The Council are sending out daily bulletins to staff via email – for those who don’t have a council email we will be sharing the information here
Accurate as of 1pm on Wednesday 25 March, 2020.
Welcome to the daily update on the council’s response to the coronavirus (COVID19) pandemic.
We will endeavour to keep you up to date every day in the early afternoon.
As ever, the council’s top priority is the welfare of our staff, local residents and the most vulnerable members of our community.
Could managers please make sure anyone without a council email address receives the information in this bulletin.
There is a private Bolton Council staff Facebook page which is also updated – please encourage staff without a council email address to join.
Help during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic
The council has set up an emergency contact number for the extremely vulnerable people who have been told stay at home at all times and avoid any face-to-face contact (shielding), during the current situation.
This group includes organ transplant recipients, those undergoing immunotherapy and people with specific conditions (see the full list). If you are in this group you will receive a letter from the government with further instructions.
Extremely vulnerable people with serious underlying health conditions must follow guidance on shielding. Shielding is more severe than social distancing, it means people must not leave their home and should minimise contact with others inside their home.
Contact 01204 337221, if you, or someone you care for, have received a letter from the government and require support.
The number will be open 8.30am – 5.30pm Mon – Fri and Sat 9am – 1.30pm.
We will talk to you about your most urgent needs such as food, medicine or other requirements.
The council’s new Response Hub will then get those items to you or respond with other services. The hub is manned by staff from the council and our partners, plus volunteers.
If your charity or volunteer group would like to help with the coronavirus response, please contact Bolton CVS at firstname.lastname@example.org or 01204 546055.
If you are not in one of these extremely vulnerable groups and have concerns please see www.bolton.gov.uk for the help available or ring 01204 333333.
Stay at home
Council staff and Bolton residents should follow the new instructions to the letter and only leave their home for:
- Shopping for necessities (food and medicine) as infrequent as possible
- One form of exercise a day (run, walk, cycle) alone or with members of your household
- Any medical need, or to provide care or to help a vulnerable person
- Travelling to and from work, only where this absolutely cannot be done from home
Those at increased risk should be particularly stringent social distancing at all times. This group includes the over-70s, pregnant women and those with conditions such as asthma, heart failure or diabetes (see the full list).
Those at very high risk of severe illness from coronavirus (COVID-19) because of a serious underlying medical condition (see full list) are strongly advised to rigorously follow shielding measures in order to keep themselves safe. This means to stay at home at all times and avoid any face-to-face contact.
These measures, which will be in place until further notice, are essential to slowing the spread of the virus and ensuring our NHS is not overwhelmed.
Government advice is constantly changing in response to the pandemic. All the latest guidance on social distancing, self-isolation, shielding, hand hygiene and more – has been collected here.
Whilst there are genuine groups of volunteers providing help during self-isolation there have sadly also been reports of criminals preying on vulnerable residents.
Examples include people offering to do shopping but taking the money and not returning or offering to clean doorsteps to help prevent the spread of the virus. We are urging communities to look out for signs of neighbours being targeted.
There are also a number of online scams encouraging people to open dangerous attachments and telephone scams claiming to be your bank or mortgage lender. Please take care.
Further information and guidance can be found here: https://www.nationaltradingstandards.uk/news/beware-of-covid19-scams/
Messages to staff
Thank you all for your hard work and dedication at this difficult time. Please continue to support each other and take time to look after yourself and your loved ones.
Staff with children
If you are a keyworker or the parent of a vulnerable child, information about education provision for your children is now available.
Information for key workers
Staff who are helping with the council’s emergency and civil contingency arrangements will receive a letter from the Chief Executive.
You will be given this letter by your line manager and it will give you permission to travel to and from work.
You must have this letter with you, and your council ID, at all times.
Working at the new Response / Distribution Hub
Your manager will be in contact with staff shortly to seek volunteers willing to help with the newly created Response Hub, the aim being to build a cohort of volunteers who can assist with packaging or administrative support for the hub.
Information for staff working from home
Council staff should be working from home wherever possible. This will mean changes to the way we all work and may mean that you are asked to carry out different tasks than usual.
