There are up to 1.5million people in England whose existing medical conditions put them at a higher clinical risk from COVID-19.
They have been urged to stay at home, at all times, and avoid all face-to-face contact – except for with essential carers and healthcare workers – for at least 12 weeks.
The Government has established a system to ensure these people who are most severely at risk of illness will receive free essential food parcels delivered to their front doors, through a partnership of local and national agencies.
Coun Cath Homer, Northumberland County Council’s cabinet member for the community and voluntary sector, said: “The county council has a critical role to play in this and we’re now pooling all our resources to keep our communities safe and protected.
“We are supporting the national effort with a local supply of emergency food parcels, to make sure that those at the highest risk who need support don’t fall through the net.”
The county’s hub will operate from Blyth Sports Centre, with support from Active Northumberland staff, the military and hundreds of volunteers, including council staff and residents.
Daljit Lally, the council’s chief executive, added: “We’ve been overwhelmed with the response from the public, who all want to do their bit to support our most vulnerable communities, for which we are extremely grateful.
“The shielding hub has been set up for the specific purpose of supporting the extremely vulnerable as part of the national programme in response to coronavirus. These food parcels will be delivered on door steps over the coming days.”
If anyone thinks they fall into the clinically extremely vulnerable category, but has not yet received a letter or been contacted by their GP, they should discuss their concerns with their GP or hospital clinician in the first instance.
Anyone else struggling with support needs can contact the council’s community response hub on [email protected] or 01670 620015 between 9am and 6pm, seven days a week.
Anyone worried about a child or adult’s immediate welfare can contact OneCall on 01670 536400.