Clinically extremely vulnerable residents are being reminded that wellbeing and mental health support is available to help them get back out into the community as the government advises that they can stop shielding from tomorrow (April 1).
Those coming out of shielding should follow the current rules under the government’s roadmap for lifting lockdown restrictions, but they should take extra precautions to protect themselves from Covid-19.
Key points for people stopping shielding are:
- Minimise social interactions and try to reduce the amount of time spent in settings where social distancing is not possible.
- Work from home if possible but those who cannot work from home should attend their workplace. Employers are required to take steps to reduce the risk of exposure to the virus in the workplace and should explain measures they have put in place to keep employees safe at work. From April 1 those previously shielding will no longer be eligible for Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) or Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) on the basis of being advised to shield. They may be eligible for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (furlough) or Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS), both of which have been extended until September 30.
- Clinically extremely vulnerable pupils and students should return to their school or other educational settings.
- All clinically extremely vulnerable adults should have had their first dose of the vaccine and are advised to take up the second dose when offered. If they have not had their first dose, they should contact their GP.
- Age UK Cornwall and Volunteer Cornwall can help transport vulnerable residents who do not have their own transportation to their vaccination appointment.
- Supermarkets will continue to provide priority delivery slots to vulnerable individuals until June 21. If residents need help getting online, for example to register for an online supermarket account, they can ring Cornwall Council’s support line for those who are clinically extremely vulnerable on 0300 1233334 or contact Volunteer Cornwall.
- Health services remain available and residents with a medical need or question should contact their GP or health consultant.
Cornwall Council is working with partners in the health and voluntary sector to continue to support vulnerable residents in accessing priority supermarket deliveries and signposting to wellbeing advice.
Emergency food support is available at foodbanks throughout Cornwall. An interactive Help with Food map has been created in partnership with community organisations and is online at Let’s Talk Cornwall.
Cornwall Council is supporting Age UK Cornwall on a free, Step into Wellness coaching programme designed for people aged 60 or over to provide lifestyle and mental health advice and support them in getting back into the community.
Further information can be found at Cornwall Link
There is general advice and guidance on improving mental wellbeing on our mental health pages.
Anyone who may be worried about their own or someone else's mental health can contact 0800 038 5300 for help and support.
Rachel Wigglesworth, Cornwall Council’s director of public health, said: “We know that shielding has not been easy and we would like to thank everyone who has been shielding and their families, friends and other support networks for their efforts during this challenging time.
“Although clinically extremely vulnerable people will no longer be advised to shield from this Thursday, we still recommend that you take extra precautions to protect yourself while the virus is still circulating in our communities.
“These uncertain times mean we are all living and working in unusual ways and this can create feelings of stress and anxiety. If you’ve been shielding from others these feelings can be all the more heightened. But together with our health and voluntary partners there are things we can support you with to help maintain and protect your mental wellbeing.”
Ian Jones, Chief Executive of Volunteer Cornwall, said: “It has been a very difficult and worrying twelve months particularly for those who have been shielding. However, Cornwall’s communities and volunteers have been there to help to ensure people receive the support the need. Now with the backing from Cornwall Council we will continue our assistance to ensure any worries or concerns are addressed to enable people to have the confidence to reconnect with their community.”