COVID-19 June 2021 Update

1. Meeting with friends and family

Cases of COVID-19 are increasing in our area including the new Variant of Concern. While infection levels here are not as high as other parts of the country, we cannot afford to relax our guard. It is safer to meet people outdoors. This is because COVID-19 spreads much more easily indoors. However, you can meet up indoors with friends and family you do not live with, either:
  • in a group of up to 6 from any number of households (children of all ages count towards the limit of 6)
  • in a group of any size from up to two households (each household can include an existing support bubble, if eligible).
If you are meeting friends and family, you should still be cautious. You should read the guidance on meeting friends and family. Let the fresh air in. If you are meeting up indoors with anyone not in your household or support bubble, make sure you let plenty of fresh air in. Uncover vents and open doors and windows, even a small amount for a short period of time. If you have an extractor fan (for example in your bathroom or kitchen), leave it running for longer than usual with the door closed after someone has used the room. If someone in the household is self-isolating, open a window in their room and keep the door closed to reduce the spread of contaminated air to other parts of the household. Leave windows open fully for a short period after someone working in your home such as a cleaner or tradesperson has left. If you are concerned about noise, security or the costs of heating, opening windows for shorter periods of time can still help to reduce the risk of the virus spreading. Wearing warm clothes or extra layers can help you to keep warm. You may be able to change the layout of your room so that you do not sit close to cold draughts from open windows or doors.

Why letting fresh air in is important

When a person infected with COVID-19 coughs, talks or breathes, they release droplets and aerosols which can be breathed in by another person. While larger droplets fall quickly to the ground, smaller droplets and aerosols containing the virus that causes COVID-19 can remain suspended in the air for some time indoors, especially if there is no ventilation. Ventilation is the process of replacing this shared air with fresh air from the outside. The more ventilated an area is, the more fresh air there is to breathe, and the less likely a person is to inhale infectious particles.

Get a rapid test if you don’t have symptoms

As many as one in three people who have the virus show no symptoms at all. This is why testing at least twice a week is such a critical part our routine now. Everyone should be using the free rapid tests to test themselves at home. Rapid tests are easy to do yourself and give results in 30 minutes. Anyone can collect testing kits from any of our libraries, local pharmacies or order them online to be delivered to you.

If you have symptoms, get a PCR test

If you have any symptoms at all, you must book a PCR test online at www.nhs.uk/coronavirus or call 119. If you don’t have a continuous cough, temperature or loss of sense of taste or smell you can still book a test by selecting “I’ve been told to get a test by my local council”.

2. Vaccinations

With the opening of the vaccination programme to those aged 30 and over, the NHS is confirming the easiest route to get a vaccination appointment is via the National Booking Service. This can be accessed online at nhs.uk/covid-vaccination or by calling 119 between 7am and 11pm. Bookings can be made for both first and second doses of the vaccine. New appointment slots are being added continuously to the service, so if a suitable one can’t be found, do keep checking.

The booking systems will use the details provided by the patient to direct them to the best centre depending on their criteria including age and whether they are pregnant. There are several centres available, ranging from large vaccinations centres to high street pharmacies.

Following the success of drop-in centres for people over 40, these are been exended into next week. The centres offering this service and their opening hours will be available on the BLMK CCG website.

Please check out the social medial links below. Communities First are leading on the recruitment and support for volunteers at the vaccination centres and we have been asked this week to help promote their current recruitment campaign, volunteers are needed in Central Bedfordshire, Bedford , Luton and Herts.

Here’s the link to Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/2181794172036437/photos/a.2233420323540488/2910875489128298

And Twitter:
https://twitter.com/1stCommunities/status/1397905439216574465