As the nation marks a year since the first Covid-19 lockdown began, Wokingham Borough Council continues to lead the way in its response to the pandemic as well as planning for recovery.
Among the recent innovations, the council has set up a contact system to phone each new positive case within the Borough to offer help and support during self-isolation.
Advice is given on the financial aid available and practical support for those having to self-isolate.
Wokingham Borough Council is also working with GPs to help deliver the vaccine programme with staff and buildings.
Supporting GPs through successful rollout
Representatives from the authority meet GPs every week to discuss how we will deliver vaccinations ahead.
In addition, the council has set up three community Lateral Flow Test centres for asymptomatic people who have to leave their homes for work and have now launched mobile lateral flow testing services, with the first at Asda in Lower Earley and Aldi in Wokingham Town Centre. Others will follow.
Cllr Charles Margetts, executive member for adult social care and public health, said: “The vaccine roll-out has gone well but we know we will be living with Covid-19 for a long time and we need to keep up our fast-paced, collaborative response with the community, GPs, local businesses, schools, the voluntary sector and other partners.
“The number of people taking rapid tests in the community is increasing and we are providing more and more opportunities for people to get those tests – and we are also providing the support to people who test positive and have to self-isolate. This is still a vital tool in combating the spread.”
Mental and physical health focus
As well as the ongoing response to Covid-19, the borough council is planning for recovery, with a particular focus on residents’ mental and physical health.
Cllr Margetts added: “During the pandemic many of our residents had to shield in their own homes and this has led to a loss of confidence to go outside. To help with this, we have launched a ‘Moving with Confidence’ project which will see council sport and leisure staff going to residents’ home provide mobility exercises.
“This will help with physical fitness but also confidence to be mobile again. We are currently supporting 40 residents who have been referred by voluntary sector organisations at present and are open to more.
“We are also very aware of the strain the pandemic has put on our residents and are taking steps to deal with this.
“We are therefore launching a new mental health service with MIND to support residents who have been affected by Covid-19 as well as others. MIND will start their service next month and expect to support 1,200 residents every year.
“They will also work in the community with our GPs to provide expertise to assist our residents where needed. The model they will operate in Wokingham borough has been used very successfully in Oxfordshire and we have bought the start date of this work forward to cover the need caused by the pandemic.”
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