Clinically extremely vulnerable patients in Blackburn with Darwen who are currently on the Shielded Patient List are being sent letters and text messages by the Government to advise them that they need to continue staying at home until further notice.
Coronavirus levels in the area continue to remain higher than in the rest of the country and shielding guidance in Blackburn with Darwen will not be relaxed further from 1 August as per the national guidance. Those patients who have been assessed as being clinically extremely vulnerable are strongly advised, until 17 August, to continue to shield by staying at home as much as possible and keeping visits outside to a minimum.
Dr Mark Dziobon, Medical Director at Blackburn with Darwen and East Lancashire Clinical Commissioning Groups, said:
“This pandemic has been extremely challenging for everyone but more so for those patients who have been assessed as being clinically extremely vulnerable. For this group of people, the virus puts them at risk of severe illness if they catch coronavirus hence the reason for being advised to shield. Unfortunately because the virus levels remain high in Blackburn with Darwen, the Government is advising that the shielding guidance is not relaxed in this area on 1 August as it is in the rest of the country.
“Whilst the guidance is only advisory, I would strongly recommend that anyone who gets a letter or text follows the guidance until at least the 17 August when it will be reviewed again. For those who have not previously been advised to shield, but are being advised to do so now, they may want to discuss this with their GP.”
The shielding guidance is set out below:
- Stay at home as much as possible and keep visits outside to a minimum. However you may, if you wish, meet in a group of up to 6 people outdoors, including people from different households, while maintaining strict social distancing.
- You no longer need to observe social distancing with other members of your household.
- If you are a single adult household (either an adult living alone or with dependent children under 18), you may from this date, if you wish, also form a ‘support bubble’ with one other household. All those in a support bubble will be able to spend time together inside each other’s homes, including overnight, without needing to socially distance.
Professor Dominic Harrison, Director of Public Health at Blackburn with Darwen Council, said:
“I want to thank all our communities who are supporting our efforts to get this virus under control. The measures we have introduced are making an impact and we are headed in the right direction but we are continuing to analyse the data and will do every thing necessary to stem the rising tide and protect our most vulnerable residents.
“To support our actions, the government announced that further easing measures are being postponed including the advice for people who have been shielding. We need to keep up the momentum with our strong prevention work so we agree its sensible not to relax the easing of restrictions.
“I appreciate this will not be welcome news for people who have been shielding and were looking forward to start getting back to some semblance of normality. It’s frustrating but I hope those affected will understand that it’s important to follow the advice as it is there to help protect themselves.”
If you are struggling as a result of Coronavirus, please visit www.gov.uk/find-coronavirus-support. If you urgently need food or care, please contact Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council’s Help Hub by calling 01254 588111 (Monday to Friday between 09:00 and 17:00) or by visiting www.blackburn.gov.uk/helphub.
You can also contact the NHS Volunteer Responder scheme for help collecting shopping, medicine or other essential supplies that you need delivered to your home, or for someone to check in with you if you would like a chat. You can call them for free on 0808 1963646.