What the end of shielding means for Northumberland residents - which services will remain, and which will close

Northumberland residents who are currently shielding have been getting support in the run-up to restrictions being relaxed this weekend.

By Ben O'Connell
Thursday, 30th July 2020, 6:00 am

The Government has said that shielding will pause from Saturday, August 1, unless the transmission of Covid-19 in the community starts to rise significantly.

The Northumberland Communities Together (NCT) team, which was set up by the county council during the coronavirus crisis, has been contacting those who have been shielding and those who have been in receipt of support from government deliveries to ensure they are supported going forward.

This includes advice and support with access to food, shopping, digital technology, medication pick-ups and helping to rebuild confidence in integrating back into their community.

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File picture from Pixabay as Northumberland's shielded residents prepare for restrictions being lifted

The local authority says that NCT will continue to support communities and residents to be safe, well and connected to each other and to support community activities.

Cllr Cath Homer, the council’s cabinet member for the voluntary and community sector, said: “We understand that for many of those who have been shielding throughout this pandemic, the relaxing of measures from August 1 will be a concern and something which they may be feeling anxious about.

“We have been contacting all of our shielded residents in preparation for this date to offer them some reassurance and guidance as to how they can slowly start to go out more and see more people.

“For those who still need it, we will also be able to give people advice on how they can continue to have prescriptions collected and food delivered.”

Anyone who has been shielding and would like to hear from the team can contact [email protected] or 01670 620015, from 9am to 6pm, seven days a week.

The official guidance states that as of August 1:

:: The Government will no longer be advising you to shield;

:: The support from the National Shielding Service of free food parcels, medicine deliveries and care will stop;

:: NHS volunteer responders will carry on delivering the food you buy, prescriptions and essential items if needed;

:: You will still be eligible for priority supermarket slots, but only if you registered before July 17;

:: You may still be at risk of severe illness if you catch coronavirus, so stay at home as much as you can and continue to take precautions when you do go out, by washing your hands regularly, avoiding touching your face and keeping two metres away from people outside of your household or bubble wherever possible.

The advice in relation to leaving the house is:

:: You can go to work, as long as the workplace is Covid-secure, but carry on working from home if you can;

:: Children who are clinically extremely vulnerable can go back to school (when the rest of their class goes back);

:: You can go outside to buy food, to places of worship and for exercise – keeping two metres apart from others wherever possible.

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