Support for residents now advised to shield
Around 7,000 borough residents who have been newly advised by the NHS to shield until the end of March are being contacted by Dudley Council.
Letters were sent by the NHS to those affected with information on support available through the online national shielding support system www.gov.uk/coronavirus-shielding-support. This gives access to help, such as priority supermarket delivery slots and other wellbeing support.
The council is now following this up with information on the support available locally to those who need it.
This could include help to get essentials such as food and medicines, support for wellbeing and mental health, loneliness and isolation as well as financial advice.
For those who need support locally they can call the Pleased to Meet you team on 01384 812761, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call the COVID support line 0300 3302 152, Monday to Friday from 9.30am-12.30pm.
The expansion of the number of people being asked to shield until March 31 follows the development of a new national Covid-19 risk assessment model which takes into account factors other than just health.
These include age, sex, ethnicity, body mass index (BMI) and specific health conditions and treatments to estimate the risk of a person catching coronavirus and becoming seriously unwell.
Those who are being asked to shield will be prioritised for the vaccine.
National guidance states people in the group should stay at home as much as possible, only leave the house for exercise and health appointments, avoid busy areas and keep all contact with others outside of their household to a minimum.
Extremely vulnerable people can continue to meet members of their support bubble and receive care at home from social care and medical professionals.
Councillor Nicolas Barlow, cabinet member for health and adult social care, said:
It is incredibly difficult to ask residents to shield and we recognise the strain this has on individuals and their families.
But is vital those who are at additional risk of becoming seriously ill if they get coronavirus take all the necessary steps to stay at home.
Following on from the NHS letter, the council is contacting affected residents in this new group to detail the local support available from ourselves and our partners.
I would like to thank all our residents who continue to follow the Covid-19 guidance and are playing their part to keep themselves, their families and the community safe.
Those who are asked to shield are strongly advised to work from home, and if they cannot, they should not go into the workplace. The Government’s letter to those advised to shield can be used as evidence to not attend work.
People who are shielding are advised not to go to the shops or pharmacies, and instead should use delivery services if they can, or ask others to collect and drop off shopping for them, such as friends and family, local volunteers or by contacting NHS Volunteer Responders on 0808 186 3646. People can register via www.gov.uk/coronavirus-shielding-support to request priority access to supermarket delivery slots if required.