NYCC Covid Update 18th November 2020

It has been all eyes on Scarborough over the past week or so with what has been described as a ‘herculean’ effort by all the agencies involved in responding to the soaring rates of covid-19, the borough has been experiencing. To put it into perspective Scarborough remains in England’s top 10 highest infection rate areas and at one stage, was second only to Hull.

Many people are asking why Scarborough? I have seen a number of comments from people linking it to the influx of visitors to the coast over half term. In honesty, the facts are rather closer to home and they serve to remind us all of the very volatile virus we are dealing with. While most people are continuing to stick to the rules and making sacrifices around not seeing their loved ones, sadly a few others are not. So of the 45 fixed penalty notices issues by our partners in the police over the weekend just gone, 40 were for illegal gatherings and breaches of other covid rules in Scarborough town, Filey and Whitby. This included birthday parties indoors during a national lockdown. I bring you these words in response today from our Director of Public Health, Dr Lincoln Sargeant:

“This virus does not spread in a linear way, it increases exponentially. This is difficult for some people to grasp – hence there can be a degree of complacency. By the time they are aware of the impact, the spread is getting rapidly worse. It is catastrophic, as is the nature of pandemics.

“This virus has told us its secrets earlier in the year. It spreads through people we trust to be in our personal space.

“If we are going to make a difference we have to think about our personal responsibility.”

And there it is. The stark truth, it is only we who can make the difference in the decisions we make every day. While most of us are playing our part for the county, those who decide to flout the rules can trigger rapid changes in the rate of spread. Some people seemed well aware they should not be having house parties, perhaps they felt safe because they did not believe they had been in contact with anyone who had the virus. But many people will carry this with very mild or even no obvious symptoms. Sadly, they may then pass it onto the very people who may develop much more serious symptoms, some may well die. None of this is very palatable, I understand that, but frankly, I think we are at the point with the small minority of people where just asking isn’t enough. As a result, North Yorkshire Police are very clear that they will act on the public’s concerns and respond to reports of breaches of the covid laws and that enforcement will continue where that is necessary.

So as we head toward the lifting of the second English national lockdown I urge everyone in the strongest terms to think very carefully about the sort of Christmas we want to have. We do not yet know what national tier we will be in from December 2. At the moment as a county, we remain above the national average, which is not a happy place to be. The very high rates along the coast are pulling that average up, but we are not powerless in this. In fact, we are very much in charge of our own decisions so let’s make the right choices!

 

There are of course other significant matters we are managing away from the pandemic, highways being one of them! The reconstruction of the collapsed section of the A19 at Eggborough is progressing well. This photo shows the scale of the repairs https://www.northyorks.gov.uk/news/article/reconstruction-work-a19-progresses-winter

And improvements to a major trans-Pennine route troubled by landslips, the A59 at Kex Gill, are moving a step forward too, with our executive members being asked to agree additional funds, should they be needed, to move the work on. https://www.northyorks.gov.uk/news/article/kex-gill-realignment-scheme-takes-step-forward

And then there are the apparently small acts of thoughtfulness which happen every day in North Yorkshire, of which this is one.  Some of you may already know that at the county council we fund an organisation called Dementia Forward to help support people with dementia to have happy and fulfilling lives. During this pandemic people with dementia have missed the group activities which help them a great deal with laughter, socialising and support. These activities had to stop but, thanks to some creative thinking, they will now receive boxes filled with games, tea and biscuits so, with their carers, they can enjoy a café at home experience. Companionship is so important to help combat loneliness and previously we worked with Dementia Forward to trial robot cats as a means of tackling social isolation. The cats have been so popular with many people they wanted to keep them and I am delighted that Knaresborough Rotary has stepped forward to provide 50 new Rotary Companion Cats. It’s the sort of generosity and kindness that makes North Yorkshire the great place it is. I would encourage you to learn more about the terrific work around this community effort here https://www.northyorks.gov.uk/news/article/innovative-ways-supporting-dementia-sufferers-north-yorkshire

Take care and please stay safe.

NYCC’s website has a dedicated area for all the latest news, see links below:

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North Yorkshire Coronavirus Data

The number of cases of COVID-19 in North Yorkshire continues to increase.  At 17th November, there have been 11,572 positive tests since 3rd March, with 3,020 new cases reported in the past two weeks.  Over the past week, the average number of new cases is approximately 155 cases per day, but may be as high as 280 per day, allowing for incomplete data in the most recent days. Work continues to ensure effective monitoring of all areas, with support for incidents being provided across a range of settings, which are reviewed daily.

