New measures to help tackle Covid in Cornwall

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Street teams, ‘Vaxi Taxis’ and extra vaccination clinics are just some of the measures being introduced across Cornwall to help bring Covid cases down and keep residents safe.

They are part of the extra support available after Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly were designated an Enhanced Response Area (ERA) on August 27.

Almost three weeks on and case rates have dropped in line with the South West and national average - although the number of people with Covid-19 in hospital continues to put pressure on the NHS.

Rachel Wigglesworth, Director of Public Health for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, said: “Thank you to everyone - whether you are a resident or a visitor - who has done their bit to help bring our cases down.

“It’s great to have extra support in our battle with the virus but we still need everyone to play their part and remember our key message: ‘get jabbed and be cautious!’ Only by staying vigilant can we stay on top of Covid, keep each other safe and protect our health services.”

This week, as part of the additional ERA measures, teams will hit the streets to engage with residents in areas of lower vaccine uptake about the importance of getting vaccinated.

They will work with Volunteer Cornwall to have door-to-door conversations and hand out vaccine clinic leaflets. Team members will be carrying ID and wearing blue high-vis tabards, so our residents know that they are legitimate.

Other measures introduced under the ERA include:

  • ‘Vaxi Taxi’, a free transport scheme supported by Volunteer Cornwall, to encourage carers to get fully jabbed before September 16. Any carer or person working in a care setting will need to be fully vaccinated from November 11. This means they will need their first dose by September 16 to meet the deadline for the second vaccination.
  • COVID marshals have been re-introduced in town centres. For the next two weeks they will be primarily covering St Ives, Falmouth, Newquay and Looe between 11am-7pm.
  • Face coverings are being used in school ‘pinch points’, such as corridors, and on public transport. Assisted testing is also taking place to help reduce the spread of cases as younger people often display very mild symptoms.
  • Vaccine clinics have been taking place in Helston, Newquay, Roche, Saltash and St Ives with plans for Falmouth town centre, the Falmouth and Exeter university campuses, Bodmin, Penzance and Truro this week [CHECK].
  • Additional vaccine pop up clinics will be held in Falmouth and Truro this week. The pop up clinics do not need to be booked and are open to anyone aged 16+.
  • In addition to new radio advertising and local digital road sign information digital ad vans will be circulating in towns with vaccine clinics to support messaging to get jabbed and take part in free testing. The vans will be in Bodmin, Camborne, Falmouth, Helston, Penzance, Redruth and Truro this week.

Rachel added: “We are doing everything we can to bring down Covid case numbers in Cornwall and we still need everyone to do their bit to help. As we learn to live with this virus the advice hasn’t changed and we need people to keep doing the things we know work. So remember ‘hands, face, space and fresh air’, test regularly, self-isolate when required and above all, get both of your jabs. You can’t avoid Covid, we need to respect it and learn how to work around it.”

Cllr Andy Virr, Portfolio Holder for Adults and Public Health, said: “It’s great that we’ve managed to bring case numbers down in Cornwall but we still need everyone to step and do their bit to help protect each other. The recent spike in cases is also taking its toll on the NHS so it’s crucial that people take precautions, follow the guidance and get their vaccinations as soon as possible.”

Cllr Virr, who also works as a consultant in the Emergency Department at the Royal Cornwall Hospital, added: “It’s a source of ongoing frustration and heartbreak for me that the majority of people with Covid that I see in hospital aren’t fully vaccinated. I can’t stress enough that vaccines are our way out of the pandemic and I would urge everyone to get their jabs as soon as possible.”

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