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Coronavirus 17 April 2020 - 2.00pm general update

This is today's round-up of the latest Coronavirus news on Friday 17 April 2020.

#StayHomeSaveLives  #HereForSwansea

Swansea Bay Studios Field Hospital

Construction of the new Swansea Bay Studios Field Hospital is proceeding at pace over the weekend with our staff and contractors working 24/7 when necessary to get the site ready for its first patients as quickly as possible.

When complete within the next fortnight the first phase of the hospital will be equipped to provide 500 beds with another 500 becoming available in the weeks following. As well as the areas for beds, there will be rest areas for nursing staff, toilets, changing areas and catering areas to serve staff and patients. The outer shell of the building will remain, but the contractors' work will create a modern and suitable hospital setting.

 

Call centre

More than 6,000 vulnerable Swansea residents who've been asked by the Chief Medical Officer for Wales to shield themselves from Coronavirus are getting extra support from a new call centre we've set up especially for them.

We've set up a new virtual call centre helpline so that that residents who've been asked to remain at home for 12 weeks during the pandemic will be supported if they do not have friends, family, neighbours or voluntary services to help with essential tasks.

More than 600 calls have been taken by the team so far. They have been helping by ordering free weekly food parcels paid for by the Welsh Government to be delivered to eligible people's homes. The team has also been directing callers to volunteers who are able to pick up prescriptions and deliver medicines and provide other support besides.

 

Education

Our Education Welfare Officers (EWO) have stopped doing their usual job of working with young people to encourage school attendance. Now they're filling the gap where families of children entitled to free school meals have not been able to fetch the grab and go bags from schools themselves

Every day catering teams produce more than 2,000 grab and go cold meals delivered by council teams and volunteers to more than 40 schools currently being used as emergency child care facilities.

And where families can't get to the pick-up points EWOs and school staff are finding ways to make sure the free school meals get to as many as possible of those intended to have them.

 

Small business grants

We've paid out almost £29.5 million over the last fortnight to more than 2,100 local small businesses entitled to access Welsh Government business support grants. Now we're dealing with applications from those businesses which have applied for grants but might not have been eligible in the first instance under the Welsh Government rules set out for the scheme. Our team will be contacting those business to get more information.

Queries about applications can be made by email to business.rates@swansea.gov.uk. As our staff are concentrating on making payments, a response may not be sent straight away.

To help businesses chart their way through grant and loan opportunities, we've set up web pages highlighting all the other opportunities for business support that are available.

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Child care

Childcare funding is available for pre-school children of parents or carers of critical workers in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Under the scheme, a parent is eligible to receive the childcare if:

  • They have a child, or children of pre-school age;
  • Either parent is a critical worker as defined by the UK Government;
  • They are kinship or foster parents and either is a critical worker;
  • The child, or children, are pre-school age and have been assessed by Swansea Council as being vulnerable.

Parents/carers will be expected to provide documentation in support of their application which must be done online.

To apply for the childcare funding the parent/carer will need to apply online for the pre-school scheme here.

In Swansea, emergency childcare settings in schools continue to remain open to provide childcare for school aged children where both parents or a single parent are critical workers. 

 

Social care

We've received almost 70 external applications so far in response to an appeal to recruit paid carers to help support older and vulnerable people in their communities.

We're especially interested in returners - those who've experience of the care sector as residential or domiciliary care workers and would be willing to come back to the sector - who could help out.

If you want to apply please visit www.swansea.gov.uk/coronaviruscareroles.

 

Covid-19 app

The First Minister and NHS Wales is appealing to us all to download a new COVID Symptom Tracker app to help the NHS response to COVID-19 in Wales.  The app is available to download from the Apple App Store and Google Play or for more information, see covid.joinzoe.com

 


Staff

Staff are being asked to volunteer to take on temporary roles in support of our critical services during the Coronavirus pandemic. We are asking staff to sign-up to take on new jobs to provide services that will help the people of Swansea, protect the NHS and help them save lives.

For more information please visit www.swansea.gov.uk/stafftemporaryrole.

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