Community Hub Update from East Sussex County Council

National lockdown: stay at home

A new national lockdown was announced by the Prime Minister on 4 January. The new national restrictions mean extra rules are in place in addition to the Tier 4 regulations which already applied across East Sussex.

  • Schools in East Sussex will close and move teaching online until at least February half-term (although some will open for children who are vulnerable or whose parents/carers are key workers. Nurseries can also remain open).

  • You must only leave your house for a few specific reasons (to exercise, shop for food, get essential medical help, if you absolutely cannot work at home or if your safety is threatened).

We have updated our website to reflect the new rules, and are continuing to communicate the latest guidance to residents through our East Sussex Together COVID-19 newsletter (sign up here), our public facing communications channels and local media.


Shielding

Shielding guidance is now in place for clinically extremely vulnerable (CEV) people across the country. Those in the CEV group should not attend work, school, college or university, and limit the time they spend outside the home. They should only go out for medical appointments, exercise or if it is essential.

People in the CEV group can once again register on NSSS for priority supermarket deliveries, and request free pharmacy deliveries, whilst shielding guidance is in place. We have updated our CEV web page and the attached Issues and Guidance document with the latest advice and where to get support. CEV residents that need extra help can continue to contact Health and Social Care Connect.

We are once again contacting CEV people in East Sussex by phone, letter and email during the new national lockdown to ensure they have the support they need. We aim to have contacted all identified CEV residents we have details for within the next few weeks.

Recently some potential scam calls to CEV people have been identified. Please see the next story for more details.

Potential scam calls

HSCC, along with another call centre, are contacting residents identified as clinically extremely vulnerable (CEV) to check they have the support they need. There have been reports of potential scam calls also being made to East Sussex residents. Call handlers can reassure people that are being contacted that we will not ask:

  • for bank details or payments

  • for details of any other accounts, such as social media

  • people to set up a password or PIN number over the phone

  • people to call a premium rate number, such as those starting 09 or 087

See the latest information and guidance on potential COVID-19 scams


NHS Test and Trace

If someone tests positive for coronavirus, the national NHS Test and Trace team will contact them to give advice and get details of anyone they’ve been in contact with. If the NHS Test and Trace team aren’t able to contact people within 48 hours, their case will be passed to our local team who will try to contact them.

As part of this call they will ask people to confirm:

  • their name, date of birth and postcode.

  • if they live with other people.

  • any places they’ve been recently, such as a workplace or school.

  • names and contact details of any people they were in close contact with in the 48 hours before their symptoms started.

Action against unwanted phone calls

To reduce unwanted calls:

  • Sign up to the Telephone Preference Service (TPS).

  • If plagued by calls from the same number, report them to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO).

  • Silent/abandoned calls can be reported to Ofcom.

If caught out by a phone scam

  • The incident should be reported to Action Fraud. Anyone can become a victim of a scam and reporting it could stop others falling victim to the same scam.

  • If tricked into giving bank details to a scammer over the phone, people should report it to their bank immediately. They will take the necessary action to stop the scammers using cards or gaining access to accounts.

Vaccine queries

The COVID-19 vaccine rollout in East Sussex is underway. Vaccinations have started at GP-led vaccination services in the county and hospital hubs, and further services will be going live over the coming weeks. Priority is being given to the most vulnerable members of our communities, those in care homes, people over the age of 80 and those working in health and social care. The roll out will then continue to the rest of the population in order of age and risk. You don’t need to do anything; the NHS will contact you when it’s your turn for the vaccine.

Health and Social Care Connect have reported a number of contacts from people asking when they will receive the COVID-19 vaccine. The NHS will contact people when it’s their turn, and residents are advised not to contact us beforehand.

The latest information on the vaccination programme in Sussex is available on the Sussex Health and Care Partnership website, including an FAQ, public leaflets and a list of vaccination sites. A recent stakeholder briefing on vaccinations is attached.


Laptops for schools to enable remote learning

The Department for Education (DfE) is providing hundreds of thousands more laptops and tablets to schools to help children and families access remote education during coronavirus (COVID-19). They are also helping disadvantaged children who need an internet connection to get internet access. Schools will be able to order devices for:

  • disadvantaged children in years 3 to 11 who do not have access to a device and whose face-to-face education is disrupted

  • disadvantaged children in any year group who have been advised to shield because they (or someone they live with) are clinically extremely vulnerable

  • disadvantaged children in any year group attending a hospital school

Parents, carers and pupils should contact their school to discuss requirements for accessing remote education.

You can find more information on schools, children and families services during COVID-19 on our website: Schools, children and families' services – East Sussex County Council

COVID-19 Winter Support Fund

Following a successful funding bid supported by both East and West Sussex County Councils, Sussex Community Foundation have set up the Covid Winter Support Fund. They are offering the opportunity for smaller voluntary, community organisations and social enterprises as well as mutual aid groups and town and parish councils, to apply for grants of up to £5,000 to support residents with food and utility bills and other basic needs this winter. The fund is primarily focused on supporting households with children, but support for individuals and other households will also be considered.

Find the full eligibility criteria and a link to the application form on their website:

Covid Winter Support Fund - Sussex Giving


Publication schedule

We will continue to publish this briefing fortnightly during lockdown. Any urgent updates will be sent as required. You can share any comments on the frequency or content of this briefing by emailing Consultation.ASC@eastsussex.gov.uk.


Service information, changes and updates

Getting back to shopping guidance

  • We have attached v23 of the guidance which has been updated to reflect the latest information from supermarkets.

Issues and guidance document

  • We have attached v30 of the guidance which has been updated to reflect the new lockdown measures and that shielding guidance is now in place.


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