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Source: City of Stoke-on-Trent

Targeted support helps keep coronavirus outbreak in care homes to among lowest in England

Targeted social care and health support and exceptional work by care homes staff through the coronavirus outbreak has helped to limit the number of cases in care homes in the city to among the lowest in the country.

Stoke-on-Trent has 85 homes for younger adults and older people that are registered by the Care Quality Commission. Latest figures from Public Health England show that 26.1 per cent of those homes have recorded an outbreak of the virus, compared to 39.3 per cent in the West Midlands and 40.8 per cent across England. The figures for Stoke-on-Trent are the 10th lowest percentage in the whole country.

Stoke-on-Trent City Council leader Abi Brown said: “Any instance of coronavirus is of course deeply upsetting and unsettling, and we know that there have unfortunately been a small number of deaths in city care homes, as there have been deaths in other homes across the country. But it is really encouraging to see how targeted support and the steps that providers are taking themselves is making such a significant difference in helping to contain and limit the spread of this horrid disease. Staff in care homes have worked around the clock in extremely challenging circumstances and I want to pass on my huge thanks for what they have done.

“The homes in our city cover a wide spectrum of needs. Some are residential homes and some nursing homes. Some are specialist homes that support people with a learning disability and with their mental health.

“We cannot express how grateful we are to those in homes across the city for the work they’ve done and to the support of staff and wider partners in this area . It is undoubtable that the situation to date could have been much worse without the dedicated staff going that extra mile to look after those in their care.

“We speak daily to care providers and since late March this has included helping local operational responses, such as support with personal protective equipment, ensuring that there are appropriate staffing levels and providing infection control advice and intensive support through our home care support team. 

“We also regularly talk to all care home registered managers every day, to monitor Covid-19 incidences, infection control procedures, staffing levels, testing utilisation, and PPE supplies, with appropriate actions put in place as required.

“Support provided has ranged from advice and guidance, to resolving very practical issues at the beginning of the crisis such as officers going out to get groceries and personal hygiene supplies for homes and residents, and sourcing hard to get items such as thermometers so that homes had sufficient basic equipment to manage infection.”

Meanwhile, indoor markets have reopened today in Hanley, Longton and Tunstall, and additional stalls have opened in Stoke Indoor Market – which had remained open during the lockdown for essential goods only – as part of a managed response to the recovery phase of the coronavirus.

A range of measures are in place to protect shoppers and traders, including social distancing markers and reminders and hygiene sanitising facilities.

The markets are operating at the following times:

  • Hanley Indoor Market – open Monday to Saturday, 9am to 5pm.
  • Stoke Indoor Market – open Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, 9am to 5pm.
  • Longton Indoor Market – open Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, 9am to 5pm.
  • Tunstall Indoor Market – open Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, 9am to 5pm.

Outdoor markets opened earlier this week, and are operating at the following times: 

  • Hanley Outdoor Market at Fountain Square, Hanley, open Monday to Saturday, 9am to 5pm.
  • Bentilee Outdoor Market at Bentilee Neighbourhood Centre car park, open Tuesdays 9am to 4pm.
  • Fenton Outdoor Market at City Road, open Thursdays 8am to 3pm.

The council has confirmed support to market traders. Those who have been unable to operate due to closure, shielding or self-isolating have had a rent holiday during the lockdown period. Those operating cafes have been given a 50 per cent discount as support, while they are currently unable to offer their seating areas for customers. Stoke Indoor Market traders that have continued trading through the last 12 weeks will receive a 75% discount on back rent, and those traders who still cannot operate by law such as hairdressers and beauty salons will not be charged rent until they are able to open.

The authority has allocated £49.3 million in support grants to more than 4,300 small businesses to help them through the coronavirus outbreak, and this includes helping to ensure market traders have been able to apply if eligible. A further round of discretionary grants – with allocations up to £10,000 – will be made available in the coming weeks.

The authority has made parking on all 42 council-operated car parks and on-street parking free until the end of the month, to support towns and businesses to help the city’s recovery from the lockdown restrictions.

Councillor Brown said: “We have 155 traders across our market sites, and we want to continue to help them and shoppers, with the right safety and precautions in place, as our city adjusts to the easing of the lockdown. Many of the areas that the National Federation of Market Traders is asking local authorities to do, we have already done and are committed to supporting traders as they get back to offering their services to members of the public under the new normal. We have also seen considerable footfall today which is great news for both traders and residents alike.

“We know that there are concerns from a small number of traders, and we are keen to continue the conversation so that stalls are back up and running, serving residents across the city. As with all shopping centres at this time, we have restrictions in place in market halls to ensure social distancing and to allow people to shop in a safe environment. We’re proud of our markets and encourage people to visit and support their local communities.”

Meanwhile, the council’s tourism service is encouraging people to celebrate Father’s Day in different ways this Sunday (21 June), during the coronavirus restrictions. The Visit Stoke website has a host of inspirational ideas to plan the perfect occasion.

Councillor Brown said: “We know the coronavirus may mean that people cannot plan Father’s Day celebrations in quite the way they may have imagined, but we have lots of tips and ideas.

“The website has details of the city’s beautiful canals, greenways, parks and open spaces – including walking and bike trails to explore and lots of peaceful spots to relax.

“There’s also information about ‘pub in a box’, afternoon teas, Stokie recipes, takeaway meals, virtual culture tours, local gifts and much more.”

To find out more, visit www.visitstoke.co.uk/ideas-and-inspirations/fathers-day-in-stoke-on-trent.

For more information and advice on coronavirus (Covid-19) please visit Public Health England:

https://publichealthmatters.blog.gov.uk/2020/01/23/wuhan-novel-coronavirus-what-you-need-to-know/ and the NHS: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/.

All residents are reminded about the critical importance of regular handwashing with soap and hot water for 20 seconds. The significance of this action cannot be underestimated.

For more information on digital services, visit www.stoke.gov.uk, download the MyStoke App, or follow the city council’s social media channels.

MIL OSI United Kingdom