Covid-19 community update – 16 July 2021
Dear volunteer coordinators and parish councillors
As you will be aware, the Government is going ahead on Monday (19 July) with ‘Step 4’ of its roadmap out of lockdown. After this date, many of the measures that have been in place to prevent the spread of the virus will no longer be mandatory but the Government is still saying that many of these measures are still recommended in many circumstances.
We know that cases are rising across the country (including in South Cambridgeshire where, up to 11 July, we had 330 new cases in the preceding seven days, across all age cohorts (30% 0-17yrs, 25% 18-24yrs, 26% 25-44yrs, 16% 45-64)). You may be interested to note that in Longstanton, Swavesey and Oakington, cases per 100,000 residents hit 674, which was the highest figure across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough. We are not yet out of the woods.
Some of the latest Government and local Public Health messaging is shown below, and I would also like to draw your attention to some insights from the Government’s behavioural scientists.
Councils and community groups are encouraged to remove outdated signage. Even if an organisation is going to continue to encourage people to wear masks, the recommendation is to have new signage to communicate this. This is because signage that has been around for the past year will be ignored, as people will assume that after 19th July it will be out of date. Not only will this mean that the messaging won’t ‘cut-through’, but it may also make it even more difficult in the autumn to clearly communicate any new measures that may need to be reintroduced. Any new signs that are displayed should also make it clear what the expectations are: the more explicit the signage, the less people will confront each other based on their own assumptions or interpretations of what is the ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ thing to do. If you need some support to create signage, please contact email@example.com, and we can help you to provide updated signage.
2. Messaging and identity
The Government’s behavioural scientists are recommending that it’s better to focus on scenario-based decision making, rather than identity-based decision making. In other words, individuals should make balanced decisions based on the situation rather than sticking rigidly to a set of behaviours regardless of the circumstances.
For instance, people may choose to wear a mask when they’re in a poorly ventilated public place and to keep a safe distance from strangers at the train station but they may choose not to wear a mask in a crowd when they need to be able to communicate with a child or an older person and they may choose not to keep a distance from friends and family from different households. Tolerance and understanding is going to be very important and we should try to avoid engrained attitudes along the lines of 'I wear a mask because I care about other people' or 'I don't wear a mask because I believe in freedom'.
If we are not very careful, it will be difficult to encourage everyone to adopt measures later that need to be introduced or re-introduced (for example) in the autumn. We all need to help to encourage scenario-based decision making, as well as tolerance and understanding.
Government’s timetable for summer and autumn
Below you can see the Government’s timetable for the next couple of months:
· On 19th July, most legal restrictions will end, removing social distancing and social contact restrictions and enabling remaining businesses to reopen – read what you can and cannot do
· By the end of July, the government will publish an updated Covid-19 outbreak management framework for local areas
· On 16th August, the rules on self-isolating will change for people who are fully vaccinated and for the under 18s
· In September, the government will undertake a review to assess the country’s preparedness for the autumn and winter; they will consider whether to continue the post-19th July rules or strengthen the public and business guidance.
Government guidance for Step 4
The Government is promoting the following guidance while the prevalence of the virus remains high:
- whilst the government is no longer instructing people to work from home if they can, the Government is expecting and recommending a gradual return over the summer
- the Government expects and recommends that people wear face coverings in crowded areas such as public transport
- they are encouraging people to spend time outside or to let in fresh air
- they are recommending that people minimise the number, proximity and duration of social contacts
- they are encouraging and supporting businesses and large events to use the NHS COVID Pass in high-risk settings
Local Public Health recommendations for Step 4
- Meeting people outdoors or in well-ventilated places
- Keeping a polite distance from others
- Wearing a face mask in crowded places
- Washing your hands thoroughly and often.
Whilst the Government is moving away from legal restrictions, Government has published updated guidance on protecting people who are Clinically Extremely Vulnerable (CEV) to Covid-19. The guidance comes into effect on Monday (19th July). The guidance advises CEV people, as a minimum, to follow the same guidance as everyone else. However, it also notes that CEV people who are at a higher risk of serious illness if they were to catch Covid-19, may wish to think carefully about additional precautions. The Government guidance sets out a number of suggested measures for CEV people to consider, related to socialising, vaccinations, work and travel.
We know that many Clinically Extremely Vulnerable people are anxious about this next step, so it is worth highlighting a key study on immunosuppressed and immunocompromised groups. Public Health England looked at more than a million people in at-risk groups and found that those that are immunosuppressed have significantly better protection from symptomatic infection following the second dose of a Covid-19 vaccine.
Cambourne drop-in vaccination clinic this Sunday – and more locations
A reminder that the drop-in vaccination clinic is happening in Cambourne on Sunday, from 10am to 4pm. Please do share our posts on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram within your communities if you haven’t already done so.
AstraZeneca and Pfizer will both be available (and offered based on age), and people can attend for their first dose or second dose (second doses only available if people had their first dose on or before 23 May – eight weeks ago).
You can also find information about all other drop-in vaccination clinics via Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Clinical Commissioning Group’s dedicated webpage, or by following them on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.
Finally, on vaccines, I wanted to share this video, produced by another Council to remind people that “one jab is only half a job”. Feel free to share this in your groups as well.
Lead Cabinet Member for Community Resilience, Health and Wellbeing
South Cambridgeshire District Council