From 16 November 2020, PHE has updated the way it records the location of people who test positive or negative for COVID-19. It now prioritises addresses given at the point of testing over the details registered on a patient’s NHS Summary Care Record. This better reflects the distribution of cases and testing. However, it may give rise to differences in previously reported numbers of cases and rates in some areas. The change has been retrospectively applied to tests carried out from 1 September 2020, and data in the dashboard was updated to reflect this change on 16 November 2020. Due to reallocation of cases in this way, the number of cases reported by local authority may be artificially high or low on 16 November 2020.

Further information on North Yorkshire data provided at county, district and local area level can be found here: https://www.northyorks.gov.uk/coronavirus-data.

Scarborough

In the last week, Scarborough district has seen the highest rate of new cases, and the seven-day rate of new cases per 100,000 people there is currently 525.9. As a result of this rapid increase of cases, North Yorkshire County Council, working alongside local partners, ramped up efforts to bring the number of cases back down. Our work in Scarborough district is still ongoing, and comprises four main themes:

Community Engagement

  • Police colleagues and COVID Marshalls have been a visible presence in communities across Scarborough district and have been supporting the distribution of the leaflets to homes, across the borough concentrating on villages and town centres. Social isolation and financial support information will also be provided at local test centres.

 

  • Trading Standards have visited over 100 businesses over the past week to ensure they are complying with relevant guidance. They’ve been supporting businesses by supplying any resources, listening to any challenges and discussing how to keep themselves and customers safe.

 

Enforcement

  • North Yorkshire Police have increases patrols in the locality, particularly to the North of the borough.

 

  • There has been a noted increase in enforcement action taken over the past week with more engagement with the public and proactive measures to ensure compliance with all current legislation.

 

Communications

  • An advertising van has visited different areas of Scarborough district in the past week to deliver messaging directly in local communities.

 

  • A leaflet has been produced and distributed to members of the local community in their homes, in town centres and at test centres. The leaflet reminds people of their responsibility to follow current guidance to keep themselves and others safe and includes information on financial support for those isolating.

 

  • There has been an increase in press coverage including broadcast media coverage. Messaging will continue via local radio stations as well.

 

Testing

  • New mobile test units have been identified and installed in response to increasing rates.

 

  • Working with higher education setting to help them prepare for Christmas break and support families reuniting over the festive period.

 

During the current lockdown, we all need to play our part in bringing the number of new cases down across North Yorkshire by staying at home as much as possible. We understand this is difficult, and North Yorkshire County Council can support you if you may need additional help.

We are working along 23 community support organisations across the county to ensure that everyone who needs help has someone to call on. During the lockdown, help and support is available for you if you need it with a range of things such as:

  • shopping for food or other essentials
  • help to set up online shopping services and access priority delivery slots at supermarkets
  • collecting and delivering prescriptions
  • caring for pets
  • having someone to talk to
  • help for you to get online and using technology like FaceTime or Skype to talk to friends and family
  • delivering books and magazines or materials to support hobbies such as wool for knitting or art materials

More information can be found here: https://www.northyorks.gov.uk/help-you-during-coronavirus-covid-19

NHS Volunteer Responders can also help people who are self-isolating and in need of support with shopping, prescriptions and other essentials. You can call 0808 196 3382 every day between 8am and 8pm and more details can be found here: https://nhsvolunteerresponders.org.uk/

Testing sites in North Yorkshire, as elsewhere in England, are operated and managed by the Department of Health and Social Care and private contractors employed by them. We try to help the department by promoting the Mobile Testing Site locations and hosting information on how people with symptoms can book a test via the national government portal. We do not manage the national booking system or laboratory testing process.

Indications are that lab testing capacity is improving but, if you are unable to book a test at a local site straight away, please keep checking as availability varies during the day.

We are also supporting the Department in asking the public only to get a test if they are directed to do so by NHS Test and Trace or other NHS services – OR – if they have symptoms, to ensure that those people who need tests the most can be prioritised.

Before you attend you must book a test. Tests can be booked from 8pm the night before.

