Connect with us
Advertisement
Advertisement

News

How Pembrokeshire’s test trace protect teams are keeping us safe

Published

on

AS VACCINES roll-out, test trace protect teams continue vital work to keep us safe.

WHILE vaccinations are the great hope for a path out of the coronavirus pandemic, the role of the Test Trace Protect team remains as important as ever.

The dedicated Pembrokeshire County Council Contact Tracing team have been at the forefront of the battle to stop the chain of infection since early in the outbreak.

From a small number of positive cases in the early days following March 2020 to several hundred cases per week at the peaks, the team has steadfastly taken on the challenge.

But unless you have direct contact with the team you may not be sure exactly how contact tracing works and how it helps to keep us all safe.

Kate Canny from Hubberston and Nicola Williams from Fishguard are Lead Tracers within the Test Trace Protect (TTP) Team at the Council.

Both moved from their roles within the Council Contact Centre to TTP to provide support during the pandemic.

From taking Contact Centre calls helping customers with queries on Council services, Kate and Nicola are now part of the TTP team that makes the calls to people who have returned a positive Covid-19 test and speak to those people they have been in close contact with.

Track and Trace operates 8am-8pm, seven days a week with staff split across shift patterns.

The TTP team use the NHS all Wales Contact Tracing database which receives details of positive Covid-19 cases throughout the day and night.

The team contact the person involved and ask them to confirm their name, address and date of birth and the date of the test to check they’re speaking to the person who’s had the test. Supporting those who have tested positive is an important part of the job.

“More often than not the person who has tested positive will know their result before we call them but sometimes they don’t,” Nicola said.

“These can be difficult calls because the person can be extremely upset or even angry and my role is to offer re-assurance to them and answer any questions that they may have.”

Support and advice is part of every conversation.

The app has become vistal throughout the pandemic.

Kate said: “If the case has one of the three main symptoms, a cough, high temperature or loss/change to their taste or sense of smell we use this information, but if they are asymptomatic we use the date they took the test to calculate their required isolation period.

“Once we have completed a symptom check, we will then trace back 48 hours previous to the test or symptoms, this is because you can carry the virus with no symptoms during this time.

“We discuss any locations they’ve visited such as shops, cafes, if they’ve travelled or been on holiday. We talk to them about their family, household, friends and work place contacts over this time. This is where we create a timeline record to try to prevent the spread of the virus any further”.

Every detail is important, Nicola added. “What might seem like an unimportant piece of information to you could be the missing piece of the jigsaw to me”.

A report is added to the cases record in the TTP system. The Test Trace Protect process is governed by data protection and all records are held in the strictest of confidence. The team cannot share information about the positive case without the individuals’ consent.

Kate said: “We advise cases to isolate for 10 days, we go through hygiene and isolation advice. We can also signpost the case or contacts to support services in relation to for example shopping, receiving prescriptions, financial support and NHS guidance to help them whilst they are isolating”.

Self-isolation means staying at home, not having visitors, not going out even for shopping and if you are positive limiting contact with others in your household.

It’s a difficult time for people so it’s important to check how they will manage and provide details of services that can help them with their day to day tasks.

Kate said: “Once we have collected the contact details for people they have been in close contact with, we then pass this onto our team of Advisors. The Advisors will then contact anyone that may now be at risk. The Advisors provide them with advice regarding the need to self-isolate and talk through any support they may need to do this.

“Understandably people are worried for their family, friends and their own health. They worry that they may have spread the virus further. People are also lonely isolating, so we try and reassure people the best way we can.”

Receiving a call to isolate can also be a shock for some people.

“People don’t always believe us when they say they have been in contact with someone with Covid as we are unable to give any information about the contact,” said Kate.

“On occasion, but rarely, people refuse to isolate but we just express the importance of self-isolating and advise it is now law and they may be subject to enforcement action or fines. The vast majority understand why they need to self-isolate and are prepared to do so to keep themselves and others safe.”

Nicola added: “Understandably, some people think we are scam callers or refuse to answer or can be rude and abusive.

“But it’s so important that if you have a call from 02921961133 you answer it. It’s important to know that we will never ask for your bank details or for any type of payment.”

The TTP team has also been hugely impressed with the way Pembrokeshire residents have pulled together to support one another over the past 11 months.

Nicola said: “The strength of community that still exists in Pembrokeshire is a wonderful thing to see. Neighbours helping neighbours, communities pulling together to help wherever and whenever they can.

