These are unprecedented times and we recognise that going into a third national lockdown due to the Covid-19 pandemic will be very difficult for many of you. We are sending you this email to help you to understand what this means for us all in North Yorkshire, and to make sure you know what support is available. We also want you to know that no-one in North Yorkshire should feel alone.
What is the current risk?
The new variant of the virus moves between people much more easily. A small amount of exposure can lead to infection. We know that people mixing inside homes has been a key way in which the virus transfers, so please play your part and do not meet other people inside. Infection rates have been rising very quickly in many areas of North Yorkshire, regardless of how rural the communities are. It is important to remember that one in three people with Covid has no symptoms and can be spreading it without knowing.
Here is a summary of the key points of this national lockdown. You are only allowed to leave home to:
- shop for essentials for your household or a vulnerable person/people you are helping and this should be as locally as possible;
- go to work, or provide voluntary or charitable services, if you cannot work from home;
- exercise with your household (or support bubble) or one other person, this should be limited to once per day and you should stay local;
- meet your support bubble or childcare bubble where necessary, but only if you are legally permitted to form one;
- seek medical help or avoid injury, illness or risk of harm (including domestic abuse); and
- attend education or childcare, for anyone who is eligible.
You can find information from the government website. You can find out more about help and advice in this area on the county council website.
What is a support bubble?
If you live alone or are a single parent who lives only with your children, you can meet one other household without social distancing. This is called a support bubble. Not everyone meets the government criteria for a support bubble and you can check if you do on the government website, above.
The main symptoms are a new and continuous cough, a fever, loss of taste and/or smell. Find out more about the symptoms.
If you feel unwell, with even mild Covid symptoms, please protect your friends and family by behaving as though you are infectious – self-isolate and book a test. You can book a test
online or call 119.
If you are required to isolate, you must comply for the full period required. This is ten days for anyone who tests positive or 14 days if you live with, or have come into contact with, anyone who tests positive. You are increasing the risk for others if you do not.
Supporting each other
Thank you to everyone looking out for friends and neighbours, and the many thousands of volunteers helping people across North Yorkshire. Please keep checking on people who might need a hand with things like shopping, collecting medication of just having someone to talk to. A brief telephone chat can make a huge difference to people who may feel lonely or isolated. Please keep in touch with friends and neighbours by phone or online. Find advice about how to help safely.
We all know that mental and physical health is important. All of us are allowed to undertake daily exercise, outdoors, once a day if we can. As long as we keep two metres apart, we can exercise with someone from another household, too.
What to do if you need help
If you need help with shopping or other essentials, please let family, friends or neighbours know how they can help you. If you do not have anyone to help you, you can contact us and we will direct you to help in your area.
You can complete an online form to let us know what help you need to let us know what help you need. We are currently dealing with a high number of phone calls, so please use this form if you can. If you do not have access to the internet, our contact centre is open seven days a week between 8am and 5.30pm so please call 01609 780 780.
People who are clinically extremely vulnerable are being asked to shield again. If you are in this group, the government will write to you with the latest advice. We will continue to offer support to North Yorkshire residents who are asked to shield. There is an online form to let us know what support you need. If you do not have access to the internet, our contact centre is open seven days a week between 8am and 5.30pm so please call 01609 780 780.
The NHS in North Yorkshire is working hard to roll out vaccinations across many sites that are equipped to deliver it. When it is your turn, your GP will contact you directly and give you an appointment. If you cannot attend, please let them know so they can re-arrange the appointment for you and vaccinate someone else. Surgeries and other NHS staff are really busy, so it is important everyone remains patient and waits for their invitation.
Team North Yorkshire
As well as working with a network of community support organisations helping people right across the county, North Yorkshire is fortunate to have a strong spirit of volunteering. There are hundreds of people out there who can help you so please do not feel alone. Thanks again for looking out for those around you. We know that many people will want to get involved in their communities and help where they can. If you have the time and want to volunteer, we can introduce you to local organisations in your own community. See more information about volunteering.
If you cannot get out, there are also lots of great North Yorkshire businesses standing by to deliver services and shopping direct to you. There has probably never been a more important time to support local businesses. We encourage you to shop locally to support jobs and the economy at this really difficult time. Please have a look at our Buy Local website for details of businesses in your area.
Even with the new lockdown measures, we still have personal responsibilities to protect ourselves, our families, friends and neighbours. Please remain careful, whether at home or outside for the permitted reasons. Act as if you have the virus and Stay Home, Protect the NHS and Save Lives. Thank you.
Richard Flinton | Chief Executive, North Yorkshire County Council
Louise Wallace | Director of Public Health, North Yorkshire County Council