Testing sites operated and managed by the Department of Health and Social Care will be running at the following locations over the coming days between 11am and 3pm:

  • Every day – Harrogate – Dragon Road Car Park, Dragon Road, Harrogate, HG1 5DB
  • Every day – Scarborough – William Street Car Park, Scarborough. YO12 7PL
  • Wednesday 18 November – Scarborough – Scarborough Park and Ride, Seamer Road, Scarborough, YO12 4LW
  • Wednesday 18 November – Filey – Filey Country park, Church Cliff Drive, Filey, YO14 9ET
  • Wednesday 18 November – Selby – South Entrance, DRAX Power Station, New Road, Selby, YO8 8PH
  • Thursday 19 November – Whitby – Whitby Marina Car Park, Langbourne Road, Whitby, YO21 1YW
  • Thursday 19 November – Richmond – Catterick Race Course, Catterick Bridge, Richmondshire, North Yorkshire, DL10 7PE
  • Friday 20 November – Sherburn in Elmet – Pasture Way Carpark, Sherburn in Elmet, LS25 6LY
  • Friday 20 November – Filey – Filey Country park, Church Cliff Drive, Filey, YO14 9ET
  • Friday 20 November – Northallerton – Newby Wiske Hall, Northallerton, North Yorkshire, DL7 9HA
  • Saturday 21 November – Selby – South Entrance, DRAX Power Station, New Road, Selby, YO8 8PH
  • Saturday 21 November – Skipton – Coach St car park, Skipton, North Yorkshire, BD23 1LH
  • Sunday 22 November – Scarborough – Scarborough Park and Ride, Seamer Road, Scarborough, YO12 4LW
  • Sunday 22 November – Richmond – Round Howe Car Park, Reeth Road, Richmond, DL10 4TL
  • Sunday 22 November – Thirsk – Millgate Car Park, Marage Road, Thirsk, YO7 1PE
  • Sunday 22 November – Thornton Le Dale – Thornton Le Dale, National Trust Car Park, No.5. Chestnut Avenue, Thornton Le Dale, Pickering, YO18 7RR

Watch this video to find out what to expect and how to prepare for the test: https://youtu.be/QawyKwIIfKQ

See the latest dates and locations, find out more and how to book at www.northyorks.gov.uk/testing

 

Over the coming weeks, the County Council will be distributing £1.4m to schools, academies and early years providers in North Yorkshire, to help those families hardest hit by the pandemic.

The funding will ensure children eligible for Free School Meals will continue to have access to meals over the Christmas holidays and into the next year. Schools will be allocated funding for supermarket vouchers for families in need of support in covering the cost of food and utilities such as heating.

We have decided to open the expand the scheme to include all families where they are struggling to cover the cost of essentials such as food, as we know many have been hit hard by the pandemic.

Schools are in a unique position to be able to identify which families are struggling and will be given the discretion to allocate vouchers to those they know are in need.

The funding will also be made available to children in early years provision and post-16 education.

The funding comes from the Government’s Covid Winter Grant Scheme, which was announced earlier this month. The Government’s Covid Winter Grant Scheme funding runs from November until March 2021. The large majority of this funding – 80 per cent – is ring-fenced to provide the hardest hit families and other individuals with financial support for food and essential utility bills and specifically provide food for children who need it over the holidays.

The County Council will begin distributing the grant funding to schools over the coming weeks

Community support organisations and the voluntary sector partners they are working alongside continue to provide vital help with shopping, prescriptions, looking after pets and other essentials. Volunteers are also reducing loneliness and isolation by providing much needed companionship through befriending schemes like Age UK Good Friends.

 

When 83-year-old Gerry Bass heard about the Age UK Good Friends scheme two-years-ago, he was keen to put himself forward to help. Little did he know that the project, which matches volunteers with lonely elderly recipients to befriend, would benefit him as much as the person he was paired with.

 

Gerry, who lives near Hawes, was put in touch with 91-year-old Jack Elliott who lives on his own, and for the last two years, before the coronavirus pandemic disrupted things, they met up at a cafe every couple of weeks to catch up.

 

Jack, who worked as a woodwork teacher for 25-years, became increasingly lonely as he got older. Since being paired with Gerry, their friendship has blossomed and they have stayed connected throughout the coronavirus pandemic.

 

Gerry explains: “I befriended Jack as a volunteer, but in actual fact I think we’ve befriended each other. When people are lonely they quite often need just a little bit of support really. I think we all just need to talk to someone sometimes.”

 

Jack said becoming friends with Gerry has been a highlight of his later years. “It has been one of the best things in my life.”

