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CORONAVIRUS: It’s ‘crunch time’ for Pembrokeshire

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PUBLIC service leaders in South West Wales have issued a stark warning to residents and communities in Pembrokeshire after new figures showed coronavirus cases are growing in the county.
Pembrokeshire County Council, Hywel Dda University Health Board and Dyfed-Powys Police are working closely with Public Health Wales and Welsh Government officials to respond to growing concerns about increased community spread of the virus.

They are urging people and businesses to take action now to avoid local restrictions being brought in that could affect people living in the county.

Numbers are now rising in Pembrokeshire with 37 new positive cases in the county in the seven days between the 3rd and 9th October.

Sadly, to date Public Health Wales have recorded 69 deaths in the Hywel Dda University Health Board area from people who caught the virus.

People are being asked to take the risk seriously and consider how their actions may impact on more vulnerable members of our communities.

Pembrokeshire County Council Leader, David Simpson, said: “I am imploring the people of Pembrokeshire – and visitors – to follow the advice from our health experts and to halt the spread of coronavirus in our county.

“This advice is based on scientific evidence and we must all play our part in reducing the spread of the virus.

“Make no mistake, failure to act now will impact on our daily lives and potential restrictions will be imposed on us

“This is crunch time. If we don’t follow the simple safety messages, we are increasing the risk of entering a lockdown situation again and nobody wants that to happen.

“So please, follow the precautions, look after one another and stay safe.”

Ros Jervis, Director of Public Health at Hywel Dda, added: “Coronavirus remains a very serious illness, especially for the elderly and those with existing risk factors.

“What’s most concerning about the spread of the virus in Pembrokeshire is that we have not yet been able to identify a common pattern of infection – it appears to be affecting people from a number of age groups, backgrounds and geographical locations.

“As we and our partners in Public Health Wales and local authorities deal with these clusters, it’s of paramount importance that we protect our essential services as much as possible.

“I would urge the public to remain vigilant and follow the rules, including wearing face coverings that cover the mouth and nose, keeping two metres away from others outside of their household bubble, as well as washing hands regularly, or using a hand sanitizer if hand washing is not possible.

“It’s also critically important that people self-isolate if you or anyone in your household develops Covid-19 symptoms and that you book a test, as there is plenty of capacity.”

Chief Constable of Dyfed-Powys Police, Mark Collins, said: “It is very concerning that we are seeing increased community spread of the virus in Pembrokeshire, and now is the time for each and every one of us to step up and be more vigilant in complying with the current necessary restrictions and behaviours.

“Please remember that in addition to the Wales-wide restrictions, Welsh Government can impose local restrictions for specified areas where there has been an increase in the number of cases of the virus.

“So, if we want to avoid these additional local restrictions, we must all act now and ensure that we support the current rules as far as possible.

“Our officers continue to be visible in our local communities, maintaining safe distances when we engage with residents, and will explain the circumstances and encourage people to do the right thing in complying with the restrictions.
“We know it’s tempting to gather with friends and family, but it’s vitally important that we stick to the rule of six indoors from an extended household only – including in pubs and restaurants, and outside only gatherings of up to 30 are permitted.
“Faced with non-compliance, and if considered necessary and proportionate to help stop the spread of the virus, we will take enforcement action against those flagrantly or persistently breaching the regulations.”

The key messages are simple:
• keep at least two metres distance from people not in your household
• wash your hands regularly
• wear a face covering in indoor public places, shops and on public transport
• do not meet with more than six people indoors from your extended household (not including children under 11)
• do not meet with more than 30 people outdoors.

The main symptoms of Covid-19 are:
• a high temperature: this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)
• a new, continuous cough: this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual)
• a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste: this means you’ve noticed you cannot smell or taste anything, or things smell or taste different to normal.

Anyone who develops any of these symptoms must follow self-isolation guidance and arrange a test as soon as possible, only leaving home to get tested.

If a Covid-19 test is required, this should be arranged via the UK Booking Portal: https://gov.wales/apply-coronavirus-test
or by ringing 119.

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Judith Rhead murder investigation – Detectives given more time to question suspect

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POLICE have been given more time to question a 43-year-old man arrested on suspicion of murder.