If you have a council mobile device, you may be asked to return it so it can be used by those working in priority services. This may mean you are temporarily unable to undertake any work but we must make sure IT resources are used to keep essential services running. Should you be asked to return your mobile device, please be assured that this will not affect your pay, and your manager will remain in contact with you to identify if you are able to assist with other tasks/duties needed by the council.
In order to work from home from your own computer there are some things you need to do to access the council’s systems. Please check the guide about what to do.
Please read the Information Governance advice while working from home.
As services come under pressure due to absence, we may need to ask some people who have been working remotely to use different locations. You should keep in regular contact with your line manager and keep them informed of any changes to your health or circumstances.
Update about council services
Due to extraordinary pressures placed on council services, as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, we regret that we are unable to remove any side waste presented for collection.
We are focusing our resources on providing a collection to all residents of the grey bins, green bins and food waste containers.
Collecting side waste reduces the number of bins that can be emptied and would result in some properties not receiving any collection. In addition, collecting side waste increases the risk to our operatives that are working hard to continue to provide a service during the COVID-19 pandemic.
We trust you will understand that due to current circumstance we have to focus our resources.
We ask residents to please put any excess waste into the bin after it has been collected and look to reduce the amount of waste they create as much as possible.
Staffing levels in some of our teams have been affected and we have had to take the decision to temporarily stop emptying public bins. We felt it was better to close bins, rather than risk them overflowing and causing a problem.
We would ask people to please take their rubbish home and dispose of it accordingly.
We really appreciate the public’s understanding and we will continue to review the situation on a daily basis.
The Register Office has made changes to its services with the aim to provide as smooth and respectful a service as possible given the difficult circumstances.
These include changes to registering deaths and births, and the decision to cancel all weddings and not take further bookings.
The death of a loved one is a tragic event for all families and a stressful time.
For further information please see our website.
In light of the government’s announcements in recent days we have taken the decision not to hold the Bolton Food and Drink Festival this year. The event takes a huge amount of planning which would be taking place right now, and it was felt our resources are better used tackling the current situation.
We are in discussions with Ironman UK about the hosting of this year’s event. Ironman UK will be in direct contact with athletes once a decision has been made.
The organisers of the Bolton Marathon have postponed the race with a new date to be confirmed later in the year.
Update from our partners
Your GP Practice is working differently. There are changes to how you get an appointment. Practices will not accept people walking in without speaking to them first on the phone. Please make sure you:
- Check online to see how your practice is changing and telephone them if you need to speak to someone
- Do not go to your GP practice, Pharmacist or A&E, if you have symptoms of coronavirus.
Only call NHS 111 if you cannot cope with your symptoms
Royal Bolton Hospital
No visitors are allowed at the hospital at the present time apart from parents of children, a main carer, birthing partners, and to visit someone receiving end of life care. However if you have a high temperature or a new, persistent cough you must not visit.
Please see the website – www.boltonft.nhs.uk – for the latest information about appointments and operations.
King’s College London (KCL) has launched a new app which tracks symptoms related to novel coronavirus (COVID-19), allowing anyone to self-report daily.
The aim of the app is to help slow the outbreak, by helping researchers identify:
- How fast the virus is spreading
- High-risk areas in the country
- Who is most at risk, by better understanding symptoms linked to underlying health conditions?
The app is also available to the general public.
Researchers believe that the data from the study will reveal important information about the symptoms and progress of the COVID-19 infection in different people, and why some go on to develop more severe or fatal disease while others have only mild symptoms.
University of Bolton
All university students are on vacation until after the Easter Holidays, and will return on April 20 to be taught via video conference technology.
This is with the exception of nursing students and some apprentices where employers say it is safe to work.
Graduation ceremony is postponed – all students will receive their degrees following a rigorous assessment process.
Latest updates here.
The college has moved to online and home learning from Monday, March 23. More information here.
Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) is urging passengers not to travel unless it is absolutely essential.
Train, tram and bus timetables have been reduced to maintain links for key workers, so check before you travel.
Wash your hands before and afterwards, cough or sneeze into a tissue and use contactless payments if possible.
A small number of TfGM school bus services are running for the children of essential workers only.
Further changes are likely, monitor updates here.
Other links and information:
- Business Bolton has the latest advice and guidance for local businesses
- Bolton CVS has information about volunteering opportunities
Previous bulletins can be found at www.bolton.gov.uk/news