Street crews, ‘vaxi taxis’ and supplemental vaccination clinics are just a few of the measures introduced in Cornwall to help reduce cases of Covid and keep residents safe.
They are part of the additional support available after Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly were designated an Enhanced Response Area (ERA) on August 27 after a huge spike in cases after the busiest tourist season ever and the Boardmasters festival.
Almost three weeks later, case rates have fallen in line with the Southwest and national average, although the number of people with Covid 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 have done their part to help resolve our cases.
“It’s great to have extra support in our fight against the virus, but we still need everyone to play their part and remember our key message: ‘be stung and be careful! Only by remaining vigilant can we stay on top of Covid, protect each other and protect our health services. “
This week, as part of ERA’s additional measures, teams will take to the streets to talk to residents of areas with low vaccination rates about the importance of getting vaccinated.
They will work with Volunteer Cornwall to have door-to-door conversations and distribute flyers on vaccination clinics. Team members will be wearing ID and wearing high visibility blue tabards, so our residents know they are legitimate.
Other measures introduced under the ERA include:
- ‘Vaxi Taxi’, a free transport program supported by Volunteer Cornwall, to encourage caregivers to get stung completely before September 16th. Any caregiver or person working in a care facility must be fully vaccinated from November 11. This means that they will need their first dose by September 16 to meet the deadline for the second vaccination.
- Covid marshals have been reintroduced to city centers. Over the next two weeks they will mainly cover St Ives, Falmouth, Newquay and Looe between 11am and 7pm.
- Face coverings are used in school “pinch points”, such as hallways, and on public transport. Assisted testing is also underway to help reduce the spread of cases, as young people often have very mild symptoms.
- Vaccination clinics were held in Helston, Newquay, Roche, Saltash and St Ives with plans for downtown Falmouth, the Penryn campuses of Falmouth and Exeter universities, Bodmin, Penzance and Truro this week.
- Additional vaccine pop-up clinics will be held in Falmouth and Truro this week. Pop-up clinics do not need to be booked and are open to anyone aged 16 and over.
- In addition to the new radio advertising and information on local digital road signs, digital advertising vans will be circulating in cities with vaccination clinics to support messages to get bitten and participate in free tests. . The vans will be in Bodmin, Camborne, Falmouth, Helston, Penzance, Redruth and Truro this week.
Ms Wrigglesworth added: ‘We are doing everything we can to reduce the number of Covid cases in Cornwall and we always need everyone to do their part to help. As we learn to live with this virus the advice has not changed and we need people to continue doing what we know works. So don’t forget “hands, face, space and fresh air”, test regularly, isolate yourself if necessary and above all, get your two jabs. You cannot avoid Covid, we must respect it and learn how to bypass it. “
Councilor Andy Virr, Cabinet Member for Adults and Public Health, said: ‘It’s great that we’ve been able to reduce the number of cases in Cornwall, but we still need everyone to take a step and do their part to protect each other. The recent spike in cases is also wreaking havoc on the NHS, so it’s crucial that people take precautions, follow advice and get vaccinated as soon as possible. “
Mr Virr, who also works as a consultant in the emergency department at Royal Cornwall Hospital, added: ‘It is a source of continued frustration and grief for me that the majority of people with Covid that I see in hospital are not fully immunized. I cannot stress enough that vaccines are our way out of the pandemic and I urge everyone to get vaccinated as soon as possible. “
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