New service launches to help those isolating because of Covid

Care homes bosses in Norfolk have said they prepared to tackle a second wave of coronavirus and have had no problems...

Care homes bosses in Norfolk have said they prepared to tackle a second wave of coronavirus and have had no problems accessing testing kits or personal protective equipment. Picture: Getty Images - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

A service running seven days a week is being rolled out to expand support to help more Norfolk residents affected by Covid-19 isolate.

Previously only those who had tested positive for the virus would be contacted by teams from local councils with offers of support. 

The new service will expand welfare checks and support to include those people who have been asked to isolate by NHS Test and Trace because they are contacts of positive Covid cases.

Led by Norfolk’s public health team and run in partnership with the county’s seven city, district and borough councils, the service aims to further bolster efforts to control the virus by making sure people have support in place so they can stay at home and isolate safely.

It builds upon a number of other initiatives including comprehensive support packages for those who have tested positive, new targeted rapid testing in communities, and local contact tracing support for NHS Test and Trace.

Dr Louise Smith, director of public health for Norfolk. Picture: Norfolk County Council

Dr Louise Smith, director of public health for Norfolk. Picture: Norfolk County Council - Credit: Norfolk County Council

Dr Louise Smith, director of Norfolk’s public health, said: “We have for some time now been supporting those people who have tested positive for Covid-19 to isolate but we are now taking this one step further by offering co-ordinated and joined-up support to contacts of positive cases as well.

“This is yet another tool in our armoury to fight this disease. Controlling the spread by minimising every opportunity the virus has to transmit is key.

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“We’ll be working closely with our local council colleagues to roll this new service out to every area of the county as soon as possible.”

A pilot to test the new service was run in Great Yarmouth recently. The first district to roll out the service was King’s Lynn and West Norfolk.

Anyone identified by NHS Test and Trace as a contact will either receive a phone call or be visited by the new service with a wellbeing check and an offer of practical support, including access and signposting to hardship funds, food and help to get prescriptions and shopping. 

Teams will also be checking that those identified as being a contact of a positive Covid case know how to access testing if they develop symptoms and understand the current lockdown rules.

Stuart Dark, acting chairman of Norfolk County Council's children's services committee. Photo: Norfo

Stuart Dark, King’s Lynn and West Norfolk cabinet member for environmental services and public protection. - Credit: Norfolk County Council

Stuart Dark, Borough Council of King’s Lynn and West Norfolk cabinet member for environmental services and public protection, said: “It is vitally important that people self-isolate and stay at home when told to do so by NHS Test and Trace as this helps stop the virus spreading to other people. 

“We understand that people may find this difficult for lots of reasons and that’s why we’re making these calls. 

“We will check if you are able to get hold of food and medicine, and help set up support for you if you can’t, we can also point you in the direction of other support including financial assistance if needed.”

The new service will expand welfare checks and support to include those people who have been asked to isolate by NHS Test...

The new service will expand welfare checks and support to include those people who have been asked to isolate by NHS Test and Trace. - Credit: PA

What does isolation mean?

Isolation is when you do not leave your home because you have or might have Covid-19. It means:

  • Do not go to work, school or public places – work from home if you can.
  • Do not go on public transport or use taxis.
  • Do not go out to get food and medicine – order it online or by phone, or ask someone to bring it to your home.
  • Do not have visitors in your home, including friends and family – except for people providing essential care.
  • Do not go out to exercise – exercise at home or in your garden, if you have one.

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