COVID-19 Update

Dear Partner,

Welcome to the second edition of Hertfordshire County Council’s new weekly stakeholder bulletin.  This bulletin provides updates on the county council’s key priorities this week, as well as outlining preparations being made for the recovery of services.

 Household Waste Recycling Centres (HWRCs)

  • Following the recent release of additional guidance from Defra, 10 Hertfordshire HWRCs will re-open from Monday 11 May.
  • They will follow their usual opening days and hours – more details are available on our website: HCC Website – HWRCs.
  • The sites opening will be Waterdale, Rickmansworth, Turnford, Letchworth, Royston, Bishop’s Stortford, Stevenage, Harpenden, Berkhamsted and Potters Bar.
  • We are continuing with communications to encourage people not to go to the HWRCs unless it is essential – HWRC Press release is available here.
  • We have been working with our partners to ensure safe opening and, in due course, will be able to review the position and consider either opening additional sites or increasing the opening hours at the sites that are open.

 Support to Residential and Nursing Care Homes

  • The County Council is leading a multi-agency group to bring together a range of partners across the health and care system to oversee, monitor and map outbreaks of COVID-19 across Hertfordshire.
  • There are a range of support and services being offered to care homes to enable them to remain open and to provide quality care to their residents. The Provider Hub is supporting homes with issues and concerns about access to and the appropriate use of PPE.  Support with stocks has been offered throughout this pandemic as well as training and information to interpret the stream of guidance that has been issued nationally.
  • Two former care homes will open shortly, providing 85 additional beds to support those people who are recovering from the virus.  Both homes have been registered by the CQC and are being supported by the local NHS community health providers.  A third home, St Margaret House in Abbots Langley, was due to be closed but will now stay open to provide additional capacity in the west.

Testing

  • Three mobile test sites were again set up last weekend and all slots were filled very quickly.
  • A total of 333 tests were carried out.
  • Further pop-up testing will be taking place this weekend.

 Operation Shield

    • As at 30 April, we have 24,510 records of Hertfordshire residents on MHCLG’s main shield list (first two cohorts). We are waiting to receive an updated list from Central Government, which includes the records of more Hertfordshire residents. This increased shielded figure is expected to raise the number to approximately 33,500.
  • Additional staff have now been redeployed to help with the process of calling citizens who have received a food parcel, to confirm if they need further support. This process is supporting the operation to reduce the level of demand for the service and keep track of the ongoing needs of service users.

 

 Our work to support Hertfordshire’s schools

  • Intense work is continuing from council officers alongside partners in Herts for Learning (HfL) and schools to continue planning for potential reopening of schools pending formal announcements expected from the Government later this week.

 Mental health support during COVID-19

  • A new group has been set up to oversee the mental health and wellbeing support available to Hertfordshire residents and staff during the Covid-19 pandemic. Hertfordshire’s Behaviour Change Unit is supporting the group, and has already developed a Top Tips for resilience at home infographic.
  • Information for children, young people and their parents is available at www.justtalkherts.org and a live webinar for 11-19 year olds to address their questions about Covid-19 takes place on Thursday 14 May 2020 11-30am-12.30pm
  • A series of guides to support people through bereavement are available on the County Council website.

 High Streets

  • Highways and Public Health colleagues are working closely with District and Borough Councils and other partners to identify how and where we may need to make changes to the network of roads and pavements to help enable social distancing to keep busy urban areas safe and open as the restrictions of lockdown are eased.
  • In a county like Hertfordshire this is particularly challenging as we have several medium and larger towns to consider along with some very constricted local centres elsewhere.
  • We are working up management plans to help create areas that enable social distancing and better pedestrian and cycling friendly infrastructure in areas where this is possible.
  • We are seeking to ensure that access for commercial deliveries are maintained and public transport can continue to operate.  Arrangements for disabled parking and those with disabilities will be a key.

Locality budget scheme

  • It was confirmed yesterday that, a further £390,000 will be invested into the County Council locality budget scheme.
  • Each County Councillor will be receiving a further £5,000 for 2020/21, in addition to the £10,000 that is available to them through their locality budget each year.
  • At least £5,000 of each Member’s budget will be spent on COVID-19 related schemes.
  • The county council has already allocated over £211k to local organisations across 312 grants since the early opening of the 2020/21 Locality Budget Scheme.

Herts Memories

  • Friday 8th May 2020 marks the 75th Anniversary of WWII ending in Europe. The day offers an opportunity for us to reflect on the sacrifices made by all members of the Armed Forces.
  • To mark the 75th anniversary of VE Day, Hertfordshire Archives and Local Studies (HALS) has launched a new online exhibition, Herts Memories. The exhibition offers an insight into life on the Home Front in Hertfordshire and enables residents to share their own family memories and pictures of VE Day: Get involved.
  • In line with the current COVID-19 government advice, the county council are encouraging residents to mark the occasion from home.

 More information

  • HCC website – containing coronavirus guidance and service updates
  • PPE online hub – providing guidance on PPE
  • Current Defra advice can be found on the government website
  • Herts Help contactable on 0300 123 4044 – support for all Hertfordshire residents
  • Please contact our Corporate Policy team if there are other areas you would like more detail about.

As you’ll be aware, it is anticipated that the Prime Minister is due to provide a COVID-19 update on the current lockdown measures for the country and whether some of the existing restrictions will be eased. HCC is continuing to plan for the recovery of services and hope to be able to share more with you next week.

Kind regards,

David Williams                  Owen Mapley

Leader                                 Chief Executive

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