 

People who are self-isolating and need support with shopping, prescriptions and other essentials but don’t have anyone to call on, or anyone concerned about the welfare of someone else, can contact North Yorkshire County Council’s customer service centre on 01609 780780. The centre is open seven days a week 8am to 5.30pm. People can also contact us by email or live chat at www.northyorks.gov.uk/contactus.

 

To find local businesses offering food deliveries and takeaways, go to the Buy Local directory at www.northyorks.gov.uk/buy-local.

 

People can also find details of local voluntary and community groups offering support at www.northyorkshireconnect.org.uk.

 

For more information about the help available, including a link to the latest Government advice for people who are clinically extremely vulnerable, go to www.northyorks.gov.uk/coronavirus.

 

We’re also urging people to keep checking on neighbours and people in their communities who might need help and support during the lockdown. Find advice on how to help safely at www.northyorks.gov.uk/how-you-can-help-during-coronavirus-covid-19.

 

Buy Local: Help us tell businesses about FREE online advertising

Our Buy Local directory brings together local businesses and services in one place to provide an easy way to search online. It was set up in March and over 800 local businesses have signed up so far to shout about what they can offer. It’s a one-stop shop connecting businesses and customers.

We’d like as many businesses and tradespeople as possible to register on Buy Local – it’s free and only takes a few minutes. Businesses can also specify what they are able to offer during Covid restrictions, and update their profile on the site at any time.

Please encourage anyone you know with an eligible trade or business to sign up – whether they are a one man band, a new start up or an established concern.

When many businesses are facing their toughest time yet and have been asked to close during a key trading period, this is an important way of reaching out to potential customers.

All businesses on the Buy Local directory are required to abide by government guidelines on operating under Covid-19 restrictions.

 

LEP News: Business grants are now open for applications throughout York & North Yorkshire

Many businesses can apply now for grants covering:

  • All those forced to close under national restrictions
  • Hospitality and leisure for the 19 days spent in Tier 2 (York only)
  • Some sectors including nightclubs that hadn’t previously had any grants.

 

The grants are now open for applications throughout York & North Yorkshire through the following links:

EU Transition: What you need to know about importing and exporting in 2021 (26 November, 2:00 – 3:00pm)

Accountancy specialists Garbutt + Elliot and the Department for International Trade will join the York & North Yorkshire Growth Hub to give details of what we currently know with regards to customs duty and VAT for imports and exports, and provide more detail about the customs process, tariffs, commodity codes and Incoterms, as well as answer any questions that you may have. Visit here for full details and to book your place

Extension to Takeaway services

 

Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick announced on 11th November that restaurants, pubs and cafes will receive automatic freedoms to provide takeaway services for food (alcoholic drinks will continue to be subject to licensing laws) for another year until 23 March 2022.

 

Business update from Education and Skills Funding Agency

In this month’s update, you can find out about the Kickstart scheme, which is one of a number of skills offers for employers that provide financial incentives as part of the Government’s Plan for Jobs.

For more information, visit: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/skills-funding-agency-business-update

In addition, if you are considering taking on a student for an industry placement or T level, take a look at two new films from York & North Yorkshire LEP that showcase the many benefits these can offer you as an employer.

LEP Annual Conference 2020

Many thanks to those who attended our recent Annual Conference. This is available to watch again online until 6 December via:
https://ynylepannualconference2020.register-me.uk/

Staying informed

As always, we are keen to promote the following as main sources of business support information:

Christmas carol singing lessons for families

Families across North Yorkshire are invited to join online Christmas carol singing lessons to get into the Christmas spirit together.

Tutor Martyn Cresswell will encourage all participants to sing up and share their enthusiasm with other families taking part. The finished performance, featuring singers in their homes, will be recorded and posted online for all to enjoy.

The course is open to families with children of all ages. Participants will need a tablet or laptop with an internet connection and a camera to record themselves, so that their contribution can be captured for the wider public audience to appreciate.

The last session will be on Tuesday, 15 December. For more information and to book, visit https://ebsontrackprospect.northyorks.gov.uk/Page/Prospectus_CourseOverview?uio_id=12202

Or call the Adult Learning team on 01609 536066 or email adultlearningservice@northyorks.gov.uk

In January, the service will launch a virtual choir for adults. Details will be posted in the course finder at www.northyorks.gov.uk/view-adult-learning-courses-and-enrol-online