published the ‘Moving to Step 4 of the roadmap’ document. This sets out the essential actions that everybody should take to protect themselves and others while prevalence is high, as we transition towards learning to live with COVID-19.
In care homes, the government will lift restrictions that limit each resident to five named visitors. Specific guidance will advise how visits should be conducted to keep care homes safe whilst also making visits as normal as possible. Care homes will need to retain infection prevention and control measures essential to protecting residents from the risk of infection.
COVID-19: Management of staff and exposed patients and residents in health and social care settings
The government recently announced that from Monday 19 July 2021, double vaccinated frontline NHS and social care staff in England who have been told to self-isolate will be permitted to attend work in exceptional circumstances and instead undertake daily testing.
The following guidance on COVID-19: management of staff and exposed patients or residents in health and social care settings has been updated.
Whether staff have been pinged by the COVID-19 app or contacted by NHS Test and Trace, self-isolation is the default position given that close contact with a COVID-19 positive person has taken place. When contacted by NHS Test and Trace via phone self-isolation is legally enforceable.
Care providers should undertake a risk assessment and be mindful of their health and safety responsibilities when making decisions about staff returning to work from self-isolation. This should only be considered in extremis situations to maintain continuity of care and ensure the health, safety and wellbeing of service users.
Self-isolation to be eased for fully vaccinated adults in step 4
- The NHS COVID-19 app will update in August in line with the new guidance on self-isolation for close contacts.
- Young people and double vaccinated individuals identified as close contacts will continue to be advised to take a PCR test, to detect the virus and variants of concern.
- Anyone who tests positive following the PCR test will still be legally required to self-isolate, irrespective of their vaccination status.
Digital COVID-19 passport scam
The latest coronavirus scam is currently circulating on social media asking people for payment in exchange for a ‘coronavirus digital passport’.
The email claims to come from the NHS and says it will “allow you to travel safely and freely around the world without having to self-isolate” if you’ve had a COVID-19 vaccine or have recently recovered from the virus.
The email states “who is eligible” and asks people to click a button at the bottom of the email to access their “digital passport.” The link will then take you to a fake NHS website, where it will ask for personal information and payment details towards ‘an admin fee’.
What to do?
- If you receive this email please forward it onto PISHING.GOV.UK.
- If you have disclosed bank account details you should contact your bank immediately and notify action fraud.
Ventilation of indoor spaces guidance
Research has shown that good ventilation of indoor spaces is one of the most effective things we can all do the prevent the spread of coronavirus.
Public Health England COVID-19 action card
This document provides definitions and what actions to take in a COVID-19 situation.
New award to recognise exceptional practice in adult social care workforce
The exceptional efforts of the social care workforce will be recognised through a new award launched by the Chief Nurse for Adult Social Care.
The award will mirror the Chief Nursing Officer Ruth May’s awards for the NHS, and aim to celebrate nurses and care workers in adult social care who go above and beyond their everyday roles to provide excellent care, leadership and inspiration.
The award will not be limited to registered nurses and will be extended to include all carers across all care settings, not only care homes.
Gold and silver awards will recognise outstanding contributions to adult social care in line with NHS workforce awards
Limit on mourners at funerals to be removed
Families and friends will shortly be able to gather to pay their respects to loved ones in greater numbers.
Under current restrictions funerals can go ahead with up to 30 people attending, but the government has announced that this legal limit on the number of mourners will be removed as part of step three of the roadmap to take place from Monday 17 May at the earliest.
Instead, the number of people who can attend a funeral will be determined by how many people the venue, such as the relevant place of worship or funeral home, can safely accommodate with social distancing. This includes both indoor and outdoor venues. Capacities of venues will vary, but many will allow significantly more than 30 people to attend.
Limits for other life or commemorative events, such as weddings and wakes, are expected to remain at step three as set out in the government’s roadmap.
Changes to NHS parking pass
The NHS COVID parking passes were originally intended for temporary use during the COVID-19 emergency response period by NHS staff members, health or social care workers, or NHS Volunteer Responders. Following the publication of the Government’s roadmap for the lifting of COVID-19 restrictions, from Monday 21 June we will no longer accept NHS COVID parking pass in our Devon County Council car parks, and on street parking in resident only spaces, limited waiting spaces and on street pay & display spaces.
After Thursday 21 June 2021 we will enforce against cars we find displaying them in spaces they can no longer use.
Support groups permitted
Support groups that have to be delivered in person can continue with up to 15 participants where formally organised to provide mutual aid, therapy or any other form of support but they must take place at a premises other than a private home.
Where a group includes someone covered by an exception (for example, someone who is working or volunteering), they are not generally counted as part of the gatherings limit. This means, for example a tradesperson can go into a household without breaching the limit if they are there for work, and the officiant at a wedding would not count towards the limit.
Please read the section on ‘Where and when you can meet in larger groups’ listed under the subheading ‘Support and Childcare bubbles‘ within the ‘National lockdown: Stay at Home’ guidance.
Coronavirus local dashboard and data
Report on confirmed cases and deaths at a district level.
NHS and public health video
The CCG’s presents a new video every Friday providing the latest coronavirus information and advice.
National guidance on shielding and protecting extremely vulnerable people
COVID-19: letter to clinically extremely vulnerable people
Reference-only version of letter from the government to people who are clinically extremely vulnerable.
Letter on extension of CEV cohort including advice on shielding and vaccination.
Councils ready to support most clinically vulnerable
Devon County Council and the District Councils in Devon are ready to support residents who are identified as being ‘clinically extremely vulnerable’.