The man has been in police custody since Saturday night, after being arrested over the death 68-year-old Judith Rhead.

She was found in a residential property in Market Street.

The police now have until Thursday afternoon (Feb 25) to question the suspect.

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All people eligible for vaccination will get theirs by end of July

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PEOPLE eligible for the coronavirus vaccine will get theirs by the end of July, the Health Minister has said.

Wales achieved its target of getting everyone in the first four priority groups vaccinated by the middle of February and is now working on offering the vaccine to those in groups 5 to 9.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has set out that people with severe or profound learning disabilities or with a mental illness will be among priority group 6.

Mr Gething said that they were would make sure that no one is left behind.

The latest figures from Public Health Wales show that 878,506 people had received their first dose of the vaccine.

59,279 people have received both doses of the vaccine.

Vaughan Gething, Minister for Health and Social Services, said: “We have achieved our first milestone of offering everyone in the first four priority groups vaccination by mid-February.

“We are now making progress in achieving our next milestone, which is to offer the vaccine to all individuals in priority groups 5 to 9.

“The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has set out that people with a severe/profound learning disability and individuals with schizophrenia or bipolar disorder, or any mental illness that causes severe functional impairment, should be invited for vaccination as part of priority group 6.

“There are challenges with identifying individuals within these groups, particularly given the JCVI language is not generally in use in Wales, and we are working hard to make sure that no one is left behind. Today we have published guidance on identifying eligible individuals in these groups and on how to support them to take up their vaccine offers.

“The JCVI has also said that some of our invaluable unpaid carers should be included in priority group 6.

“Today we have also published guidance on identifying those unpaid carers eligible for vaccine prioritisation and the process around this. I am grateful to the national carers’ organisations for their support with this work.”

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Council want your help to keep Pembrokeshire active

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PEMBROKESHIRE COUNTY COUNCIL is asking residents to give their views on local walking and cycling routes.

The Council aims to make journeys on foot and by bicycle easier, safer and more enjoyable for everyone.

In order to design a network that works for all, the Council would like to get the views of as many people as possible, particularly those who don’t currently walk or cycle. This will help ensure the routes built for walking and cycling work for the whole community.

The consultation focuses on the main towns and villages in Pembrokeshire which have been selected by Welsh Government as the designated localities in the County. These are:

  • Fishguard & Goodwick
  • Haverfordwest
  • Johnston
  • Milford Haven
  • Neyland
  • Pembroke Dock
  • Pembroke
  • Tenby
  • Saundersfoot
  • Narberth

Pembrokeshire Council is currently undertaking an Active Travel Network Map consultation (ATNM) which will run in 3 stages

Consultation 1: Residents can take part in the consultation exercise online, hosted by Commonplace at https://Pembrokeshire.commonplace.is/

The interactive map allows participants to flag issues, problems and successes on a plan of the active travel settlement and add comments. Such points could be for example, a pavement that is too narrow or a newly built cycle route that is regarded as a success.

The first stage of the consultation will close on 31 st March 2021.

Consultation 2: Following this, the second step of the consultation will see the Council share the initial findings and ask people what they think of the plans
proposed as a result of the feedback received.

Consultation 3: The third stage of the consultation will give members of the public a final say on the Active Travel Network Maps before they are sent to Welsh Government for approval. These maps will have been produced taking into account public feedback and ideas from consultations 1 and 2.

By upgrading facilities and creating new walking and cycling routes, the Council plans to make Active Travel the popular choice for local journeys, to increase the attractiveness of local communities as places to live and work, improve health and well-being, and help tackle air pollution.

Cllr Phil Baker, Pembrokeshire Council’s Cabinet Member for Infrastructure, said: “This consultation exercise will produce an Active Travel Network Map which will be a plan of routes the Council will use to inform where improvements to walking and cycling should be made in Pembrokeshire.

“It will help to make journeys on foot or by bicycle easier and safer for everyone, particularly those who don’t currently walk or cycle often and people who use mobility aids and will build on the increased level of walking and cycling that we have seen over the last 12 months during the pandemic.”

See more information on Active Travel at: https://www.pembrokeshire.gov.uk/fitness-and-well-being/active-travel

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