“Pembrokeshire is a rural county and has a lot of isolated villages but still, residents have risen to the challenge and continue to do so.”

Kate agreed: “As a team it has come to our attention how fantastic and caring neighbours, friends and family have been when they need to support someone when they are isolating.

“Everyone has been pulling together in our communities to ensure that the person isolating is cared for and has what they need in a safe manner.”

Thanks to people following the stay at home message and self-isolation rules, we are now seeing numbers of positive cases start to fall.

But it remains vital that you get tested if you have coronavirus symptoms.

Nicola added: “By working together we can help control the spread of Covid-19”.

“Getting tested and following self-isolation rules are by far the best way to help protect our loved ones and communities even though it may seem to be an inconvenience at the time.”

Anyone with coronavirus symptoms can get a test.

Business

Castell Howell Foods highlights sector concerns over Covid recovery

Published

on

THE HOSPITALITY sector may be opening up, but transport and supply issues are hampering the industry’s recovery – according to Castell Howell Foods.

One of the UK’s largest independent food wholesalers, Castell Howell, has taken the step of contacting customers to highlight the significant challenges faced by the sector as it recovers from the pandemic.

While there is relief at easing lockdown and optimism for a busy summer with bookings for UK ‘staycations’ and leisure activities, pressing issues remain.

Shortages of key staff and problems faced by some suppliers have resulted in the Welsh wholesaler being forced to make some “uncomfortable” decisions and changes to its operation, including having to pass on some supply chain price increases.

In particular, a shortage of qualified delivery drivers has meant the Cross Hands based business has had to be resourceful to maintain its delivery frequency to its customers. To help bridge the gap in the short term, other Castell Howell staff who hold an HGV licence have been temporarily redeployed to the transport department. Among them are area sales managers.

Castell Howell Sales Director, Kathryn Jones, said “Unfortunately, due to the drastic reduction in sales in 2020, our workforce decreased by over 100 colleagues. Whilst we now need most to return to the workplace, many have found alternative employment; this is a common theme across the supply chain.

“We have been actively advertising and recruiting for several months. However, as highlighted in the press, there are over 75,000 vacancies across the UK for HGV drivers alone.

“We too are currently short of drivers, especially Class 2 HGV. Driving a multi-drop vehicle for Castell Howell is a very different proposition to driving a limited drop schedule. Consequently, as you can imagine, it has been challenging to fill these vacancies.”
Stock availability is also an issue, as some suppliers struggle to manufacture under new social distancing rules. Delivery to Castell Howell from suppliers is also being affected by the UK-wide shortage of haulage drivers.

Kathryn Jones said, “To build up buffer stocks, we are increasing our volume of orders, especially for commodity lines. We aim to mitigate future stock shortages the best we can. We are constantly seeking substitute products from manufacturers who have the capacity to deliver. However, this is becoming increasingly more difficult.”

Castell Howell has made changes to its ordering process to improve its own deliveries, with earlier cut-off times.

“These changes go against the grain and were extremely difficult decisions to take. However, it is imperative to implement these in order to continue operating under these difficult circumstances whilst still maintaining a high level of service. We are very grateful to our customers for their support, patience and understanding.”

For Castell Howell, the difficulties arising from the pandemic were exacerbated by the loss of business with SA Brain & Co. This loss occurred following the Welsh company’s deal with brewery giant Marston’s to operate SA Brains pubs from January 2021.

Before that date, Castell Howell had been the sole supplier to SA Brain since 2008, including supplying 80 of the Welsh brewery’s managed public houses.

Kathryn Jones said, “However, despite the challenges in the supply chain and deliveries, we remain optimistic that the sector in the UK will work together to navigate through these unprecedented times and have a successful summer.”

Continue Reading

News

Port boss: Pembroke Dock development full permission an ‘important step’

Published

on

THE CHIEF EXECUTIVE of the Port of Milford Haven has welcomed a decision of “non-intervention” by the Welsh Government over plans to re-vamp Pembroke Dock’s historic port facilities.

The redevelopment scheme, approved by Pembrokeshire County Council’s Planning Committee in May, will see some areas such as a dock covered with sand and “infilled”.

Plans also include the demolishing of some buildings, erection of buildings and ancillary works.
Despite planning being granted at council level, full authorisation to go ahead with the development was not to be issued until the Welsh Government made its decision regards the matter.