Information about the range of support available to people identified as being clinically extremely vulnerable is published on our website.
Important information - shielding clients
The attached letter (26 May) contains guidance and information on shielding clients during COVID-19. This letter is an addition to an email sent out from DCC’s Procurement Team on 15 May 2020 and addresses providers’ comments and queries.
New appeal to car sharers and people in the workplace
Case numbers are coming down, but we’re still seeing positive cases of Coronavirus in workplaces. This has prompted a fresh appeal from Steve Brown, Director of Public Health Devon, asking people at work, and car sharers in particular, to take extra precautions.
One in three people don’t have any symptoms of coronavirus and it can easily spread in the small enclosed space of a vehicle. So avoid car sharing with those outside your household or support bubble. Think twice before getting a lift to work with colleagues or taking a friend or relative grocery shopping or to a medical appointment, unless they are part of your household or support bubble.
If you have to car share, please follow these simple steps to reduce the risk of spreading the virus:
😷 Everyone should wear face coverings
↔️ Sit as far apart as possible
♀ Share with the same small group of people each time
💨 Open windows for ventilation
Wash or sanitise your hands before and after your journey.
Clean the car between journeys, paying attention to touch points such as door handles.
Car sharing advice poster
Devon County Council has produced a simple poster with car-sharing advice for display in workplaces and elsewhere. It reminds any car-sharers to: wear face coverings, share only with the same small group, keep windows open, wash or sanitise hands before and after journeys and clean the car after journeys, including internal and external handles.
Torbay and South Devon Speech & Language Therapy Referrals
Hospital discharge assessments and self-funders
New hospital discharge service guidance came into effect from 1 September 2020. Social care needs assessments and NHS Continuing Healthcare assessments of eligibility therefore recommenced on 1 September 2020.
People who were government-funded under previous guidance must be reassessed and transferred to the new funding arrangements by 31 March 2021. This means that individuals who are self-funding are likely to be contacting providers from now on regarding their future payments and invoicing.
Proactive media support for providers
If any provider has a story to tell in their press and social media and wants support to reach their chosen audience then DCC and NHS Devon will do our best to help. Whether it’s good practice you wish to share, a celebration of success or even a statement to counteract misinformation spread by others, then if you send us your ideas we will see what we can do to support you in telling your story. Please send ideas to Jean Almond, and if your ideas are contained in a newsletter then you can send her the publication, identifying which issue you think is worthy of media attention. Likewise, if you are using social media and think your posts could be shared more widely always remember to tag them with the relevant DCC ‘handle’: Twitter – @DevonCC, Facebook – @OfficialDevonCC, Instagram – @devoncountycouncil, LinkedIn – @devon-county-council. The #WeAreDevon can also be added to posts. Jean’s email address for good new story suggestions is: firstname.lastname@example.org
Letter to unpaid carers
We recognise that this is a stressful and uncertain time for carers, so we have written this letter to them (24 March) to outline the support that is available to help them to continue caring during the current coronavirus situation.
Letter to adult social care service users
On 20 March 2020 Devon County Council has written to people who receive adult social care support commissioned by the Council.
It is intended to let service users know that their usual service is likely to be disrupted. It also contains advice on how they can make visits easier for care assistants. We are sharing it with providers so that you know what we have told the people you visit. You may also want to use the information to help manage service users expectations.
Safeguarding Adults – Provider Forum Response
During the COVID-19 crisis, it is particularly important to safeguard adults with care and support needs. It is suggested that adults with care and support needs may be more vulnerable to abuse and neglect by others during this time from those seeking to exploit disadvantages due to age, disability, mental or physical impairment or illness. This is a time when we must all be extra vigilant and try to pick up any early signs that something isn’t right.
The Coronavirus Act
The Coronavirus Act (2020) and associated Care Act easements: guidance for local authorities (see Annex D) do not alter or affect the safeguarding protections within the Care Act (2014).
Safeguarding Adult Concerns
You must continue to raise safeguarding adults concerns in the usual way, by either contacting Care Direct 0345 155 1007 or by completing a safeguarding adult referral accessed via the Devon Safeguarding Adult Partnership website.
Immediate Protection Planning
During Covid-19 it is especially important that you are clear about the risks, actions taken to manage immediate risks. That these actions are clearly recorded, evidencing the action you have taken to support immediate protection planning.
Undertaking Safeguarding Enquiries
Safeguarding adult enquiries and whole service safeguarding enquiries will continue to take place as per due process. Most meetings, due to COVID 19 social distancing measures, are likely to be held via teleconference. In high risk cases, it is likely to be necessary to undertake essential / non deferrable face to face visits to the client/provider. In exploring the need to undertake essential / non deferrable visit, the safeguarding adult enquiry lead will refer to DCC guidance about essential and non-deferrable home visits.
Staying safe online during the COVID-19 pandemic
The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) has published a range of useful materials that aim to help us all to protect ourselves from cyber threats including a Top Tips for staff on staying safe online infographic, a free eLearning module, access to the Cyber Protect team and the Action Fraud 24/7 reporting service.
Find out more at the NCSC website and report incidents to the Action Fraud national cyber crime reporting centre
Free access to Microsoft Teams using NHSmail
In order to access online support from the NHS, providers must have an NHSmail account. The usual requirements for such accounts have been relaxed by NHS Digital and providers can have a recognised secure email system which will allow patient identifiable data to be shared with healthcare services, plus access to Microsoft Teams for video-conferencing and related activities.
The NHSmail account request process, including support with applications, is detailed on the Digital Social Care website.