More about the planning application can be read here: https://www.herald.wales/west-wales/pembrokeshire/major-marine-project-causes-concern-about-visual-impact-and-heritage-loss/

Now that the Welsh Government has decided not to interfere with Pembrokeshire County Council’s grant of planning permission, the Port’s boss, Andy Jones, expressed his delight, saying: “This marks an important step forward in the development of Wales’ clean energy centre at Pembroke Dock.

“It will provide sustainable opportunities for the many people who rely on the activity along the Milford Haven Waterway for employment.

CEO: Port Authority’s Andy Jones (Pic MHPA)

“Pembroke Dock Marine will unlock new opportunities for young people to enter the maritime, renewable and engineering sectors, build resilience within Pembrokeshire’s business community, and make a positive contribution to our natural environment as we transition to a low carbon energy generation.”

Tim James, head of commercial and energy at the Port of Milford Haven called the project a “once in a generation opportunity to improve Pembrokeshire’s economy for years to come”.

Objectors had complained that the plans were too large and would damage the historic dockyard, as well as having a visual impact on the dock.

The was opposition from local heritage campaigners, with complaints over the size of two huge proposed hangars which the project’s critics said would impact adversely the landscape.

The economic benefits of the £60 million marine energy “far outweigh” any impact on the historic environment, a report earlier this year to council planners said.

Continue Reading

News

Medical evacuation from LPG tanker off St Ann’s Head

Published

on

ANGLE Lifeboat was launched on service at 12:59pm on Thursday afternoon (Jun 10) to assist in a medical evacuation from a LPG tanker 13 miles SSW off St Ann’s Head.

The coastguard helicopter from Newquay in Cornwall was also on route. With the poor visibility due to fog, Angle all-weather lifeboat was to stand by the vessel to provide an alternative route for evacuation if needed.

After a choppy route in the poor visibility the RNLI volunteers arrived on scene at 2:07pm.

At the time of their arrival, the paramedic from the coastguard helicopter was aboard the vessel preparing the casualty to be winched to the helicopter.

In less than ten minutes the casualty was winched up to the helicopter and flown to hospital, at which point the lifeboat and crews were stood down and headed back to the station.

After rehousing shortly after 3:30pm the lifeboat was washed fuelled and made ready for service shortly after.

Continue Reading
Business14 hours ago

Castell Howell Foods highlights sector concerns over Covid recovery

THE HOSPITALITY sector may be opening up, but transport and supply issues are hampering the industry’s recovery – according to...

News2 days ago

Port boss: Pembroke Dock development full permission an ‘important step’

THE CHIEF EXECUTIVE of the Port of Milford Haven has welcomed a decision of “non-intervention” by the Welsh Government over...

News2 days ago

Medical evacuation from LPG tanker off St Ann’s Head

ANGLE Lifeboat was launched on service at 12:59pm on Thursday afternoon (Jun 10) to assist in a medical evacuation from...

News3 days ago

Milford Haven child sex offender Colin Sharpe jailed for 10 years

A MILFORD HAVEN child abuser sat crying in court as details of his four-year long abuse of a schoolgirl were...

News5 days ago

Police on patrol near key industry infrastructure

OPERATION SERVATOR patrols were carried out on Wednesday morning (Jun )  with the Joint Firearms Unit and the roads policing...

News5 days ago

Paul Davies raises marina hotel development in Senedd chamber

A NEW hotel development in Milford Haven has been raised in the Senedd Chamber by local Member Paul Davies. Mr...

News5 days ago

Police looking for missing Pembrokeshire teenager [Update: Girl has been found]

DYFED-POWYS POLICE is appealing for help to find 15-year-old Rosie Suvarna-Umeanozie who is missing after travelling from Tenby to London...

News6 days ago

Coronavirus cases in Wales still lowest in UK says Health Minister

WALES continues to have the lowest rate of coronavirus cases in the UK, Welsh Health Minister Eluned Morgan said today. ...

Sport6 days ago

Welsh Government pilot test event confirmed for North Pembs

THE Wales Triathlon will take place in Fishguard on Saturday (12 June) as part of the Welsh Government’s series of pilot...

News6 days ago

Herald lodges application to overturn reporting restriction at the Court of Appeal

THE PEMBROKESHIRE HERALD has applied to the Court of Appeal to overturn the press gagging order which prevented the defence...

Popular This Week